Leader of the Australian Sex Party Fiona Patten has delivered an open letter to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull urging him to “ditch” plans for a plebiscite on marriage equality.
“Move towards a parliamentary vote as soon as possible. If you do so, you will show that you are truly attempting to govern all Australians and not pandering to a minority in your party room.”
It has been reported that the government will hold a plebiscite in March next year with the question to be, “Do you approve of a law to permit people of the same sex to marry?”
In the open letter that was posted online on Tuesday, Pattern said apart from the plebiscite being a waste of money it can also be a platform for hate speech.
“A national debate and vote on this issue of marriage equality will undoubtedly cause a divide in our community that will cause great stress and psychological harm to many. I particularly fear for the children of same-sex couples, but also young people who may already be struggling with their sexuality.”
The Australian Christian Lobby has called for the suspension of anti-discrimination laws for the period of the campaign, something Patten told the prime minister is a very bad sign of what’s to come.
“[It is] a move that should give you pause for thought. If hate laws need to be set aside so we can have this debate then we have a real issue,” she said.
Some Liberal MPs have indicated that no matter what the outcome of a plebiscite is they will ignore it and vote according to their own, individual views.
Patten said, “How can Australians have any confidence in the process given the public comments of members like Senator Zed Seselja who have said they will not vote in the positive even if their electorate does?”
The government has not confirmed at this stage when a plebiscite will be held or if new legislation for marriage equality will be introduced.