Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull plans to introduce proposed legislation to enable a marriage equality plebiscite in Parliament.

A survey of LGBTIQ people found that they, the people most affected by this decision, are opposed to a plebiscite. Almost 200 LGBTIQ Australian leaders across the arts, sport, religion, business and community sectors have called on Federal Parliament to reject this plebiscite.

The Atheist Foundation of Australia supports this stance.

While Australians will be most likely be asked: “Do you support a change in the law to allow same-sex marriage?”, the question we should be asking ourselves is why public funding of $15 million is being allocated to both "yes" and "no" campaigns – or any at all.

We know that because of negative attitudes towards LGBTIQ people, especially young people, self-harm and attempted suicides occur more often in that group, than in the rest of the community. A plebiscite, especially one involving funding to promote attacks on LGBTIQ people, will just exacerbate this violence.

The Prime Minister says that arguing this way demeans the Australian people's ability to argue the matter in a civil way. However, the loudest voices against marriage equality vilify LGBTIQ people. These voices link homophobia with bestiality and pedophilia, and make specious nonsense-arguments about family composition, saying that non-straight couples are abnormal and harmful to children. In what situation are these positions not homophobic? Those who spread homophobic views like these include some religious leaders such as Reverend Powell, groups like the Australian Christian Lobby, and even members of Mr Turnbull's Government.

The Government says there is no other alternative to a plebiscite, and that they have a mandate to implement it. There is an alternative; it is only the choice of the Government that is putting a plebiscite into the conversation. But the Australian people only gave the Government a majority, the slimmest of majorities, in one house. That is a poor sort of mandate.

There is no need for a plebiscite. It will waste money and hurt the people it is supposed to help. The Atheist Foundation of Australia joins the call for a decision by the Parliament that will promote a better future and not deplete public funds in the process.

Kylie Sturgess

Atheist Foundation of Australia Inc
PO Box 3582
Parramatta NSW 2124

Phone: (02) 8007 4503
Email: [email protected]

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