A report in The Australian newspaper today has prompted marriage equality advocates to urge the Australian Labor Party (ALP) to push ahead with changing the party’s position on same-sex marriage, rather than allowing MPs a conscience vote.
The Australian has reported ALP factional leaders are looking to strike a deal to shift the party’s approach to same-sex marriage, pushing for MPs to be allowed a conscience vote to avoid the issue becoming a major focus of its National Conference in December.
Australian Marriage Equality spokesman Peter Furness said the party should change its position after almost every state and territory Labor branch has voted in favour of reform.
“The party rank-and-file clearly want this discriminatory policy to be overturned and for traditional Labor and Australian values like equality and a fair go to be asserted,” Furness said.
“Subverting the wishes of the party’s rank and file with a backroom, pre-conference deal will open the Labor Party up to criticism of being undemocratic.
“If anti-equality MPs want to lobby the party for a conscience vote that is a matter for them, but it should be after the party has been allowed to show its overwhelming support for reform.”
Recent polling suggests a majority of Australians are in favour of allowing same-sex marriage.
MPs are due to report back to federal Parliament on Wednesday with the views of their electorate on the issue.