PM’s popularity would soar if he allowed free vote on marriage equality
Results from a recent Galaxy poll suggest the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s popularity would increase if he were to allow a free vote on marriage equality.
The poll conducted by PFLAG earlier this month, shows 71% of Australians, including 64% of Liberal voters, will look more favourably on the Turnbull Government if it allows a free vote.
The poll results come ahead of the findings from a senate inquiry into a draft exposure bill on Marriage Equality which had also proposed exemptions which would allow weddings service suppliers to refuse service to LGBTI couples.
The poll also confirmed Australians were against any watering down of discrimination laws and were against any new laws that would allow civil celebrants or businesses to refuse their services to marrying same-sex couples on the basis of the service provider's religious or personal beliefs.
Marriage equality advocate and just.equal spokesperson, Rodney Croome said the poll proved the majority of Australians were in support of a free vote.
"This poll shows Australians want marriage equality, they want it via a free vote in Parliament and they want it to be truly equal without caveats entrenching further discrimination."
"The message to Malcolm Turnbull is that a he will win back support from potential Liberal voters at the next election by dropping the plebiscite policy and passing marriage equality on a free vote.
"The poll also sends a clear message that in the eyes of most Australians equal means equal and discrimination against same-sex couples in the provision of wedding services should not be allowed," Croome concluded.
Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) National spokesperson, Shelley Argent, who commissioned the poll, said the results would apply further pressure on the PM to do the right thing and allow a free vote.
"Passing marriage equality asap will be a win for our children, a win for Malcolm Turnbull and a win for Australia,” Argent said.
"Malcolm Turnbull needs to heed the message that Australians remain firmly against a plebiscite and want marriage equality dealt with in Parliament by a free vote."
"A plebiscite would have been a platform for hate against LGBTI people and the sooner the Government admits the idea has had its day the better."
Key poll results
The poll found two thirds of voters support marriage equality, with almost half strongly supporting it.
It also found 59% support for a free vote among voters who lean to the Liberals and 60% support amongst those who lean to the Nationals.
45% of respondents opposed laws allowing refusal of service in general with 35% in favour, but this jumped to 65% against and only 17% in favour when respondents were asked about laws that would specifically target same-sex couples.