A WA Labor senator fought back tears as she pleaded with colleagues to pass same-sex marriage laws so she could wed her partner.
But Senator Louise Pratt and other gay marriage supporters concede they are likely to lose when an historic vote is held this week.
A long-time gay rights activist, Senator Pratt introduced a Bill yesterday that would overturn the legal definition of marriage as between a man and a woman.
She said it was a tough fight to reach this stage and get a vote for marriage equality.
"I knew I was going to be emotional in speaking about this topic, not only for myself but for all (gay and lesbian) people," she said.
In her speech, Senator Pratt, who has a transgender partner, said the ban on same-sex marriage was the last discrimination under Federal law for gays and lesbians.
"I ask senators in this chamber to remember when they are deciding how to vote, we exist, we already exist, our relationships exist, our children exist, our families exist, our marriages exist and our love exists. All we ask is that you stop pretending that we don't," she said.
The vote is expected tomorrow or on Thursday. It is not the first gay marriage Bill to reach the Senate but will be the first time Labor members have a conscience vote.
Campaigners believe about 20 Labor senators and nine Greens will back it but it needs 38 votes to pass.
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said to give his senators a conscience vote would break a commitment to maintain the status quo.
Senator Pratt said the only reason for the Bill's defeat would be Mr Abbott's refusal to allow a free vote.
The City of Vincent is set to be the first WA local authority to set up a register on which gay and lesbian couples can declare their unions.
Three councillors are behind the relationship register, on which all couples in the city could register for a fee and get a certificate of recognition.
They believe it would help foreign couples apply for residency, as well as homosexuals.Cr John Carey said the motion, to go to council next week, was to base the register on a City of Melbourne one that began in 2007.
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