In Australia, gay W.A. Liberal Senator, Dean Smith, has been drafting a private members’ bill, already rejected by the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, to allow any two people to marry, in defiance of his own government’s decision to hold a plebiscite on the matter. Australian Marriage Equality highlight some of what Smith had to say:
“I am proud of the decision I made to come out to family and friends over 20 years ago… Coming out was the first step in finding my own voice and living an authentic life.”
“If you believe in the virtues of institutions like I do, it makes perfect sense to allow LGBTI Australians the opportunity to share in all the good things that marriage brings.
“Once upon a time, the issue was just gays and lesbians wanting to get married. But we have seen community attitudes change and today the vast majority of Australians believe there is no credible reason why LGBTI people shouldn’t have their relationships recognised before the law the same way others do.
“The Bill is important because it will allow the Liberal Party to revisit the issue of marriage once and for all before the next election… The best way to do that is through respectful debate and allowing each parliamentarian the freedom of their conscience.
“Liberals have dealt with difficult social issues before, and people forget that in John Howard’s 11 years as PM he successfully stewarded five conscience votes through the coalition.
“The electorate is the best gauge of authenticity and my sense is that people are embarrassed that Australia has not resolved this issue. Many do support the matter being put before the Parliament and finally resolved.
“The time is now.”
Mr Smith is also calling for a conscience vote, to free party members from having to toe the party line, which is in favour of a plebiscite on the issue.
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