Same sex debate to rage on says instigator

THE debate over marriage equality is set to rage in 2015 as the man behind a local government push believes more will come to the table on signing an equality proclamation.

Byron Shire mayor Simon Richardson, who is the instigator behind the equality proclamation, speaking at Vivid Sydney earlier this year.

Byron Shire mayor Simon Richardson, who is the instigator behind the equality proclamation, speaking at Vivid Sydney earlier this year.

Tenterfield Shire Council was one of the first to show their support for same sex marriage after they were contacted by Byron Shire mayor Simon Richardson in September.

Mr Richardson has put together a marriage equality proclamation which has since been sent to every council in Australia.

“Byron Shire Council supports marriage equality, and strongly believes same sex couples should have the choice to legally marry in celebration of their relationship,” Mr Richardson said.

A contentious vote to support the bill went before Tenterfield council and was successful in gaining the backing of a councillor majority.

To date over dozen councils, including Sydney City, Surf Coast, Geelong and Leichardt, have opted in favour of lending their weight to the push for equality.

“There have been a dozen around Australia, two in Perth, a swathe in Victoria, Port Douglas and Tenterfield as well a number of others,” Mr Richardson told the Star yesterday.

“It has been quite good to begin with and in the New Year we’ll consolidate more support.

“It was great to get Tenterfield on board,” he said.

The Byron mayor said a number of councils had been unresponsive while others refused to bring it in to a local government arena.

Some councils have been critical of the proclamation, citing the Federal government as the appropriate place to hold the debate but Mr Richardson said councils were awarded a unique opportunity to reach into local communities.

“The State and Federal governments have failed the community on this and it is up to local government who have the ears of the community.

“It’s not just up to politicians stuck in the last millennium or ones worrying about the polls in Western Sydney – we need to be part of the momentum,” he said.

He said the end goal was still to take the signed proclamations to the Prime Minister’s office and anticipated they would be able to gauge support levels better in six-month’s time. 

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