GAY Perth Labor MP John Carey says he was bombarded with homophobic emails in the lead up to Liberal MPs rejecting a free vote on same-sex marriage on Tuesday.
As a state MP it’s not in Mr Carey’s remit and he’s not a Liberal, but he still got several dozen messages from anti-gay campaigners, ranging from mildly homophobic to straight up nasty.
“I have been constantly receiving emails, but none from my electorate,” he points out, suspecting it’s an organised campaign.
“I greatly respect diversity of opinion in our community…but I am deeply disappointed by the tone of some of the emails.
“I’m a bit shocked…I don’t accept this hysterical view that society’s going to collapse, or some of the other disgusting homophobic things if we let people marry who they love.”
Putting the marriage question to a plebiscite is considered the worse option by many marriage equality advocates who fear it will lead to a lengthy campaign where vulnerable young queer people get their lifestyle questioned in nasty, no-vote media campaigns.
Unlike a vote in parliament, it’ll also cost between $110 to $160million and voting is non-compulsory and non-binding on parliamentarians.
This week WA Liberal senator Dean Smith, who has urged his party to allow a free vote in parliament, described a potential plebiscite as “corrosive: they are divisive, I think they are stains on parliamentary democracy”.
A self-described “smaller government, lower taxes” type-Liberal—who thinks the government should stay out of people’s businesses and bedrooms—he got only six backers in the Liberal party for a free vote. Now the only way that marriage equality could get passed is if some Liberal MPs cross the floor when it comes to a parliamentary vote (a pretty unlikely prospect), otherwise expect postal ballots to turn up in your mailbox in the coming months.
by DAVID BELL