Is it time for our politicians to speak up on marriage equality?
Is it just me or has everyone had enough?
The Marriage Equality debate has fired up again. Again. I think it’s time you and I got involved.
On the radio this week we spoke to member for Fisher Andrew Wallace. He told us the messages he receives from the public are overwhelmingly in favour of a plebiscite and against same sex marriage. When I asked how he would vote personally he said he would like his vote to reflect the outcome of a plebiscite.
I haven’t emailed Mr Wallace officially because I am as apathetic as the rest of Australia, but I want him to know I am not in favour of a plebiscite. I am in favour of marriage equality. We don’t need a plebiscite. In Australia, a simple amendment by the Parliament to the marriage act, essentially replacing the words ‘a man and a woman’ with ‘two persons’ will do the trick.
I also don’t want to see campaigning around marriage equality. I don’t think an already vulnerable section of our community should be forced to defend their relationships or families in the face of community ‘debate’.
In Australia, we have a representative democracy. We vote for a representative who votes in Parliament on our behalf. I might not agree with every vote cast by my local member but that’s democracy. At every election, I have the right to cheer heartily if I like the cut of his jib or voice my disapproval.
By now, I think we all understand a plebiscite is not binding. To change the law, our local members will still have to vote. A plebiscite is nothing more than an incredibly expensive opinion poll.
I don’t even understand why our pollies want a public vote, on anything at all. We put them there to govern, they should relish the opportunity. There used to be a political party pushing for Citizen Initiated Referenda, a public vote on anything deemed significant. I can think of nothing worse. Government by thought bubble.
Instead, I expect our parliamentarians to be mature, reasoned individuals with the courage of their own convictions. I expect them to listen to the people around them and vote how they see fit. If that means the member for Fisher votes against my will, so be it. I voted for him the last time around and might still again, I would just like to know where he stands.
Incidentally, a man phoned the radio station this week adamant that just one generation of gay marriage would wipe out civilisation. I assured him his marriage was safe and that homosexuality would never be compulsory but I don’t think he believed me.
We need leadership on this issue. Not scaremongering. It is every MP’s fundamental job to reflect society and help shape the future, not stay silent when they have the power to act.