A REDLANDS group has taken up the challenge set by Bowman MP Andrew Laming that he will vote in Parliament on marriage equality according to how his electorate feels on the issue.
The group has started a petition to find out Redlanders’ views and so far most people support marriage equality.
This result is not the same as that which Mr Laming has promoted.
In June last year when asked about including same-sex marriage in his annual survey on constituents’ views, Mr Laming said: “You can’t go anywhere in a community in Australia and ask this question about the definition of same-sex marriage without getting heated responses on both sides.
“I’ve asked my electorate, every year this question and it comes back almost 50 – 50.’’
Facebook-based Redlands Residents - Your Voice on Marriage Equality spokesman Michael Burge said his petition had only just opened, with people being door-knocked in Mr Laming’s neighbourhood.
The poll was running about 20 to one in favour of marriage equality although many more signatures were needed.
Early results were not showing the kind of division Mr Laming spoke of.
“We were not met with a sense of this being a 50 – 50, red-hot topic, far from it,’’ he said. “The most passionate responses were from many who voted ‘yes’ and were keen to underline how overdue marriage equality legislation is.
“I wondered how I would feel, as an out gay man living in this community with my husband, Richard, when someone asked to sign the ‘no’ option.
“But we feel it’s important this petition offers something to everyone with an opinion either way.
“I was pleasantly surprised by the minimal ‘no’ responses and the polite, neutral way the ‘no’ petition was asked for.’’
Mr Laming said he welcomed the petition regardless of its results.
He said if the coalition was re-elected a national plebicite would be held and he would vote in Parliament according to its results.
Mr Laming declined to say what his personal view was on the issue. “I appropriate my view to the community,’’ he said.
Mr Laming said he would help both sides in their respective campaigns leading to the plebiscite in the next 12 months.
Mr Burge said polling by Crosby-Textor also did not match Mr Laming’s results.
“Nationally, support for marriage equality is at a record high, with a majority in all regions of Queensland,’’ he said.
“...Perhaps, under a new Prime Minister, and with a public vote on marriage equality in the pipeline, there has been a shift in thinking in the Redlands.”
Mr Burge’s group will co-host a workshop with Australian Marriage Equality at The Red Place, Bloomfield Street, Cleveland, on Saturday, April 9, from 10am-1pm, for anyone wanting to assist in gathering signatures.