- Wyatt Roy announces equal marriage supportPosted 1 day ago
- Scouts partially drop gay banPosted 2 days ago
- Police call for tougher hate crime sentencingPosted 4 days ago
- Rudd reverses gay marriage positionPosted 5 days ago
- Gay-friendly businesses celebratedPosted 5 days ago
- Greens push for overseas marriagePosted 9 days ago
- AFL pride campaign is “bullying”Posted 10 days ago
- Brazilian court ruling allows gay marriagesPosted 10 days ago
- Minnesota passes marriage equality billPosted 12 days ago
- Marriage rally draws sombre talePosted 13 days ago
Pledge for marriage before Pride
Melbourne Ports residents are urging local federal MP Michael Danby (pictured) to pledge his support for gay marriage ahead of the upcoming Victorian Pride March on Sunday, February 3. Last month, the Star Observer reported Melbourne Ports residents were frustrated over the MP’s decision to abstain on last year’s September 19 vote in the Lower House on same-sex marriage.
Melbourne Ports resident Tony Pitman, who has started a local community group called Melbourne Ports Residents for Marriage Equality, said constituents genuinely felt betrayed.
“There is now a strong feeling of discontent brewing in his electorate,” Pitman said.
“But we thought, with the Pride March coming up on February 3, this would be a perfect opportunity for Michael Danby to turn the situation around.”
Pitman said the MP would be welcomed with open arms to this year’s Pride March if he pledged to vote for gay marriage legislation in the future.
“Otherwise, I think if he joins the march without having changed his position, people are going to see that as the height of hypocrisy. He’ll probably be greeted with a mixture of indifference and resentment.”
Melbourne Ports Liberal candidate Kevin Ekendahl said the MP had some explaining to do.
“When he had the opportunity to make a stand and fight for equality he was conspicuously absent, he has to explain why he abstained from the vote when he had an opportunity to make a difference,” he said.
The gay Liberal candidate supports same-sex marriage and has said he was actively pursuing a full conscience vote on the issue within the Liberal Party.
Danby was one of 10 MPs to abstain, although half of them were either overseas or could not vote.
Victorian Labor MPs Rob Mitchell, Martin Ferguson and Anna Burke joined Danby in abstention although Burke could not vote as the House Speaker.
Out of Labor’s 22 MPs representing Victorian electorates, only Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Mike Symon, Kelvin Thomson, Maria Vamvakinou and Anthony Byrne voted against the law change.
In 2008, Danby supported the raft of Commonwealth law changes that removed discrimination against gay men and lesbians on 84 federal laws. At the time, Danby said the amendments sent a powerful message to the Australian community that the Parliament would no longer tolerate discrimination against gay and lesbian people.
Danby’s office did not respond to the Star Observer’s request for comment.