Today two bills calling for the legalization of gay marriage were introduced to Australia's parliament. The private member's bills, introduced by left-leaning Greens lawmaker Adam Bandt and Stephen Jones from the ruling Labor party, take to three the pieces of legislation now before the parliament calling for gay marriage rights. Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young brought a similar bill in the upper house in September 2010 which is now being examined by a legislative inquiry. None of the bills have enough support to pass into law but rights campaigners said their introduction, which follows Labor's reversal of its official policy to pro-gay marriage in December, showed the tide was turning. "The Jones bill demonstrates the immense momentum behind reform," said Alex Greenwich, convenor of the Australian Marriage Equality lobby group. "Three months ago the Labor Party was officially opposed to reform and now we have a Labor member leading the way towards equality." He described Monday's events as a "milestone on the road to equality". Greenwich said rights advocates wanted both Jones and Bandt's bills to be examined by the Senate committee looking into Hanson-Young's bill so that "the best possible legislation can be developed and put forward". Jones said there would not be a debate or vote for some months yet. In Australia marriage is mandated by federal legislation, so although civil same-sex unions are recognised in five states, the couples are not seen as "married" by the federal government. All the same, same-sex couples have equal rights with heterosexual couples in areas such as pension schemes and medical benefits. Until December there had been bipartisan opposition to same-sex marriage in Australia and though Labor's official platform has changed, the party agreed to vote on conscience rather than in bloc, meaning there is presently little prospect of legal change. Prime Minister Julia Gillard opposes gay marriage, and the conservative Liberal-National coalition has made clear that its members will be expected to uphold the current heterosexual definition of marriage if a vote is called. "Our position is clear. We believe that a marriage is between a man and a woman and that's the way the Coalition will be voting," said Liberal frontbencher Joe Hockey.Source: AFP << Britain: Donor Organs Go Waste Study Says 7-hour Sleep Helps High School Students Do Bette... >> Recommended Reading One More US State may Soon Allow Gay Marriage The northwestern US state of Washington may soon permit gay marriage after a favourable vote was cast by a renowned lawmaker. READ MORE Pentagon Allows Military Chaplains to Officiate Gay Marriages US military chaplains can perform gay wedding ceremonies in states where it is legal, the Pentagon said Friday, 10 days after the end of a ban on gays serving openly in the armed forces. READ MORE Census in Oz to Count Gay Marriage for the First Time For the first time, same sex couples who have married overseas will have their unions counted in the Australian census READ MORE California Ban on Gay Marriage Slammed by US Court A US federal appeals court slammed a California law on Tuesday that deprives gays and lesbians of the right to marry, in the most recent round in the battle over same-sex marriage. READ MORE Divorce: Pros and Cons Divorce can be traumatic for children and create a sense of insecurity amongst them. Couples should realize that joined parenting is important even after divorce. READ MORE How to Save your marriage You can save your marriage - even when your partner insists on a divorce. READ MORE Is Life Better Staying Single or Getting Married? The stigma linked to staying single is gradually disappearing. More people opt to stay single and many even claim to be happier. But there are both advantages and disadvantages to staying single. READ MORE Most Popular on Medindia Find a Doctor Drug Interaction Checker Turmeric Powder - Health Benefits, Uses & Side Effects More News on: How to Save your marriageDivorce: Pros and ConsIs Life Better Staying Single or Getting Married?