Veteran gay rights campaigner Rodney Croome has quit as national director of Australian Marriage Equality (AME), which he founded in 2004, to lobby MPs to block the equal marriage plebiscite.
Croome said those who believe a plebiscite is inevitable are “lacking political imagination” and declared blocking it could force a free vote in parliament on the issue. He said there was “no split in the movement” but rather “a spectrum of different approaches to a very difficult situation”.
Croome said he “genuinely believes a plebiscite can be stopped and marriage equality can be passed through parliament”.
“This is based on my near 30-year experience of advocating for LGBTI human rights, and on my conversations with Liberals and Nationals who support marriage equality.”
Croome said Liberals and Nationals were currently “locked in behind a plebiscite” but if the enabling legislation were blocked the “public spotlight will swing on to the government's failure to allow a free vote”.
Croome said he feared vulnerable LGBTI people would be harmed by a plebiscite, including possible suicides.
“If there is a plebiscite, and when the first gay kid dies at his own hand because of the hate and fear-mongering, I have to be able to look at myself in the mirror and know I did everything I could to stop it … everything.”
“Sadly, that includes giving up my role at Australian Marriage Equality.”