Culture

Reports: Conservative MPs Are Attempting To Manipulate The Marriage Equality Vote

Meanwhile thousands have rallied in support of marriage equality.

Conservative forces within the Coalition are reportedly planning to disregard public support for marriage equality.

According to a report in The Sydney Morning Herald, there is currently a push to give senators and MPs “express permission” to align their vote in parliament with that of their electorate, giving them an excuse to cast their ballot against reform even if a majority of the country votes in favour. Isn’t democracy fun?

The cynical move raises further questions about the legitimacy of the controversial marriage equality plebiscite, which Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull admitted on Friday would be non-binding anyway. The vote – a leftover campaign pledge from the Tony Abbott era – has already been criticised for its projected $160 million cost, as well as the fact that it will likely spark vicious, discriminatory campaigning that could be harmful both to the LGBTIQ community and long-suffering straight Christians like Scott Morrison.

This new revelation has led to a fresh round of condemnations, with one MP who is in favour of marriage equality describing the situation as “a disgrace,” going on to say that “it’s already non-binding, and now they’re finding other ways to ignore a majority vote as well.” Greens marriage equality spokesperson Robert Simms likewise slammed the move, with the senator declaring that “LGBTI Australians shouldn’t be used as pawns in Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s desperate attempts to hold onto his job.”

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Attorney-General George Brandis has denied reports of shady party room dealings, and claimed that the government would respect the result of the plebiscite.

Turnbull can expect continued pressure on this front, with thousands of people rallying for marriage equality across the country this weekend. Organised by Community Action Against Homophobia and Equal Love, the rallies took place in Perth, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Canberra.

Speaking at a rally in Melbourne yesterday, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews had some fighting words for the Prime Minister, describing the plebiscite as “divisive”, “dangerous” and “cowardly.”

Lead image via Equal Love/Facebook