Australians have avoided an expensive, divisive, damaging and unnecessary marriage equality plebiscite after today’s defeat of legislation in the Senate, and the New South Wales Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby says it’s now time to get down to business.
The prominent state-based community organisation is calling on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to allow a vote in Parliament at the earliest convenience.
“Parliament remains the most appropriate place for the issue of marriage equality to be resolved,” NSW GLRL co-convenor Chris Pycroft said. “We now ask that this happen as soon as possible.”
Countless LGBTI community groups held grave concerns about the impact of a plebiscite on millions of Australians. Mental health organisations also warned of its dangers.
“Today’s outcome is the right one but we have much work still to do,” Mr Pycroft said. “We’ve won this battle – the fight wages on. We will now resume discussions with MPs from all parties, especially those in the Liberal Party who’ve been particularly supportive in recent times.”
Should a vote take place, marriage equality legislation would likely pass both houses of Parliament, based on current indications from members.
“Marriage equality is supported by MPs of all persuasions. We urge Mr Turnbull to allow his Coalition colleagues a vote on legislation so that we can get this done once and for all.”
Broader support for equality in the community is also high, Mr Pycroft said. Current estimates show anywhere between 65 and 70 per cent of Australians are in favour of a change to the law to allow same-sex couples to marry.
The issue has galvanised the LGBTI community like never before, Mr Pycroft said.
“LGBTI groups across the country have united and with them, we are confident that equality is on the horizon,” he said.
“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all MPs we’ve engaged with over long periods of time on this issue, including those in the Liberal Party who’ve shown they are committed allies of our community.
“We look forward to continuing to working with all members of Parliament to make equality a reality at long last in the very near future.”
Since 1988, the Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby has been leading the fight for substantive equality and social justice for lesbians, gay men and their families in NSW.