Thursday, 28 May 2015

Equal marriage soon?

The ball is in the PM's court. With Bill Shorten upping the ante, and now signalling that next week he will move a private member's bill to allow for same sex marriage, the issue will be whether the PM uses the authority of his office to stop the Liberal Party voting for a conscience vote on the issue. If the PM decides to allow a conscience vote, then in all likelihood the bill, or a variant of it with cross-party support, will get up in both Houses.

However, this won't happen anytime soon. There are three weeks left in these sittings. They will all be devoted to the Budget. It is likely that Shorten's Bill will therefore be debated in the next sittings of the House, in August. The Government is able to dictate when a private member's bill is debated.

Of course, the PM may simply decide to block the move, in which case it is likely that the bill will be defeated, because Liberal members will be locked in, to vote against the bill, no matter their personal views.

We live in interesting times. I hope that the PM will allow the Liberal party room to discuss the issue and be able to have a conscience vote so that at last all adults are able to marry the person of their choice, and not be told by society that because of their sexuality that they are not good enough.

It was in the Age of Enlightenment when Englishman Thomas Paine wrote the revolutionary Rights of Man. Thomas Jefferson translated those sentiments in 1776, 12 years before the First Fleet landed on our shores,  when he wrote "All men are created equal." We are still waiting for the promise of those words. 

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