LIBERAL MP Trent Zimmerman has cautioned Australians who want marriage equality against boycotting the postal plebiscite.

“Enrol, participate and vote,” he said.

“I understand the concerns about a plebiscite but it’s happening and the consequences of a ‘no’ vote would set back the cause considerably.”

Zimmerman said the plebiscite represents a setback but it could also be a path forward for marriage equality.

“I, along with several of my colleagues, argued for a free parliamentary vote for Coalition MPs which would have been the quickest and fairest way to resolve this issue,” he said.

“I don’t want to see this issue languish—there are so many Australians today who want to express their love and commitment to each other who are being denied that opportunity.

“We were unable to convince the government to move to a parliamentary vote, which was very disappointing for me.”

Zimmerman said the postal vote is “a long way from my first choice of how this issue should be resolved”.

“Apart from everything else, I am a strong supporter of our system of representative democracy and the parliament can and should make decisions such as these,” he said.

“The upside is that there is now a pathway to resolving this issue before Christmas. In all the polling, a majority of Australians support marriage equality so the key now is to ensure people participate and vote.”

Zimmerman also called for people on both sides of the debate to participate in the process respectfully.

“There will be outlandish claims made by some supporters of the ‘no’ case,” he said.

“Similarly, it is important that those of us arguing for a ‘yes’ vote recognise that many Australians are opposed to marriage equality out of deeply held convictions. Respect must work both ways.

“Our focus must be on a very positive message that this is all about members of the LGBTI community having the opportunity to share their love in the same way as other Australians.”

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