Indigo Council is officially a supporter of marriage equality after voting to lead the community in fighting for a “fair go” for residents of all sexualities.
The decision was passed 5-2 at Tuesday’s meeting, led by Cr Larry Goldsworthy’s plea for councilllors to stand up as advocates for the LGBT community and show federal politicians they can do the same.
“It’s not fair to say to someone they cannot marry the person they love because they are the same sex,” he said.
“Leadership is not about doing what is always popular, it’s about doing what is right.”
After failing to hold a plebiscite, the federal government appeared unlikely to address the issue again during its three-year term.
Councillors Diane Shepheard, Sophie Price, Barb Murdoch and Jenny O’Connor supported the motion to write to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and ask the Liberal Party to hold a conscience vote on marriage equality.
Bernard Gaffney and James Trenery, members of the National and Liberal parties respectively, opposed immediate support for marriage equality on the grounds the council had not consulted the community first.
Neither discussed their personal views on same-sex marriage.
Cr Trenery said some people were already unhappy with the council’s decision to remove the prayer and national anthem from council meetings.
“We have been accused of moving to the left, running to left, and it’s starting to alienate people and I think this doesn’t help,” he said.
“We want to be open with our community and respect what they say.”
Cr Gaffney said Indigo Council would make no difference in marriage equality as a federal issue.
“To bulldoze it through the way it’s been bulldozed at the very 11th hour, we haven’t discussed it,” he said.
But Cr Shepheard said on the issue of marriage equality, most people had made up their minds.
“It doesn’t matter how much community consultation we do, we’re not going to change your mind, so this is an opportunity for us to have a conscience vote and, to some extent, it’s going to set an example for what we want to happen in the federal arena,” she said.
“A lot of my community agree with this.”
A headline in Tuesday’s The Border Mail incorrectly stated the motion was raised by Cr O’Connor, not Cr Goldsworthy.
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