QUEENSLAND Labor have managed to do what the NSW branch of the party recently could not do: pass a motion calling on federal MPs to be forced to vote in favour of future marriage equality legislation.
Cheers and celebrations followed the successful passing of the motion at Queensland Labor state conference last weekend.
Although Labor’s official platform is in favour of same-sex marriage rights, MPs are allowed to vote according to how they personally feel on the issue.
ALP delegate and regional member of Rainbow Labor Queensland, Nick Thompson was responsible for moving the motion on Sunday.
He said that the success of the motion – that was passed overwhelming by members’ voices alone – showed a commitment to equality.
“The resounding support to call on the next federal conference to remove the conscience vote on the issue of equality has always been the next logical part of Labor’s progression and strong record of fairness and equality,” Thompson told the Star Observer.
“Queensland Labor already adopted a position of equality in 2011. There was therefore a strong precedent in the lead up to the conference of party members and affiliated unions supporting marriage equality.”
A similar motion was put to the NSW Labor branch during their state conference held last month, but it was not successful.
The fact Queensland can lead on the issue of marriage equality reflects its strong history of supporting civil issues, Thompson believed.
“Queensland Labor has previously lead in areas such as anti-discrimination and vilification legislation, de facto rights and altruistic surrogacy,” he said.
“Queensland Labor is experiencing a phase of membership growth and renewal and Rainbow Labor Queensland has been a strong proponent of this development.”
Deputy Opposition Leader and long-time proponent of same-sex marriage, Tanya Plibersek, was present at the conference.
“We have come so far thanks to the tireless work of LGBTI activists, including many within Queensland Labor,” she told the Star Observer.
“Labor is the only major party that supports marriage equality. As I’ve said before, marriage equality’s time has well and truly come.
“My bill for marriage equality stands ready, but Tony Abbott must first allow his MPs a conscience vote for it to have any chance of success.”
Thompson said there were many vocal Liberal MPs in favour of marriage equality who could see a future bill passed successfully.
“The Coalition have many members and parliamentarians who support equality and the LGBTI community,” he said.
“The event of a conscience vote from the coalition and a binding vote from the Labor party would see this issue resolved for the hundreds of LGBTIQ Australians their families and allies that expect so much more from their elected representatives in relation to marriage equality.”