Federal Wentworth MP Malcolm Turnbull is still not a supporter of same-sex marriage despite more than 72 percent of respondents in a survey of his electorate indicating their support on the issue.
Turnbull has publicly stated his support for same-sex civil unions in the past. Marriage equality advocates were contacted by journalists last week who had heard a rumour that Turnbull would declare his support in a story in The Wentworth Courier.
But that did not materialise. When the Star Observer contacted Turnbull to ask if he had been persuaded on the issue, he could only say, “I am taking it all on board and discussing it with my colleagues”.
Turnbull said he had been impressed by the quality of the responses to the survey.
“The survey was very emphatic and the quality of the submissions which people wrote were very high and, in many cases, really inspiring,” he said.
When asked what he would do with the survey, Turnbull said the results were “important as a barometer of community opinion,” which would be “referenced when the debate is brought before the House, possibly later this year” — an apparent reference to legislation which the Greens have pledged to bring forward.
More than 72 percent of nearly 2500 respondents supported same-sex marriage, while only 16 percent supported civil unions. Seven percent opposed any recognition and 3 percent opposed same-sex marriage but did not express a view on civil unions.
Many high-profile Australians took part in the survey including the former Liberal NSW Premier, Nick Greiner, who wrote that marriage equality was ”self-evidently a matter of justice [which] in no way stops religions or individuals acting in accord with their conscientious views”.
Former Australian Medical Association president Dr Kerryn Phelps wrote that civil unions instead of marriage would be insulting to same-sex couples.
“I would not personally get ‘civil-unioned’, just as I suspect the majority of mixed gender couples wanting to marry would resist being forced to call their relationship a civil union rather than a marriage.”
St Vincents Hospital’s Dr Alex Wodak wrote there would be public health benefits from marriage equality.
“I have spent the last 30 years in efforts to try and reduce the harms of HIV. We should also do everything we can to help gay couples stay together to protect public health,” he wrote.
Many of those who opposed same-sex marriage cited religious arguments or wrongly believed religious groups would be compelled to marry same-sex couples.