Border mayors united to back marriage equality

SUPPORT ON THE BORDER: Albury mayor Kevin Mack is one of the local government leaders to put his support behind marriage equality, pictured campaigning for all true love at the 2016 Border Pride Fair.
SUPPORT ON THE BORDER: Albury mayor Kevin Mack is one of the local government leaders to put his support behind marriage equality, pictured campaigning for all true love at the 2016 Border Pride Fair.

State and council leaders across the Border have either thrown their support behind legalising same-sex marriage, or declined to reveal their opinion.

Albury mayor Kevin Mack said both the council and he personally were in favour of marriage equality and he was happy to talk to ratepayers about the decision.

“I believe it is a right of the people to determine their own destiny and future,” he said.

“We live in a democratic society and we should respect each other's beliefs.”

Federation Council administrator Mike Eden said as a father of a son with a disability, he was personally in favour of equality for all walks of life.

“Where I’m sitting, I can’t see why people of different sexual preference should be any different,” he said.

The official view of Federation Council will be left to councillors following the election.

Victoria’s oldest mayor, Wangaratta’s Ken Clarke, said he was not sure, but “would probably cast my vote in a yes fashion”.

Indigo mayor Jenny O’Connor said she was 100 per cent behind marriage equality and was appalled same-sex attracted people had been excluded so long.

“I do not think that anyone should be excluded for their sexual preferences,” she said.

“If the government does go ahead with this, I would say to everyone who feels the way I do: make sure you vote.”

Victorian Labor upper house member Jaclyn Symes said she would step up her advocacy for the “yes” vote in person and on social media.

“We should send a very strong message that we value love and commitment of all people and especially the children of LGBT couples,” she said.

Nationals MP for Euroa Steph Ryan also intended to vote in favour of marriage equality.

“I would also urge people passionate about the outcome of the vote to be respectful of other’s views,” she said.

But not all political leaders were willing to reveal where they stood on the issue.

Benambra MLA Bill Tilley, Albury MLA Greg Aplin, Greater Hume mayor Heather Wilton and Alpine mayor Ron Janas either refused to comment or said they were yet to decide.

The Border Mail acknowledged in questions to state and local government politicians that same-sex marriage was a federal issue, but was asking where other leaders stood on the decision which would impact many constituents.