In 2011 a Fairfax/Neilson poll showed that 57 per cent of Australians supported gay marriage. Last year a Galaxy poll showed that the number had grown to 64 per cent. Christian groups, led by Reverend Fred Nile, are in support of an election day referendum on same-sex marriage.
Same-sex marriage has been on the political agenda in Australia for several years, as part of the broader debate about the legal recognition of same-sex relationships. The expansion of legal rights and protections afforded to same-sex couples in Australia is well developed at both federal and state level.
With public opinion striding ahead of our politicians and other countries leaving Australia behind, a referendum seems like a circuit breaker. But I urge people to reflect for a moment. Overseas referenda on marriage equality have been exploited by cashed-up, anti-gay groups to conduct fear and hate campaigns against gay people.
Last year a Galaxy poll showed that the number had grown to 64 per cent. Christian groups, led by Reverend Fred Nile, are in support of an election day referendum on same-sex marriage. Mr Nile believes, that if the question is “black and white”, Australians will vote against gay marriage.
In Australia, the terms ‘plebiscite’ and ‘referendum’ have quite distinct meanings. At national level, a referendum is a vote to change the Constitution, subject to strict rules set out in section 128 of the Constitution and with a binding outcome. Legally a referendum to decide the Commonwealth’s power over same-sex marriage is not