Alannah MacTiernan Calls for Action on Marriage Equality

Alannah MacTiernan

Federal Member for Perth Alannah MacTiernan of the Labor Party has called on the government to take action on the issue of marriage equality following the result of the Irish referendum.

MacTiernan told OUTinPerth that the successful push for marriage equality in Ireland has put the onus on politicians in Australia to address the issue.

“I think really we are the last man standing in the English-speaking world and I think it’s about time that we moved where the majority of the community moved some years ago and embraced marriage equality. I was quite surprised two years ago when I went to Spain, which is even a far more deeply Catholic country than Ireland and that had marriage equality in there for four years. So we really are pretty much out of step with contemporary European standards and I think the community’s moved there” she said.

“People have so many members of their own family, friends who are people who are gay who wish to be married or at least notionally have equal rights. So I just think the community’s moved on and it’s about time we adjusted our laws to incorporate that, and I think there’s a growing awareness that many gay people are having children so all of those reasons for having the formal institution of marriage which really was developed in the first instance around the need to provide a secure framework for the raising of children, they are now applying extensively to many gay relationships.”

MacTiernan said that politicians may be reluctant to show support for marriage equality for fear of backlash from certain groups.

“I just think there’s certain areas where the politicians are a little bit nervous about moving because minority groups always seem to be more powerfully motivated, so some people have their will overborne by the fear of the minority opinion and how vigorously they might campaign against them. But my sense is now that the majority of members of parliament are on board with this. What we need is a conscience vote on the part, we need to allow the Libs to have a conscience vote and we need to get legislation through on that basis.” she said.

“I’m hopeful that we’ll be introducing some legislation into parliament, and that will be the trigger for Mr. Abbott to confront this issue of giving the conscience vote to his team. And I think once we’ve got the conscience vote on Liberal’s side we can get this legislation through.”

Fellow Labor politician Tony Burke Member for Watson, New South Wales has also voiced support for marriage equality.

“The referendum in Ireland should leave every Australian politician in no doubt. The debate about marriage equality will only end with one decision. That decision will be to legislate for two people to marry at law regardless of gender.” he said in a statement.

Sophie Joske

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