Tenterfield Council lend support to gay marriage proposal

Oct. 1, 2014, 2 p.m.
COUNCIL have taken a bold step and voted in favour of supporting a same-sex marriage equality proclamation that will be presented to the Prime Minister.

It was a contentious topic between the councillors in attendance at last Wednesday’s meeting with the vote eventually swinging five to four in favour of the recommendation.

A request had come from Byron Shire mayor Simon Richardson to support the same-sex marriage equality proclamation.

Mr Richardson said denying same sex couples equal rights to marry was discriminatory and a violation of basic human rights.

“We will be collecting Marriage Equality Proclamations from local government areas across Australia, with the intent of presenting these to the Prime Minister.

“We believe our elected leaders have a responsibility to protect the rights of all citizens,” he said.

General manager Lotta Jackson reminded councillors before their vote that “marriage is not a religious ceremony” and council were a “secular organisation”.

“Access and equity is very key in local government – I’m sure the Byron Shire did not only send this to us,” Ms Jackson said.

Councillor Blair Maxwell spoke strongly on supporting the liberties of all citizens.

“This is a very serious discussion – I would expect we provide those rights of equity to everyone.

“I fear if we don’t support this we would not be following the rules set down in our policies,” he said.

The vote has stirred controversy with some questioning the need for the discussion in a local government forum.

Pastor Jim Seymour from Tenterfield’s Presbyterian Church Family sent a letter to each councillor prior to the vote erring them on the side of caution.

“I believe that any councillor found on the side of the ledger supporting such an abominable position after votes have been counted, is exposing themselves to an uncertain future,” Mr Seymour said.

Cr Mary Leahy voted in favour of the proclamation but said she felt it was a community issue that needed to be treated as such by holding a shire-wide vote.

“I don’t know the feeling in our shire and I feel this would be a divisive issue.

“This shire however, for a rural one, is quite remarkable in its acceptance of same-sex couples.”

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3 Responses to Tenterfield Council lend support to gay marriage proposal

  1. Lisa Apostolides says:

    Hi Simon, Hoping all is well. Did you get my fb message about coming on your radio show? Best Wishes Lisa

    Date: Sat, 4 Oct 2014 04:47:49 +0000 To: energydolphin@hotmail.com

  2. Alan McGregor says:

    Is there anyone looking at replies to 2 year-old-articles? The people who are most affected by the decisions that are made should actually have the say in these issues, but the competitive nature of people surpasses the voices of the quieter less represented ones. We all like to see equality, but If I talk with gay friends about the issue of same-sex marriage, nearly all would agree there are far more concerning issues that money can go to than a plebicite or the state spending $2million on the Arap ‘study’.

    Everyone’s right for health and well-being is at stake in regional areas. More than gay marriage, something that affects many people in the Northern Rivers whether they are gay or not, is there mobility, and means of equitably accessing all one’s needs. Some people can protest for a clean environment, better access to education and health etc. but more than today’s ability to use electronin communication, it’s our regions lack of equitable public transport that forbids an equality to access the fairly good range of amenities and such in the region.

    I can arrange the rights for my significant other, and he is recognised as my carer, brother and family generally in the community, but he cannot drive. For several years, I just make it to the most essential appointments that I can, but I haven’t been to the Channon markets for about 15 years, an event I went to regularly.

    People with visual loss may not be seen that much in public, and some have given up cycling after coliding into objects…People with a range of needs won’t be able to sit in buses to places such as the coast without being to access onboard toilets. It’s very difficult or impossible that some people may be able to visit their family members or visa versa since we had daytime rail services in the eighties. I see very few people these days, especially in the ‘hinterland’.

    Lismore council elections may be more important than the elections of Kyogle, Richmond and Clarence Valley LGA for us, but at the candidate question time, I couldn’t get heard although I had written something very pertinent. This silence is reflected generally in the community. the most at need to be heard are the ones who are not seen. People with disabilities, visible ar invisible are the ones that people don’t see or hear much. I include the elderly that seem to be tucked away out of sight, although I hear about one third of people in LGA such as Byron, Tweed or Kyogle may be over 60? We can’t tell if someone has epilepsy, mental health problems etc, These are termed ‘invisible disabilities’, but many cannot drive, or shouldn’t be forced to.

    With road-side testing there will be many more people needing a proper public transport system. This, in a modern 21st century wealthy country such as Australia, is more a fundamental need than the right to use the word ‘marriage’. People today know that gay people exist, but they don’t seem aware of the inequality that a larger section of the community has. People neither know what equity means, or parochialism.

    We need to think further than our LGA, but may have to also realise that whatever state government comes to power, they will rarely care about people beyond the Greater Sydney area. Our region needs regional jurisdiction in the matters that concern us.

    The Tenterfield Council lending support to gay marriage, was similar to a Lismore candidate on Monday night basically telling people we just need to ‘get over it!’ [though not in those words]. A gay marriage is just the icing on the cake, with 19-year-old men four times more likely to die on the roads than in areas with proper public transport, I think we should look into supporting the lives of everyone in the community and then we can celebrate a gay marriage on the train.

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