Ropes Crossing gay couple support blocking marriage equality plebiscite

IT'S TIME: Ropes Crossing couple Ian Horner and Dane Chad are still waiting for the right to marry, but they believe Labor was right to block the plebiscite.

IT'S TIME: Ropes Crossing couple Ian Horner and Dane Chad are still waiting for the right to marry, but they believe Labor was right to block the plebiscite.

“It was patronising, insulting and demeaning.”

The words of teacher Dane Chad summarise why he is rejoicing Labor’s decision to block the marriage equality plebiscite.

His partner of 14 years, Ian Horner, admits there is a degree of irony that they are against a public poll they believe would confirm public support for their right to marry.

For the Ropes Crossing couple though, the negative consequences outweighed the potential benefit.

“Look at what happened in Ireland,” Mr Chad said.

“Even though it was overwhelmingly passed, there were incidents of outright bigotry which were sparked by the plebiscite process. And that was pretty damaging to people who were already struggling with issues of identity and self-worth.”

Mr Horner said the cost was also a concern.

“$160 million for a non-binding plebiscite in this economy is simply unconscionable,” he said.

“We pay politicians quite good salaries to make these decisions for us. We don’t want them to pass along all the decisions back to a vote every time they reach an impasse politically.”

Mr Horner said he knows it may now take a change of government before he can marry his partner in Australia.

“If Malcolm Turnbull had the guts to do what he believes is right in his own heart and to follow through his own conscience, he would allow politicians in the house to vote according to their conscience and to reflect the overwhelming majority of the wishes of their electorate.”

Federal Greenway MP Michelle Rowland is among many politicians who have changed their tune when it comes to marriage equality.

Ms Rowland was one of the 98 MPs who voted against legislation that would have given same-sex couples the right to marry four years ago.

She told the Sun her opinion had changed after consulting with constituents.

Ms Rowland said public opinion in Greenway is split “pretty much 50-50”, but a conversation with a mother in Seven Hills proved a catalyst in changing her mind.

“Her son is in the navy and she said he wants to marry his partner,” she said.

“He’s in active service, he’s putting his life on the line for his country. Who am I, and who is anyone, to deny him the right to marry the person he loves?

“People seek to have equality before the law in every way, and that includes the right to marry someone that you love.”

Mitchell MP Alex Hawke remains in favour of a plebiscite. The Liberal politician said the issue has been debated for 10 years and he thinks it is best solved by the public.

Want to share your experience or opinion? Get in touch: harrison.vesey@fairfaxmedia.com.au.

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