No change to the Australian Marriage Act leaves Dubbo advocate 'gutted'

Kris Stevens said she was gutted with the decision to hold a postal ballot. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE
Kris Stevens said she was gutted with the decision to hold a postal ballot. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

Kris Stevens said she was ‘gutted’ with the ‘soul destroying’ decision that there would be no change to the Marriage Act without a public vote. 

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called an emergency party room meeting on Monday night to reaffirm the governments policy. 

The government vowed to take the Coalition’s push for a national plebiscite back to parliament and if that plebiscite fails to gain support on the floor of parliament the government would run a postal ballot giving all adult citizens their say on same-sex marriage.

The Senate voted on Wednesday morning with an outcome of 31 for the motion and 31 against. 

A postal ballot is expected to be held later this year. If the majority says yes, government MPs will be given a free vote on the issue in parliament but if the majority says no, no free vote will be made available to Coalition MPs.

Ms Stevens said she has been living in hope for a decision to be made for a very long time and was sick of hearing that ‘it will happen’. 

“They have no idea. 

“I just don’t wear that ‘it will happen, but it won’t happen overnight, but it will happen soon’. That’s just not good enough, we elect those people to represent us and a plebiscite is a non-binding public opinion poll and I’m just so sick of the buck passing. 

“There is obviously an underlying reason why they will not change their policy because they have no trouble breaking their promises on any other issue. I just don’t understand.”

Ms Stevens said members of parliament should be representative all their constituents, and no be concerned about whether it was going to secure them a place in the next parliament. 

“I would be thinking is this morally the right thing to do, morally and ethically the right thing to do and I would be voting for it. 

“They need to right the wrongs of history and they need to get on with it.

“We pay them a lot of money to sit in parliament to make decisions and John Howard did not have one plebiscite when he changed the marriage act and made it strictly between a man and a woman, there was no consultation with anyone, it didn’t matter what anyone thought. 

Division in the Senate to restore the Plebiscite (Same-Sex Marriage) Bill 2016, at Parliament House in Canberra on Wednesday 9 August 2017.  Photo: ALEX ELLINGHAUSEN

Division in the Senate to restore the Plebiscite (Same-Sex Marriage) Bill 2016, at Parliament House in Canberra on Wednesday 9 August 2017. Photo: ALEX ELLINGHAUSEN

Ms Stevens said she wasn’t asking to have a religious ceremony, she just wanted same-sex marriage to be legally recognized as a marriage. 

“I’m not asking any more than that and I don’t think that’s too much to ask.”

“We all contribute to this community and this country and yet we don’t enjoy equal rights.” 

Mr Turnbull says the issue could be decided by Christmas.