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Petitioning for marriage
In a battle of opposing petitions, two senators have issued rival public appeals on the issue of gay marriage.
Tasmanian Liberal Senator Guy Barnett last week launched a petition to retain the current definition in Australia’s Marriage Act that marriage is between a man and a woman.
Barnett said the petition was in response to a motion by federal Greens MP Adam Bandt, passed last year, which requested MPs to canvas their constituents’ views on whether Australia should allow same-sex marriage.
“This petition allows members of the community to send a message that marriage is worthy of protection and support,” Barnett said.
“Marriage is one of the great institutions on which our society is built and I will continue the fight to protect this sacred union.”
Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young welcomed more support for her petition launched last September calling on Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Opposition leader Tony Abbott to allow a conscience vote on the issue.
Her petition has so far collected more than 12,000 signatures.
“The Greens believe same-sex couples should have the same rights as other couples to celebrate their love and commitment through marriage,” she said.
Hanson-Young said a recent Galaxy poll shows 62 percent of Australians support same-sex marriage.
“While both major parties remain opposed to marriage equality, a majority of the Australian community are not.
“It is time for the community to have its voice heard on this issue in federal Parliament.”
The Greens senator has already tabled a private member’s bill to allow gay marriage in Australia and said it was a priority for the party.
“Countries including Canada, the Netherlands, Sweden, Belgium, Norway, Spain, South Africa, and many states in the United States now recognise same-sex marriage,” she said.
“The sky hasn’t fallen in there and we know it won’t here in Australia.”