ANOTHER week where the question of same-sex marriage has been debated at a federal and state level has only proven - yet again - that it’s time for the issue to be taken out of the hands of politicians.
The three Nationals MPs representing the state seats of Orange, Bathurst and Dubbo made it clear they would not support any changes to the Marriage Act, saying they believed marriage should be between a man and a woman.
That’s their right, and they can only respond according to their own values. The problem is, they do not - and cannot - know if they speak for the majority of their constituents, and only a referendum could solve that dilemma.
At a federal level, the contribution of Liberal senator Cory Bernardi - linking same-sex marriage to polygamy and bestiality - were as juvenile as they were offensive.
Such scaremongering is the laziest form of debate and has no place in our federal Parliament. No-one in this debate is advocating legalising polygamy or bestiality, and Senator Bernardi knows that. It was a disgraceful thing to say.
So as discomfiting as the idea of voting on the rights of others might be, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that a referendum of the definition of marriage might be the only way to finally settle this debate.
And given both supporters and opponents of same-sex marriage believe they speak for the silent majority, you would assume both sides would welcome have the issue put to a vote.
It’s a shame we may have to go down this path, though.
Society has long accepted that same-sex couples should be afforded the same financial and living rights as heterosexual couples, and it should follow that they also be extended the same rights to marry.
And this is not an issue of religion, it is a question of law.
Heterosexual couples can already conduct wedding services in registry offices and gardens across the country where there is no mention of God, and these marriages have the same legal recognition as marriages conducted in a full Catholic mass.
Surely the world wouldn’t end if same-sex couples were granted the same rights.