MP hits out at vote on same-sex marriage

McIvor Times - - FRONT PAGE - By DAVID RAK

WITH only one day re­main­ing to get en­rol­ment de­tails sorted, the same-sex marriage de­bate is heat­ing up in our town.

The gov­ern­ment’s con­tentious postal plebiscite has ig­nited de­bate and has drawn com­men­tary from all facets of the Heath­cote and district com­mu­nity.

A deeply per­sonal is­sue at both ends of the spec­trum, many be­lieve the vote is an un­nec­es­sary and ex­pen­sive judge­ment on peo­ple’s re­la­tion­ships.

While oth­ers be­lieve ev­ery Aus­tralian should have their say on whether the Marriage Act should be al­tered.

Fed­eral Mem­ber for Bendigo Lisa Ch­esters said it was time the fed­eral politi­cians did their job and changed the “out­dated” Marriage Act.

“I strongly be­lieve Cen­tral Vic­to­ri­ans want the par­lia­ment to get on with marriage equal­ity. They want their politi­cians to do what they were elected to do,” she said. “We are now at a stage where the vast ma­jor­ity of Aus­tralians — over 70 per cent — support marriage equal­ity.”

Ms Ch­esters said whom a per­son loves and whom they choose to marry are deeply per­sonal is­sues.

She said the postal vote places un­fair pres­sures on one group of Aus­tralians to jus­tify their re­la­tion­ships.

“This sur­vey is hurt­ful and an at­tack on ba­sic hu­man rights and free­doms.”

“It is putting a mi­nor­ity group on a na­tional stage and the Aus­tralian pub­lic are now asked to deem if these re­la­tion­ships are valid.

“We can­not al­low this sur­vey to be used as an ex­cuse to at­tack LGBTIQ peo­ple, their fam­i­lies and their chil­dren. I urge all mem­bers of the com­mu­nity to de­bate and cam­paign with re­spect.

“I un­der­stand the sense of frus­tra­tion LGBTIQ Cen­tral Vic­to­ri­ans must be feel­ing right now. That’s why it is so im­por­tant for us to vote and show our support for these fam­i­lies and vote yes.

“Vot­ing yes is not about en­dors­ing this postal sur­vey — it’s about re­fus­ing to walk past our fel­low Aus­tralians when they need us.”

Mem­ber for Euroa Steph Ryan said she in­tends to vote in favour of same­sex marriage.

“I en­cour­age peo­ple to make sure their de­tails are cor­rect on the elec­toral role to en­sure they have an op­por­tu­nity to vote,’’ she said.

‘‘I also urge peo­ple pas­sion­ate about the out­come of the vote to be re­spect­ful of other’s views.”

Heath­cote’s Mary Help of Chris­tians Catholic Church fa­ther Peter Fer­w­erda said same-sex marriage is against nat­u­ral and divine law.

“The teach­ing of our church is that marriage is be­tween a man and a woman,” he said.

“Ev­ery­thing in na­ture is or­dered and God has cre­ated it with pur­pose. He cre­ated men and women specif­i­cally for com­pan­ion­ship and for re­pro­duc­tion.”

Fr Fer­w­erda said peo­ple who live gay life­styles are welcome in his church but he can­not teach that their life­style is nor­mal or ac­cept­able for a Chris­tian.

“I would rather have a ref­er­en­dum so the peo­ple’s de­ci­sion is bind­ing on the politi­cians. Peo­ple should have a def­i­nite view that has to be taken on by par­lia­ment,” he said.

“How­ever, I be­lieve it is a good idea for all Aus­tralians to have a say on the is­sue.

“Even if the peo­ple said there is noth­ing wrong with same-sex marriage, the church has to stick to what it be­lieves.”

Heath­cote’s Tanya Brn­jak said not ev­ery­one is at­tracted to the op­po­site sex. “Why should peo­ple be told who they should fall in love with or who they should be in a re­la­tion­ship with?” she said.

“The is­sue is so con­tentious be­cause there are too many re­li­gious peo­ple who fol­low the Bi­ble to the word and don’t al­low oth­ers to be dif­fer­ent.

“A man and a woman can get mar­ried with no is­sues but if two peo­ple of the same sex want to get mar­ried, the whole world chucks their opin­ion in.

“The postal vote is a waste of time and money — I would pre­fer a con­science vote in par­lia­ment.”

Redes­dale’s Cherry Lauder said she is very sup­port­ive of same-sex marriage and be­lieved it made sense in mod­ern so­ci­ety.

“It is big­oted and ho­mo­pho­bic con­ser­va­tives that make the is­sue con­tentious,” she said.

“Con­ser­va­tives fear ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity will be viewed as a nor­mal life­style.

“The is­sue should be dealt with via a vote in par­lia­ment.”

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