Blast at gay nuptial law bid

Written By miftah nugraha on Minggu, 31 Maret 2013 | 19.55

OPPONENTS have slammed moves to revive the Same-Sex Marriage Bill in the Legislative Council.

Guy Barnett of the Save Marriage Coalition said it was further evidence that Tasmania was being used as a social experiment.

"Whether you agree or disagree with same-sex marriage, euthanasia, abortion and other social and moral issues, Tasmanians are telling me the priority for our Government should be the economy," he said. "Why waste more parliamentary time when the budget needs fixing, the forest industry is on its knees and our productive construction and retail industries are doing it tough?

"The Parliament must get its priorities right."

With three Legislative Council electorates going to the polls on May 4, same-sex marriage activists yesterday were busy distributing more than 40,000 how-to-vote cards to households, targeting independent MLC Jim Wilkinson and Liberal Vanessa Goodwin, who both voted against the Bill last September.

Mr Wilkinson was unapologetic about his decision.

"People who look at my record would know I'm not anti-gay but the constitution says that marriage is a federal issue," Mr Wilkinson said.

"It is no coincidence that South Australia, New South Wales and the ACT have considered similar legislation but haven't proceeded.

"I think social issues are important but the biggest social issue we face is the fact that Tasmania's unemployment rate is 30 per cent more than any other state and we don't want to be waving our kids away for good."

The other target of the letter-box campaign, Liberal Vanessa Goodwin, did not respond yesterday but Liberals questioned the legality of the campaign and suggested it could be in breach of Section 159 of the Electoral Act.

Activist Rodney Croome said Tasmanians United for Marriage Equality had legal advice that it was not in breach of the Act and he questioned why the Liberals were seeking to stifle free speech.

Greens candidates yesterday said same-sex marriage was a key issue in the Legislative Council elections.

"We've got to seize the opportunity," said Tom Baxter, contesting Mr Wilkinson's seat of Nelson. "With Legislative Council terms lasting six years, we can't afford to wait."

Wendy Heatley, Greens candidate in Pembroke, said she was celebrating her 25th wedding anniversary and appreciated the fact that she had a chance to marry the man she loved.

"I can't understand why anyone would begrudge others the chance to be happy," she said.

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