Victoria’s Hepburn Shire Council has called on federal Parliament to legalise same-sex marriage after it voted overwhelmingly to support change last week.
Coliban Ward Mayor Sebastian Klein said he was inspired to move the motion following a “stirring” presentation by activist Marilyn Beaumont at the Shire’s recent International Women’s Day gala.
“I believe it is our individual responsibility, at whatever stage of influence, to work to right wrongs,” Klein told the Star Observer.
“If we in government, or even as individual adults, continue to sanction inequality in one area of life, then we are effectively reinforcing the prejudice that we have all witnessed in our schools, clubs and workplaces.”
Klein said he hopes the shire’s calls are heeded.
“It’s really inspiring to see so many disparate elements of the wider community coming together for a common cause,” he said.
“My hope is that in five years time people will be surprised that we even had to take steps like this because it is just normal for two people, who are in love and want to spend the rest of their lives together, to celebrate that commitment with all of their friends and family through marriage.”
Hepburn Shire is home to Australia’s largest LGBTI regional festival, ChillOut.
ChillOut president and Hepburn Shire local Michael Brady welcomed the council’s support.
“I think the council has been brave to stand up and say, in principle, ‘We think this is a good idea’. It makes me proud they are trailblazing to a certain extent because there are not a lot of councils who have done this,” he said.
“It sets a challenge to other councils to step up and say ‘We support equality’.”