Bernardi warns of ‘le­gal war­fare’ if Yes gets up

Fraser Coast Chronicle - - NEWS | NATION -

AUS­TRALIAN Con­ser­va­tives Sen­a­tor Cory Bernardi and prom­i­nent Coali­tion politi­cians Matt Canavan and Con­cetta Fier­ra­vanti-Wells have launched the No cam­paign against same-sex mar­riage.

An es­ti­mated 1000 peo­ple, many with shirts and plac­ards bear­ing the slo­gan “It’s OK to say no”, filled the In­ter­na­tional Con­fer­ence Cen­tre at Dar­ling Har­bour for the launch.

The Coali­tion for Mar­riage, the group at the cen­tre of the cam­paign headed by Aus­tralian Chris­tian Lobby chief Lyle Shel­ton, fo­cused on the flow-on ef­fects of al­ter­ing mar­riage laws.

Sen­a­tor Bernardi warned the au­di­ence of “weaponised” anti-dis­crim­i­na­tion laws and “le­gal war­fare” against sup­port­ers of tra­di­tional mar­riage if the Mar­riage Act was changed to include same-sex cou­ples.

Free speech was un­der at­tack from those seek­ing to re­de­fine mar­riage, and their mis­sion would have pre­dictable con­se­quences, he claimed.

“We’re un­der as­sault be­cause we’re on the right side of le­gal and moral his­tory,” he said.

Mean­while across Aus­tralia, well-known mar­riage-equality ad­vo­cates, po­lit­i­cal lead­ers, cou­ples and cam­paign­ers en­cour­aged others to tick the yes box and post their bal­lot forms back to the Aus­tralian Bureau of Statis­tics.

The sis­ter of for­mer prime min­is­ter Tony Ab­bott and City of Syd­ney coun­cil­lor, Chris­tine Forster, and her part­ner Vir­ginia Ed­wards were among them.

“Don’t lis­ten to ads. Lis­ten to your friends, your fam­ily, your col­leagues, your neigh­bours ... (and) think about that when you cross your mark on your bal­lot pa­per and vote yes,” Ms Forster said.

Ms Forster ac­cused op­po­nents of play­ing on peo­ple’s fears and un­cer­tainty by seek­ing to ex­pand the ar­gu­ment be­yond one about mar­riage.

“The No cam­paign is try­ing to muddy the wa­ters with is­sues that are not re­lated. This is a sim­ple ques­tion of whether or not you be­lieve the law in Aus­tralia should be changed to al­low same-sex cou­ples to marry.”

In Mel­bourne, co­me­dian Magda Szuban­ski said she hoped Aus­tralians could “find it in their hearts” to vote yes in the same-sex mar­riage postal sur­vey.

Speak­ing af­ter a Get Out The Vote rally she said, “I just hope peo­ple can find it in their hearts to un­der­stand where we’re com­ing from, which is ... for the peo­ple who want mar­riage equality.”

We are un­der as­sault be­cause we are on the right side of le­gal and moral his­tory.

— Sen­a­tor Cory Bernardi

PHO­TOS: AAP

SAY NO: Leader of the Aus­tralian Con­ser­va­tives Party Sen­a­tor Corey Bernardi (above) launches the No cam­paign. Ac­tor Magda Szuban­ski (left, front) at a mar­riage equality rally in South Mel­bourne.

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