Valley's politicians support marriage equality referendum
IRELAND'S historic vote on same-sex marriage has reignited calls for Australia to follow suit, but where do the Clarence Valley's politicians stand on the issue?
Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis would vote no to marriage equality, but yes to a referendum, or plebiscite - which is the term for a vote on a non-binding ballot question.
The Nationals State MP said Ireland's ruling on Friday had led the way in relation to how the "contentious" question should be answered.
"Peoples views are changing and I think it's important we capture those views and not rely solely on the department to make that determination," he said.
"As an MP I have my own views but we need to hear community views expressed through a referendum."
Mr Gulaptis said his personal views on legalising same-sex marriage were not on the basis that he didn't believe in equality but that he didn't believe a same-sex relationship could be called a 'marriage'.
"Gay and lesbian people are entitled to have a relationship in any way they want, but I think marriage is a traditional institution, an age-old tradition, between a man and a woman and the purpose was essentially to procreate and have a family.
Federal MP Kevin Hogan is also in favour of 'the people's choice.'
"I would certainly support a church or religion's right to not marry people if that's against their teachings, but if we decide to recognise same-sex marriage in a registry office then so be it."
Clarence Valley LGBTIQ Inter-Agency member Madeleine Gallagher said it was excellent to see the people of Ireland able to vote on marriage equality, and agreed it should happen here.
"I was surprised at how emotional I felt when Ireland said yes, and how sad I was we haven't been given that opportunity," she said. "Obviously I'd vote in favour of marriage equality."
Ms Gallagher said she respected Mr Gulaptis' personal views, and was encouraged by his professional views.
"Everyone's entitled to vote the way they want."
"Come on Australia, for crying out loud. Why shouldn't we get the choice?"