Australian Senator asks if gay marriage is ‘real priority’, says vote should be postponed
A Conservative backbencher in Australia has called for a public vote on same-sex marriage to be postponed, asking if it is a “real priority”.
Senator Cory Bernardi called on his party to delay the promised plebiscite on same-sex marriage, an issue which has been drawn out.
The Senator suggested that the close election result meant people needed to reassess whether marriage equality is a “real priority”.
Speaking to the Guardian, he said: “The election result would give everybody cause to take a deep breath and determine what our real priorities are.”
“I’m saddened it’s come to this but I’ve tried to make clear the consequences of abandoning our core philosophy in favour of self interest,” he added.
The known opponent to same-sex marriage said the plebiscite, a public vote, on equal marriage should not be called off but that it should be delayed, saying the public should see that the Government is not working on “fringe issues”.
The unclear outcome of the Australian election is expected to result in a hung parliament.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull could return with the coalition government – he promised the vote after taking over as Prime Minister last year when predecessor Tony Abbott was ousted.
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The coalition have promised the plebiscite if they are re-elected in the election.
Turnbull said that he could not just hold a parliamentary vote on equal marriage because “he is not a dictator”.
Labour has criticised the move calling it expensive and pointless. The vote is estimated to cost $160 million of taxpayers money.
The liberal party remains divided on equality issues and Turnbull himself has been a vague supporter of equal marriage.
He previously came under fire for removing LGBT content from a sex education campaign.