An Australian MP is proposing taking the marriage equality issue out of the hands of the parliament and giving it to voters. Gay Star News reports:
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.
Windsor voted against the bill last year, but says he has since softened his position after attending a civil union.
Australian Marriage Equality is against a public vote:
Marriage equality campaigners have rejected a proposal for a referendum on the issue from New England MP, Tony Windsor, saying it is unnecessary and potentially divisive. Australian Marriage Equality national convener, Rodney Croome, said, “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. We fear cashed-up opponents of marriage equality would exploit a referendum to polarise the electorate and demonise gay and lesbian people in a way that will impact badly, particularly on young gay people. We are also concerned that it is not clear whether this would be a non-binding plebiscite on the Marriage Act or a fully-fledged referendum on that section of the constitution dealing with marriage, both of which raise serious problems.”
LGBT Australians are understandably upset that marriage equality can pass in neighboring New Zealand, while it is continually blocked in Australia.