THE Victorian and NSW gay and lesbian rights lobbies have developed a short online survey to gain the views of the LGBTI community on whether or not there should be a public vote on marriage equality.

Their survey opened just as submissions opened on the Senate inquiry into the form of any plebiscite that may be held on the issue.

Both state GLRLs aim to obtain community views on when and how a plebiscite should be held — if one were to be held — and what can be done to protect vulnerable LGBTI people.

“The Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby firmly believes marriage equality should be achieved through a vote of the Parliament,” VGLRL co-convenor Sean Mulcahy said in a statement this week.

“The High Court has made it clear that it is within the power of Parliament to legislate for marriage equality.

“A plebiscite is a costly way of resolving a matter that should be the responsibility of Parliament.”

Estimates have placed the cost of holding a plebiscite at over $120 million – at the taxpayer’s expense.

“Nevertheless, the political risk of the Government independently setting the terms for a plebiscite is real,” Mulcahy said.

“The VGLRL therefore welcomes the Senate’s move to establish an inquiry into a national vote on marriage equality, which will provide an opportunity for the community to be heard on the terms of any plebiscite including whether there should be one.

“We are aware of concerns about the impacts a protracted public debate on young or vulnerable LGBTI people and their families.

“What we have seen in recent weeks is no matter what kind of a debate occurs it will be divisive and may impact on the mental health of LGBTI people.”

Mulcahy added that they would be making a submission to the inquiry and will include the views of the LGBTI community within its submission.

The VGLRL and NSW GLRL’s online survey can is open until September 3

Submissions to the Senate inquiry close on September 4

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