GetUp has launched a newspaper advertising campaign warning the ALP that a Labor conscience vote on same-sex marriage will not pass in the current Parliament while the Coalition denies one to its own members.

The advertisements feature a letter to ALP National Conference delegates by psychologist Paul Martin, explaining how societal devaluing of same-sex relationships affects LGBTI young people’s self esteem. It also includes a quote from the American Psychological Society stating that the denial of civil marriage rights “stigmatises same-sex relationships, perpetuates the stigma historically attached to homosexuality, and reinforces prejudice against lesbian, gay and bisexual people”.

“A conscience vote on marriage equality simply won’t result in our Parliament supporting change to the Marriage Act because the Liberal and National parties will vote in block to continue discrimination,” GetUp national director Simon Sheikh (pictured) said.

“Given the psychological impact that institutionalised discrimination has on members of our community, it simply doesn’t make sense for there to be anything short of a united vote in favour of marriage equality.

“The latest Nielsen Poll shows the majority of Australians and the majority of Labor Party voters are supportive marriage equality, now its up to the Government to make this happen.”

Sheikh said a conscience vote is unnecessary and wrongly legitimises opposition to marriage equality.

“Traditionally, conscience votes are only called on matters of ‘life and death’ such as abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research,” Sheikh said.

“Marriage equality clearly isn’t that. It’s reform that stands for equality and fairness and, given the capacity to offer religious institutions to make their own mind up, wont’ force anyone to change their practices or opinions.

“Only a united Government policy to back marriage rights for all Australians will make marriage equality law.”

The advertising campaign is running in The Age, Sydney Morning Herald and Australian newspapers on Thursday.

GetUp is looking to fund the newspaper ad campaign with donations from individual supporters which can be made at the campaign’s webpage- www.getup.org.au/campaigns/marriage-equality/conscience/our-message-in-the-paper

GetUp is also running a pro-marriage equality petition which has already surpassed the goal set by the rival Australia Christian Lobby (ACL) petition campaign against marriage equality.

The ACL have 75,000 signatures – still well short of their goal of 100,000 – while the Get Up petition has close to 120,000 signatures.

The GetUp petition can be found at www.ido.org.au

The news comes as federal School Education, Early Childhood and Youth Minister Peter Garrett reaffirmed his support for same sex marriage on Twitter, posting, “I will be continuing my vocal support of gay marriage in the lead-up to National Conference”.

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