Socialists give full support to marriage equality

Marriage equality supporters in Sydney in May. Photo: Peter Boyle

This statement was released by the Socialist Alliance on August 16.

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Kevin Rudd says he is now in favour of equal marriage rights, but Labor’s policy allows its politicians a "conscience vote". This is simply unacceptable, and lets homophobic MPs off the hook.

Why does Labor have a "conscience vote" on equal marriage? It doesn't have a conscience vote on other issues, such as sending asylum seekers to PNG or cutting sole-parent pensions — even though Labor's policies on these issues violate the conscience of any decent human being.

Meanwhile, Liberal leader Tony Abbott has refused any such commitment to a “conscience vote”, keeping the Liberal Party firmly opposed to marriage equality.

Despite the recent promise by Rudd to introduce a bill, the result will be that same-sex couples will not be able to marry unless politicians from all sides respect the overwhelming support of people for change, and cross the floor to support equal marriage rights.

The Socialist Alliance fully supports equal marriage, without a "conscience vote" cop-out.

The Socialist Alliance supports equal marriage for all, including people in the transgender, intersex, and sex and gender diverse community. Full marriage equality should not leave anyone behind.

Equal marriage is a basic civil right and the Socialist Alliance does not support marriage laws that include exemptions for churches.

Winning marriage equality is one important step towards rainbow liberation.

But to fully eliminate the scourge of homophobia and bigotry, the Socialist Alliance calls for:

• Sex education and anti-bullying programs in schools, universities and in the community, and
• Public housing expansion to house young people thrown out of their homes by homophobic parents and a funding injection to public health services to combat the social crisis homophobia creates.

Whoever wins this election, supporters of equal marriage will have to continue the campaign, until members of parliament are forced to agree to the popular demand for marriage equality.

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