BIG NEWS: Gay marriage in Australia

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Gay marriage in Australia

Over the past few weeks there has been an interesting debate in the Australian Parliament over marriage equality.

Just to recap, in September last year, the Greens reintroduced a Marriage Equality bill in Parliament, but in November Parliament couldn’t agree to a conscience vote on the issue and there was no way a party vote would progress the bill. PM Julia Gillard opposes marriage equality.

So the Greens got a motion through the House that meant MPs had to consult their constituents. The response was interesting for several reasons: Most MPs oppose gay marriage, most Labor MPs support gay marriage ( even though its official policy reflects Gillard’s position) , most Australians support gay marriage – the latest Roy Morgan poll on the issue had it at 68 per cent - but, of the MPs who reported back to Parliament after the consultation, most stated that their constituents did not support it.

Labor has its annual conference in December and a conscience vote among Labor is being discussed to avoid party in-fighting at the conference. Yet, as 2/3rds of Aussie politicians oppose gay marriage( but 2/3rds of the public support it), it remains to be seen whether such a conscience vote in Parliament on gay marriage – if it ever happens any time soon - is a vote reflective of an MPs own conscience or the collective conscience of constituents' they polled and represent.

Anyway, here's a story on an Australian Catholic politician who, along with his constituents, supports gay marriage - yet his party and his church officially don't.




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