At the ALP's national conference on Saturday Dec. 3rd, Party delegates endorsed, on voices, an amendment to the party's platform to amend the Marriage Act and allow gay and lesbian people to marry their same-sex partners.
However, following Prime MInister Julia Gillard's lead, they voted 208 to 184 in favour of her motion to allow state and federal MPs a conscience vote on gay marriage, meaning that if a Bill is introduced into Federal Parliament, representatives will not be bound by Party policy, but will be free to vote according to their own lights.
How much is an individual's conscience a reliable guide to legislating other peoples' rights?
As John Faulkner said, governments don't grant human rights, they recognise them. To give such a matter over to a conscience vote is unconscionable.
ACT Deputy Chief Minister Andrew Barr, a contributor to SPEAK NOW, moved the motion to change the platform and, according to The Sydney Morning Herald, he received a standing ovation as he put the 'yes' case. 'We deserve the respect and the dignity afforded to others,' he said. 'We deserve equality.'
Joe de Bruyn of the Right faction re-asserted the definition of marriage as 'the union of one man and one woman, voluntarily entered into for life', claiming that that 'It has always been that way since the dawn of humanity.'
On another issue, Julia Gillard also held sway and successfully argued that the Labor Party should lift its ban on uranium sales to India!