The Australian reports:
Bill Shorten has warned young gay Australians could commit suicide over the plebiscite, as a new split emerges within the Coalition about whether to publicly fund the Yes and No cases.
The fate of the plebiscite is in Labor’s hands but the Opposition Leader has ramped up pressure on the government to drop it, introducing a private member’s bill to the House of Representatives that calls on the parliament to vote on legalising same-sex marriage.
“The idea of young people, perhaps yet to come out, seeing the legitimacy of their identity debated on the national stage, that is not an ideal which we should inflict on any citizen when we have a better path,” Mr Shorten said as he introduced his bill.
“Let me be as blunt as possible: a No campaign would be an emotional torment for gay teenagers and if one child commits suicide over the plebiscite, then that is one too many. Mr Speaker, achieving marriage equality should be an occasion for joy, a unifying moment of celebration.”
I’m sorry but this is hysterical bullshit.
I believe it would be preferable for the Australian Parliament to decide the issue, rather than a referendum (as happened in NZ), but the Coalition was re-elected on a policy of letting the public decide via referendum.
In Ireland the matter was decided by referendum. There are pros and cons to deciding by referendum, but Shorten is just getting hysterical by talking about how a referendum could lead to suicides. From all accounts the debate in Ireland was robust but respectful.
However the matter is decided, there will be a public campaign and debate. Shorten almost seems to be saying that one can not legitimately express a view against same sex marriage – which is a repulsive view. I campaigned strongly for marriage equality in NZ, but that didn’t mean I thought those who had a different view were not entitled to that view.