MP proposes referendum on gay marriage in Australia

Australian Marriage Equality against a referendum on the issue, despite majority public support

MP proposes referendum on gay marriage in Australia
29 April 2013

Australian independent MP Tony Windsor has proposed that the nation say yes or no to gay marriage in a referendum in September.

Windsor suggests taking the issue ‘out of the hands of the politicians’ and letting the public vote on the issue on the day of the general election – 14 September.

The government is planning to hold a referendum on recognizing local government in the constitution on that day, so it would not be much of an extra cost to include an extra question on the ballot paper.

‘Polls on gay marriage say it’s what the population wants,’ said Windsor, MP for New England, New South Wales, Sydney Morning Herald reports. ‘A way to resolve it is through a referendum.’

However campaign group Australian Marriage Equality are against a referendum.

‘Given a majority of Australians support this reform, we believe a referendum would succeed, but we don’t believe Australia should go down that path,’ said national convener Rodney Croome.

‘We fear cashed-up opponents of marriage equality would exploit a referendum to polarize the electorate and demonize gay and lesbian people in a way that will impact badly, particularly on young gay people.’

Gay-marriage-opponent, NZ First MP Winston Peters, continually suggested a referendum during parliamentary debates on the issue in New Zealand. Those in support of legalizing same-sex marriage countered that referendums are inappropriate for minority issues, and if there had been a referendum New Zealand wouldn’t have become the first country in the world to give women the vote in 1893.

‘New Zealand achieved this reform through a mature parliamentary debate and it would be an indictment on Australia if our politicians shirked their responsibilities and asked the electorate to make the decision instead,’ added Croome.

Windsor voted against same-sex marriage in Australia’s House of Representatives last year. But he said his position on the issue had softened after attending a civil union ceremony, which he described as ‘possibly the most sincere and meaningful occasion’ he had seen.

Croome said that the campaign for parliament to amend the marriage act ‘has more momentum than ever before’ and a referendum would be ‘an unnecessary, divisive, dangerous distraction’.  

HAVE YOUR SAY

MORE TOP STORIES

Catholic high school adopts protections for LGB employees after refusing job to lesbian

Catholic high school adopts protections for LGB employees after refusing job to lesbian

St Mary's Academy in Portland, Oregon, initially offered a counsellor position to Lauren Brown, but withdrew their offer after they found out about her sexuality.
Gay newsman 'dismayed' by critics blasting him for agreeing to host Miss Universe in Moscow

Gay newsman 'dismayed' by critics blasting him for agreeing to host Miss Universe in Moscow

MSNBC's Thomas Roberts: 'I wish they would have a little more faith in me'
No thumbnail available

'Italy's gay Scouts must not come out'

Catholic priest says gay youngsters need psychologist at Scout conference
No thumbnail available

Gay friendliness is important to LGBTI Chinese consumers, new report finds

A new study has found that gay friendliness pays a big part in Chinese LGBTI people’s purchasing choices, suggesting businesses who court them as customers will do well
No thumbnail available

Canada gay 'cure' doctor arrested for sexually assaulting men

A Canadian psychiatrist to be trialed for sexually abusing gay patients, he also used discredited aversion therapy on hundreds of South African lesbians and gays to 'cure' them of their sexuality
Dad's awesome birthday present turns son's bedroom into geek heaven
No thumbnail available

President Obama appoints gay black man to federal bench

William Thomas would serve on US District Court in Florida
No thumbnail available

Trans man takes on selfie campaign to fight 'ridiculous' bathroom bans

Using the hashtag #WeJustNeedToPee, the bearded activist posted pictures of himself next to women entering cubicles and doing their makeup
No thumbnail available

Neil Patrick Harris claims the groping rules are a bit more relaxed for gays

'When you're gay you kind of get the bum touching free card'
No thumbnail available

Harvey Nichols defends 'lesbian kiss' advert

Department store Harvey Nichols run an advert which some thought was a lesbian kiss, but is really someone kissing their mirror image