Bernardi warns of ‘legal warfare’ if Yes gets up
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.”
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.