Should same-sex marriage vote be compulsory or conscience?

It has been reported that this year at the Labor Party national conference in July, acting leader Tanya Pilbersek will call on her party to cease same-sex marriage voting as a conscience vote and instead make it compulsory.

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The Sydney Morning Herald has quoted Ms Pilbersek saying, “Do we support legal discrimination against one group in this country? Or do we not?”

Labor’s platform currently supports same-sex marriage but does not make it compulsory for Labor MPs to support it in a parliamentary vote. Ms Pilbersek believes that if there is a time to change it, it is now saying there had been a “significant step forward” in terms of community support for same-sex marriage. A Crosby Textor poll last year found that 72 per cent of those surveyed backed same-sex marriage.

At the Labor Party’s last national conference in 2011, it voted 208 to 184 in support of a conscience vote.

It is quite clear that some people and members of the party believe everyone should have the right to an opinion on this one – and have the right to show their support or their lack of support for a bill. And shouldn’t that be the case? Should it come down to majority rather than a blanket rule saying if you’re in this party, you will vote like this on something so personal?

It’s a very tough position and there are avid supporters that will want this rule to be enforced, however there’s others who aren’t so sure about it and therefore is it respectful to everyone to keep it a conscience vote?

Share your thoughts in the comments below… Should it be a compulsory or conscience vote for parties?