THE POLITICIANS STANDING IN THE WAY OF MARRIAGE EQUALITY
By Sally Rugg
There’s now only a handful of obstacles keeping Adam and Steve from tying the knot.
Of course – there’s Mr Turnbull’s “we’ll have a plebiscite after the election” nonsense, the collective “no” vote forced upon all Liberal politicians from above. But that aside, if our fine nation was offered the swift, legislative end to marriage discrimination we deserve, there are technically just 7 Members of Parliament who stand in our way.
But it’s not who you think.
It’s no longer the Tony Abbotts or the Peter Duttons who really matter in getting marriage equality over the line – those dinosaurs will never change their minds, and we don’t need their votes to get a bill through the House of Representatives.
Sure, we need seven more Members of Parliament to vote ‘yes’ on the legislation, but there are a bunch of politicians who really, really should be on our side by now who aren’t conservative old bigots.
Here are the top four Politicians Who Should Support Marriage Equality Already.
So, Clive Palmer actually believes that we should abolish all marriage entirely. Because of course he does. Specifically, he supports relegating ‘marriage’ back to the churches simply as a religious sacrament, leaving everyone else with equal access to Civil Unions.
For the radical among us, that sounds cool. But what Palmer forgets is that marriage in 2016 Australia is already pretty secular. Loads of people who aren’t religious get married – sometimes they’ll do it in gardens or surf clubs, sometimes there’s a theme like “Star Wars” or “Hello Kitty”. It’s all pretty chill nowadays. So chill, in fact, that 72.5% of marriages were overseen by a Civil Celebrant in 2013, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Mr Palmer could also be experiencing a progressive change of heart. He’s recently made loud noises about a legal fund for people seeking in asylum in Australia, and treated us to a top notch twitter rant about feminist issues to ring in the New Year.
Seeing as marriage is both a religious AND civil institution (to different people, differing amounts), we think Clive Palmer really should listen to his increasingly progressive heart and support equal access for equal love.
MICHELLE ROWLAND – ALP
Michelle Rowland is a super confusing one. She’s one of only a handful of Labor MPs who still oppose marriage equality, but her parliamentary voting history has been speckled with support for LGBT+ issues, like in 2012 when she supported a motion to acknowledge widespread support for equal marriage in the Australian community.
Her reservations to endorse the reform could come down to fears her constituents – many of whom come from a migrant background – oppose same-sex marriage for cultural reasons.
But Rowland was quick to defend her Greenway electorate when this suggestion was put to her last year, stating “you should never stereotype people based on their ethnicities. I’ve had people from a variety of cultural backgrounds give me very different views on this matter”.
Rowland is a key target of the campaign for marriage equality, and towards the end of last year brushed of questions of her opposition saying “right now I’d say I am leaning towards a ‘Yes’ vote”, but to date she hasn’t committed her support.
It’s a love story, Ms Rowland, just say yes.
KAREN McNAMARA – LIBERAL PARTY
Ms McNamara stated her opposition of same-sex marriage more than once last year. It’s unsurprising, really. Most Members of Parliament who won their seat by a hair’s breadth in 2013, including Ms McNamara, fear that supporting marriage equality could threaten their margin, and lose their seat at this year’s election.
But last year Ms NcNamara was presented with ReachTel polling commissioned by activist group GetUp, showing 52.3% support for marriage equality in Dobell, with 32.8% opposed and 14.9% undecided. Pretty compelling figures.
Apparently in need of further confirmation, Ms McNamara then went on to run her own survey of support for marriage equality in Dobell, stating “it is important I represent the views of constituents and I will certainly be taking on board everyone’s concerns”. It seems this survey is ongoing, as she’s yet to release the results.
Crosby-Textor polling shows 72% of Australians support marriage equality, with majority support in every demographic – the electorate of Dobell is no exception. We think Karen McNamara should stick to her word and represent the view of her constituents fairly, and do the right thing for LGBTI Australians.
CRAIG LAUNDY – LIBERAL PARTY
We know that Mr Laundy, the Member for Reid, definitely isn’t a fan of glitter. (He’s the MP who called the bomb-squad when his office received an envelope of the sparkly stuff by marriage equality activists) But is he a fan of same-sex marriage? It remains unclear…
Mr Laundy actually backed a Liberal free vote on marriage equality legislation – a logical step towards supporting the actual bill – but then boldly changed his mind and revoked his support in September last year. Confusing.
Mr Laundy is another one of those just-scraped-through-in-2013 MPs so you’d think he’d stay quiet and toe the Liberal Party line. In fact, he’s actually rebelled against quite a few policies, including voicing support for the more compassionate treatment of asylum seekers and protecting the Racial Discrimination Act.
From where we’re sitting, Craig Laundy could have his heart in the right place, but still seems a little scared and confused. We hope Mr Laundy can realise that all love is love, and that same-sex marriage is nothing to be afraid of. It’s just glitter, Craig.
If the increasing international trend of same-sex marriage is anything to go by, Australia could be on the brink of making history. We can’t imagine Mr Palmer, Ms Rowland, Ms McNamara and Mr Laundy would want to be left standing on the wrong side of it, rather than supporting a landmark end to LGBTI discrimination.
Stay tuned for part two of The Politicians Who REALLY Should Support Marriage Equality Already to hear why we think Fiona Scott (Member for Lindsay) might just change her mind and vote “yes” when it comes to crunch time…