Leave marriage vote to the people, say MPs
THE Sunshine Coast's federal politicians won't be supporting the push for a private member's bill in parliament to resolve stalled progress on marriage equality for same-sex couples.
Both Fairfax MP Ted O'Brien and Fisher MP Andrew Wallace have backed a plebiscite to resolve the issue despite that approach failing to win the support of both houses of parliament.
Their stance comes as LNP President Gary Spence wrote to all party members including politicians this week expressing disappointment "some elected members of the LNP have been contributors to the commentary by canvassing options to introduce a Private Member's Bill and to abandon a plebiscite in favour of a conscience vote by Parliament".
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Mr Spence said the LNP's position was that there should be no change to the definition under the Marriage Act which he said was the view of the overwhelming majority of party members.
"If there were contrary opinions, our members had the opportunity to test them on the floor of our 2017 Convention held just two weeks ago," Mr Spence wrote.
"I am disappointed that views that do not accord with the Party's policy have been aired publicly. I am equally disappointed that members elected under the LNP banner have chosen to take a position that defies LNP policy and the wishes of the LNP's membership.
"On issues such as this, which are fundamental to our Australian values, culture and democracy, we should never resile from giving all Australians an opportunity to have their say and cast their vote."
Mr Wallace said he respected that the issue was one of importance to many of his constituents.
"I believe that all local people deserve to have their views heard on this in a peaceful and respectful manner," he said.
"As such I would not support the bringing forward of a private member's bill, but instead am a strong supporter of holding a plebiscite to settle the question. Following the plebiscite I will vote in accordance with the result."
Mr O'Brien has also rejected having the matter determined by a parliamentary vote.
"Those countries that have tried to resolve it by politicians taking a vote, don't resolve it," he said.
"They've changed legislation but there is still a high degree of disharmony socially and that's not putting the issue to bed, that's not resolving it.
"You've had countries where they've legislated for gay marriage and then the subsequent election you've got presidential candidates running on a ticket saying 'well, I'm going to overturn it' and it never goes away.
"But you don't have that where countries have taken it to the people. Where the people have made the decision you do not have people or parties coming forward in subsequent elections on a platform to change the legislation on gay marriage.
"So if we're going to do this as a country let that be the decision of the people, not only because we're a democracy and it's an important enough issue to be taken to the people, but because that's the only way you truly resolve the issue."