Marriage equality – it should be simple. Yet a ridiculous number of roadblocks continue to be thrown in front of it by people elected allegedly to represent the country’s will.
Now that parliament has been recalled, Bill Shorten has pointed out that the prime minister could use this opportunity to finally grant a free vote on the issue. Using the strongest language he knows, Shorten said Turnbull would be “a traitor to the cause” if he does not.
Let’s get one thing straight: Malcolm Turnbull has voted against marriage equality every time it has come up, and has now gutted the Safe Schools program to placate the bile-filled flat earth society in his party.
More than 70 percent of people now support marriage equality in Australia.
He may have made an appearance at Mardi Gras this year, but it is too kind to suggest he might be some kind of “traitor” to “our cause” at this point.
But Shorten is right about one thing: the government has every chance to give us what we want – marriage equality now.
Instead, Turnbull insists that we need to wait until next year so that a plebiscite can tell us what the people really want. Politicians have known for years exactly what people want; they have just ignored it at every turn.
All the talk about “democracy” and letting the people decide is just the latest cover for a bigoted Liberal Party that wants to spend another year or more denying, by delaying, basic civil rights and ignoring public opinion. The attorney-general, George Brandis, won’t even release draft legislation for a plebiscite until after the next election.
Liberal Party MPs have said it would distract from more important issues, and that their party would be divided by it. Divided by what? It should be pretty simple to ask people whether they are for or against basic civil rights.
Anti-discrimination legislation may serve for every other contentious issue, but, we are reminded, there is something uniquely terrifying about two people of the same sex getting hitched.
A lot of objections to a plebiscite rest on it being “divisive” to have a public debate on the question. Liberal Party antics show we can expect it to be divisive either way. It was no less hurtful to have them gut Safe Schools by executive order.
If it is debated in parliament this month, we will likewise have to stand up to people who object to our existence, and if it is passed we will have to stand against a right wing minority trying to tear things down.
But they are a minority. More than 70 percent of people now support marriage equality in Australia, a truly impressive majority against government-sponsored homophobia.
If a plebiscite actually came about, we should expect to win. But there is no reason why we should wait.
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