FEDERAL Perth Liberal candidate Jeremy Quinn says he supports marriage equality but doesn’t want churches to be forced to marry gay people.
That’s been a concern of conservative groups like the Australian Christian Lobby, but has been dismissed as a red herring by activist groups like Australian Marriage Equality. In Australia religious leaders can refuse to marry anyone they don’t want to, and that wouldn’t change under the mooted new law, argues AME.
Mr Quinn says he supports a plebiscite rather than Labor and the Green’s plans to simply introduce legislation.
“While I support marriage equality, I also strongly support Australians deciding rather than politicians. I will respect the decision of the plebiscite and vote accordingly to the will of the people of Perth.”
Greens candidate Tim Clifford lists marriage equality as a top priority and Labor’s Tim Hammond says “I support marriage equality full stop”. Mr Hammond was at the national conference when Labor voted to institute marriage equality within 100 days of being voted into government and says parliament should just get on and do it instead of spending $180 million on a plebiscite.
“Last time I checked that’s why we elected our officials.”
His late sister-in-law Sharon was gay and had a partner for 16 years. “I could never look Sharon in the eye and tell her she did not have the same right to get married to her partner as I did to marry her sister. That informs my view.”
He says the plebiscite could also be “potentially divisive”.
Brian Greig is WA convenor of Australian Marriage Equality and shares Mr Hammond’s concerns a plebiscite could get ugly.
“There’s going to be some very awful anti-gay adverts on the TV and awful brochures going out. It’s already happening. There’s some very hateful and hurtful things out there.”
Mr Greig said there’ll be a lot of “collateral damage and psychological damage to a vulnerable group”.
Over east a pamphlets by opponents of marriage equality claims it will lead to “sexual diseases, drug use and unemployment”.
“It’s really insulting that this question would even be out out there,” Mr Greig says. “The last plebiscite we had was in 1977 for people to choose the national anthem. You can imagine how same sex couples and their families feel when their lives, their dignities, is reduced to the level of picking a song.”
by DAVID BELL