The Marriage Debate

Monday, October 26, 2015

Many Australians have strong opinions with regards to same sex marriage. Supporters of gay marriage are typically those who are in homosexual relationships or are family members and friends of same sex couples, who only wish to see their children, siblings and friends happy.

Everybody has a right to live happily and regardless of a person’s emotional viewpoint, it is important to have a debate and look at the social impact same sex marriage may have on our society. We cannot allow politicians with their own personal views, whether it be ‘for’ or ‘against’, cast their vote on this important issue, on behalf of all Australians. Under Section 51 of the Australian constitution it states “The Parliament shall, subject to this Constitution, have power to make laws for the peace, order, and good government of the Commonwealth with respect to: (xxi) marriage.”

When our forefathers, the leaders of this nation and representatives of the people held conventions for many years around the 1890’s, in relation to drafting the Australian Constitution, they included the word marriage as stated previously. Considering the times and that back then homosexuality was forbidden and taboo, their interpretation and meaning of the word ‘marriage’ would have been between two people of the opposite sex.

When Ireland went to the polls to vote on same sex marriage, the Irish Constitution was amended to include the words; “marriage may be contracted in accordance with the law by two persons without distinction as to their sex”. It begs the question, how would the word marriage, defined in the Australian Constitution, be interpreted if it were ever to be challenged in the High Court? The Australian Constitution can only be changed by referendum, by the people.

If a referendum is not held to clearly define the word marriage and change the Australian Constitution, then a plebiscite, that is a vote on an important public question making no change to our Constitution, should be held. The result would reflect on the majority vote in each state and territory, and then the majority of states, in unison, to deliver an outcome either for or against, as is the same case if a referendum were held.

If we allow the politicians to cast their vote on the floor of Parliament, then they have allowed the meaning of the word marriage to also incorporate same sex couples. If this is to occur, we must have the foresight to ask, “will it end there and what guarantee do we have, that in time, multiple marriages or marriage to children as young as 9 years of age, as is the customs and religious beliefs of Islam, be implemented”? Our Parliament is only as good as the people sitting on the benches. People power is harder to buy, control or intimidate. This is another reason why we should consider having the word ‘marriage’ defined in our Constitution and a referendum held.

Peter Beattie, former Premier of Queensland stated “just vote on it in Parliament and save the $100 Million it will cost for a public vote. We know all polls show the people support it”. All I have seen from most politicians across our nation, regardless of whether they are local, state or federal, is continual waste of taxpayers’ dollars. The most cost effective way is to have the vote during a federal election. The only added cost to the taxpayer is for paper, advertising and counting staff. This is not about money as Peter Beattie put it. It’s about Australians having their say which the Labor party, Greens and some on the Coalition benches don’t want you to have.

As far as the polling, I have never been asked, have you? Any politician will tell you the only true poll are the ones held on the day of an election. I am sick of hearing clap trap from self-serving politicians who have their own agenda and think they know better than the ordinary Australian who at the end of the day have to wear their mistakes and incompetence.

The poll held in Ireland was not reflective of the whole country. Because of a non-compulsory voting system only 60.52% of the number enrolled voted, that’s approximately 1.2 million people. Of that 1.2 million, 62% voted yes to same sex marriage, 38% no. It appears the movement for same sex marriage in Australia do not want the public to vote, because they fear it will not get up.

Do you support having your own say on the matter with a true referendum / plebiscite, or do you feel the decision should be left to politicians to represent your views?



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