As we’ve discussed a few times now, the Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is going to hold a public vote (or plebiscite) on same-sex marriage.
Now, Daniel Andrews has urged the PM to walk away from the plans for a plebiscite, saying how a public vote on marriage equality will lead to a “harmful, spiteful debate” and also warned that it will “give legitimacy to hurtful views”.
Andrews previously made a name for himself when he apologised to gay Victorians who were convicted under the country’s previously “abominable” laws. He pointed out that not only have several government officials vowed to vote against same-sex marriage, the plebiscite is going to cost a hefty $160 million.
He wrote a rather lengthy letter on the subject, saying: “It will legitimise a hateful debate which will subject LGBTI Australians to publicly funded slurs and denigration, further alienating a proud community who have fought so hard against prejudice for so long.”
“You and I have both had the privilege of standing in front of our loved ones and committing ourselves for life to another person, and both of us were afforded full legal recognition when we did so. At the time I did not consider it unusual that I should have the legal right to marry Catherine. I realise now how precious that right is, because I’m witnessing so many people forced to fight just to be allowed to do what I did – marry the person they love.!
“In Victoria, equality is not negotiable. On behalf of my state, I urge you to accept there is no need for a costly and divisive plebiscite and agree to produce a bipartisan Bill to amend the Marriage Act within the next 100 days.”
“Marriage equality means so much to so many people. On the cusp of its realisation, it is wrong for you to impose one last hurdle – one final insult. Hundreds of thousands of Australians are currently discriminated against under Australian law. To them and their families, this plebiscite is not an opportunity for reform, but an opportunity for rejection.!
“After a botched referendum in 1999, you accused a conservative Prime Minister of breaking the nation’s heart. If you fumble at this crucial moment, history will only remember you for the same thing.”