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LIV urges PM to legislate on same-sex marriage

LIV urges PM to legislate on same-sex marriage

By LIV Media

LGBTIQ Marriage Equality 


The Law Institute of Victoria has written an open letter to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull urging the government to withdraw plans for a plebiscite and instead proceed direct to Parliament  on the issue of amending the Marriage Act to allow marriage between same-sex couples.

The LIV supports marriage equality on the basis that preventing same-sex couples from marrying contravenes the notion and attainment of equality.

“Equality before the law is a fundamental requirement of the rule of law and not a matter of public opinion,” LIV president Steven Sapountsis said.

"Legally, historically and practically, protection and promotion of equal rights of and for minority groups in Australia is a matter for Australian law and the parliament.

"These rights cannot be subject to popular opinion at a point in time, and unless they are subject to a constitutional limitation, do not require a plebiscite or a referendum to be changed or enforced."

Parliament has the power to decide who may enter the social and legal union of marriage, as it did in 2004 when it passed the Marriage Amendment Act 2004 (Cth), changing the definition of marriage to a “union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life,” Mr Sapountsis said.

The High Court reaffirmed that interpretation of the Act in The Commonwealth of Australia v The Australian Capital Territory when it recognised that: “The boundaries of the class of persons who have that legal status [of marriage] are set by law and those boundaries are not immutable”.

The LIV is also concerned about the possibility of social division and disharmony that may be caused by strident campaigning on a plebiscite.

“We have heard from organisations and individuals with expertise in advocating for equality that a plebiscite will encourage demeaning and discriminatory debate and vilification of LGBTI people, as occurred in other overseas jurisdictions,” Mr Sapountsis said. “Such vilification may be particularly damaging for already vulnerable people.”

The LIV also believes the minimum estimated cost of $160 million to conduct the plebiscite is unnecessary and could be more productively and beneficially spent on other services, such as legal aid.



For further information regarding this media release please contact the
LIV Media Department

T: 03 9607 9389

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