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Senator threatens mankini march on Parliament if Australians don’t vote for gay marriage

Senator threatens mankini march on Parliament if Australians don’t vote for gay marriage

One of Australia’s most physically imposing lawmakers has pledged to walk all the way to Parliament House in Canberra wearing a mankini if his belief that Australian voters would back same-sex marriage in a popular vote proves to be wrong.

Independent Senator Glenn Lazarus, who earned the nickname ‘The Brick With Eyes’ during his sporting career due to his large frame, made the threat in an interview with ABC Radio in Brisbane in which he made his support for same-sex marriage public.

‘I think if two people love each other, whether they’ve got penises or they’ve both got vaginas, they should be allowed to be married,’ Senator Lazarus told the ABC.

However he said that he believed the issue should be put to the Australian people through a referendum and said supporters of same-sex marriage should have nothing to fear from that as they’d win.

‘What I do agree with, and a lot of people are saying, is why are politicians the ones that have got to decide this?’ Senator Lazarus said.

‘I think we should take it to a referendum. Unfortunately a lot of politicians are bound by party policy: we either have a conscience vote, or we get a referendum going and I would guarantee, the majority of Australians would support gay marriage, and if they don’t I’ll turn up to Parliament House in a mankini.’

However what Lazarus may not understand is that referendums in Australia are only used to change the Constitution and Australia’s marriage laws are not defined by its Constitution.

A plebiscite vote could be held by which the Australian people could make their will on the subject unequivocally known to Australian lawmakers but it would still be up to the Senate and House of Representatives to pass legislation for any change to occur.

The campaign for same-sex marriage in Australia, Australian Marriage Equality (AME) welcomed Senator Lazarus’ support for all Australians being allowed to marry however counseled against holding a referendum on the issue – noting the situation here was very different to that in Ireland where a popular vote on the issue is being held.

‘We congratulate Senator Lazarus on his support for marriage equality but reject the idea of a referendum,’ AME national director Rodney Croome said, ‘A referendum would be costly, unnecessary and would further delay an already urgent reform.’

‘With the numbers in parliament so close and a government free vote achievable, parliament remains the quickest and easiest route to marriage equality. Ireland requires a referendum because marriage is defined by its constitution, but no such barrier exists in Australia.’

Recent reports have suggested that, were all parties in the Parliament allowed a free vote, a bill to legalize same-sex marriage in Australia would narrowly pass in the Senate and would only need four more supportive MPs in the House of Representatives to come on board for it to pass in that chamber and become law.