What’s wrong with a plebiscite on same-sex marriage?

Senator Penny Wong has used the annual Lionel Murphy Memorial Lecture to open up about the abuse she receives as
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Senator Penny Wong has used the annual Lionel Murphy Memorial Lecture to open up about the abuse she receives as a gay woman and says plans to hold a plebiscite will only result in a wave of hate towards lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender, intersex and queer people.

The Labor frontbencher says no heterosexual politician could possibly grasp the hatred gay and lesbian Australians will be confronted with if the plebiscite on same-sex marriage goes ahead, and said prime minister Malcolm Turnbull’s persistence that the vote would be respectful was “the hollowest of hollow words”.

“A plebiscite designed to deny me and many other Australians a marriage certificate will instead license a hate speech to those who need little encouragement,” Wong said.

“I oppose a plebiscite because I do not want my relationship, my family, to be the subject of inquiry, of censure, of condemnation, by others. And I don’t want other relationships, other families, to be targeted either.”

But Federal treasurer Scott Morrison has raised the issue that those in favour of traditional marriage are also subject to hatred and bigotry for their views.

“I understand the concern that Penny is raising, I know if from personal experience having been exposed to that hatred and bigotry for the views I’ve taken from others who have a different view to me,” Morrison said.

“Frankly, people of very strong religious views have been subject to quite dreadful hate speed and bigotry as well, it’s not confined to one side of the debate.”

There have been 16 previous attempts to amend the Marriage Act so as to legalise same-sex marriage, all of which have been unsuccessful.

If we are all entitled to our views in this country, and everyone is entitled to respect, you would think then that having a plebiscite where all voting Australians can have their say on the issue would be a good thing.

Prime minister Turnbull has indicated the plebiscite will be used to gauge public feedback on what people think about those in same-sex relationships being afforded the same rights as those in heterosexual relationships.

What are your thoughts on having a national plebiscite for same-sex marriage in Australia? Are you concerned it will be used to condemn those who have a difference of opinion?

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