It was a rainbow of opinions in Canberra yesterday, with Greens MP Adam Bandt introducing a motion of marriage equality in parliament to ask politicians to search out their constituents views on the issue. And MPs spouted forth a variety of views on the topic. NSW federal Labor backbencher Stephen Jones supported Bandt's motion, arguing gay marriage as a human rights issue: "Having applied the core Labor values of equality, fairness and dignity, I believe that there is a case for change." Liberal MP Malcolm Turnbull said marriage should be between a man and a woman, while independent Andrew Wilkie declared: "The majority of the Australian community is ready for a conscience vote on marriage equality, so let's at least agree to go so far as having a public discussion about the issue." Labor MP Mark Arbib -- better known as one of the faceless men -- is supposedly under fire for publicly supporting gay marriage against PM Gillard's wishes. Currently most MPs are constrained to toe the party line on gay marriage, but would change their public views should a conscience vote be allowed, suggested Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young. Check out this map of those in Australia who apparently agreed with the phrase 'I think homosexuality is immoral'. As Crikey's Bernard Keane wrote on yesterday's Essential Report:
"On gay marriage, 53% of voters believe people of the same sex should be allowed to marry, compared to 36% who oppose it. Greens and Labor voters are the strongest supporters, but even conservative voters are divided -- 45% of Liberal voters back gay marriage and 45% oppose it.
Different states -- and cities -- offer up different views on whether gays should marry, but the sunshine state is proving the most conservative in terms of acceptance of homosexuality, regardless of whether they are married or not. As Courtney Trenwith reports in the Brisbane Times:
"Queensland is the least gay-friendly state in the country with one person in three believing homosexuality is immoral, a national survey reveals. The Roy Morgan Research data also shows two-thirds of the state's population is opposed to same-sex couples adopting children. The anti-gay sentiment is strongest on the state's central coast and in the west, where up to 45 per cent of people regard gay and lesbian unions as immoral."
But whether gay marriage should be allowed or whether the Gillard government should pursue it are two different topics, argues David Penberthy in the Daily Telegraph:
"A different question, however, is whether people wanted the Gillard Government to act as a matter of urgency to legalise gay marriage. I would suspect you would get a different answer from many respondents. In the current climate, I would suspect that you would get a hostile answer from many respondents."
In one interesting way to convince the conversatives about gay marriage, Tory Shepherd thinks state governments should strive for the pink dollar. She writes in the Adelaide Advertiser: "South Australia should strive to become a gay Mecca. We will never be the biggest or the richest city in Australia. Our future lies in the niches; in doing certain things better than anyone else." Stuff defending gay marriage, let those who are against it try and articulate a strong argument, setting them up to fail, suggests Susie O'Brien in the Herald Sun: "...we should encourage the bigoted, homophobic opponents of gay marriage to come forward and justify their desire to discriminate."