Like what you've read?

On Line Opinion is the only Australian site where you get all sides of the story. We don't
charge, but we need your support. Here�s how you can help.

  • Advertise

    We have a monthly audience of 70,000 and advertising packages from $200 a month.

  • Volunteer

    We always need commissioning editors and sub-editors.

  • Contribute

    Got something to say? Submit an essay.

 The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
On Line Opinion logo ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate


On Line Opinion is a not-for-profit publication and relies on the generosity of its sponsors, editors and contributors. If you would like to help, contact us.


RSS 2.0

Why there should not be a conscience vote on gay marriage

By Ken McKay - posted Monday, 22 November 2010

Why there should not be a conscious vote on gay marriage.

There are periods in history that all political parties face issues that will forever define them. For the United States Republican Party it was slavery. For the Democratic Party in the United States it was the adoption of Keynesian economic frameworks, particularly the New Deal under Roosevelt and the Great Society under Johnson. For the Australian Labor Party it was arbitration.

We are now at a crucial moment in Australian history, will we honour and defend our pluralistic society or allow religious intolerance to dominate our mainstream political parties?


At the heart of the struggle is a very simple concept: will we provide human dignity to homosexuals by providing recognition of their relationships and family life equal to that we provide to heterosexuals?

We say that human rights provide equal recognition and protection without discrimination on the basis of sex, religion, age, political beliefs, race or sexual preference.

Why is it that mainstream politics baulks at the provision of the same rights and protections for homosexuals?

Why is it that a homosexual's love of their partner is not afforded the same status as a heterosexual's?

The Australian Labor Party has a proud history of embracing a modern secular pluralistic society. So too have elements of the Liberal Party.

However, our history abounds with religious organisations attempting to subvert our cultural and proud support of a pluralistic society. In the 1950s we had the Movement led by B.A. Santamaria attempting to control Australian unions to deliver a Christian Democratic society. Thankfully the broad Labor movement was successful in resisting this intolerant crusade.


However, Tony Abbott, one of his disciples, has taken control of the Liberal Party hence any chance of bipartisanship on gay rights is impossible. The Christian soldiers have a mission to end our secular society and unless they meet opposition they will continue their crusade.

Gay activists are lobbying the ALP for a conscience vote. This is a mistake. We should demand that elected representatives legislate to provide equal status and protection for homosexual relationships. Providing the ability for a conscience vote on a fundamental human right is intolerable. To suggest that it is OK for elected Labor representatives to succumb to the power of the Christian crusaders and abandon fundamental human rights would be a tragedy.

This sort of weakness to take a principled stand can only lead to further erosions of human rights.

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. All

Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

52 posts so far.

Share this:
reddit this reddit thisbookmark with Del.icio.usdigg thisseed newsvineSeed NewsvineStumbleUpon StumbleUponsubmit to propellerkwoff it

About the Author

Ken McKay is a former Queensland Ministerial Policy Adviser now working in the Queensland Union movement. The views expressed in this article are his views and do not represent the views of past or current employers.

Other articles by this Author

All articles by Ken McKay

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Photo of Ken McKay
Article Tools
Comment 52 comments
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy