Rudd's rejection of marriage referendum welcomed
Marriage equality activists have welcomed Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s announcement he would no longer consider a referendum on same-sex marriage.
Rudd told Triple J’s Hack program he thought a referendum would be like trying to “ram” his views in favour of same-sex marriage “down the throat” of people who disagreed.
Australian Marriage Equality’s Rodney Croome said Rudd’s decision now formed a consensus among the nation’s political leaders against a referendum.
Both leader of the opposition Tony Abbott and Greens leader Christine Milne have rejected calls for a referendum.
"A referendum or a plebiscite on marriage equality would be unnecessary, divisive and would not directly reform the law," Croome said.
"I am confident the Australian people would vote for marriage equality but I fear the debate leading up to that vote would be a platform for hate-mongering and damaging scare campaigns."
Rudd’s decision comes a fortnight after Labor Senator Penny Wong told the ABC’s Insight program that the nature of the debate could be so vitriolic it would be harmful to public discourse on the issue.
“[...] those of us who are on the receiving end of prejudice, homophobia – who receive letters and texts and tweets about ourselves and our children - understand what is out there and what the public debate can be,” Wong said.
“I had to sit in the Senate where one of my colleagues likened this to a discussion about bestiality.
“If we don’t have a capacity yet to have a compassionate and respectful discussion in the Parliament, then I certainly would be very fearful or concerned about having it more broadly.”