MARRIAGE equality advocates have launched an online crowdfunding campaign in order to escalate their lobbying of MPs in the coming weeks after a new bill was flagged in Federal Parliament today.

Titled “Make Marriage Equality Pozible“, the campaign was launched by Australian Marriage Equality (AME) this afternoon — around the same time the Freedom to Marry bill that NSW Liberal Democrat Senator David Leyonhjelm was poised to introduce was delayed due to the time spent on other motions in the Senate. (Editor’s note: the bill was eventually introduced in the Senate a few hours after this story was published)

The crowdfunding campaign, done through Pozible, aims to raise $50,000 by Christmas Eve so volunteer advocates can travel “to electorates all around Australia to empower local communities to win over the hearts and minds of their members of Parliament”.

The campaign also has a video (scroll down to watch), which features stills of images of marriage equality supporters such as Wallabies star David Pocock (pictured above), and encourages marriage equality supporters to use the “#TeamEqual” hashtag on social media.

“Marriage Equality is achievable in 2015 but only with your help,” AME’s Pozible page states.

“We have identified the 50 federal Members of Parliament and Senators we could win over and we only need another 25 votes to achieve marriage equality.

“To get to as many electorates as possible and start our effective local campaigns we need to raise $50,000 by the end of the year.

“If we don’t out opponents will continue to call the shots and do and say whatever it takes to block progress.”

The campaign also states that the $50,000 would help cover the cost of visiting at least half of the 50 targeted electorates.

Leyonhjelm was set to introduce his Freedom to Marry bill today after initially shelving in early October when Coalition and Labor MPs in favour of marriage equality reportedly pleaded to him to put it on hold because of the “wrong’’ timing.

The bill seeks to allow not just same-sex couples to marry, but trans* and intersex people as well, as it proposes to alter the definition of marriage found in the Marriage Act to one that states it as “the union of two people”, rather than a “man and a woman”.

However, it has attracted some debate on social media in the way it permits celebrants to not marry LGBTI couples if they do not want to, except for celebrants employed by the government.

AME has stated it was opposed to this provision, highlighting how “civil celebrants are registered by the government”, and therefore “should not be allowed to discriminate in discharging that duty.”

Nonetheless, the bill is widely expected to increase pressure on the Coalition to allow its MPs a conscience vote on the issue, as a bill was required to be before the Parliament to prompt a party room debate on this.

The Labor party already has a conscience vote on any marriage equality bill put forward to Parliament, while the Greens have stated they were the “strongest supporters” of it.

Deputy Opposition Leader Tanya Plibersek highlighted how she has had her own marriage equality bill ready to go for nearly a year.

“But as I have said many times, I will only introduce the bill when [Prime Minister] Tony Abbott allows members of the Coalition party room a conscience vote, because that’s the only way the bill would have any prospect of succeeding,” she said.

To make a donation to AME’s Pozible crowdfunding campaign, click here.

Watch the video:


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