Anti-gay marriage candidates win Tasmania election

Despite a campaign to make local election all about marriage equality, anti-gay-marriage candidates win all three contested seats in Australian state of Tasmania

Two candidates who voted against gay marriage in last year’s Upper House vote in Tasmania won their seats in a local election yesterday. The third victor has also said she would vote against a state same-sex marriage bill.

Local gay rights campaigners and Australian marriage equality advocates were determined to make the election for three seats in Tasmania’s Upper House about same-sex marriage and the way Members of the Legislative Council (MLCs) voted on a narrowly defeated same-sex marriage bill last September.

But Liberal Vanessa Goodwin in Pembroke and independent Jim Wilkinson in Nelson, who both voted against the bill, retained their seats.

In the other electorate who went to out to vote, Montgomery, Liberal Leonie Hiscutt will take over from independent Sue Smith who retired before the election.

Hiscutt has also said that she would vote against a same-sex marriage bill.

However, Tasmanian marriage equality campaigner Rodney Croome told Gay Star News he is ‘encouraged’ by the vote.

Australian Marriage Equality has calculated that 51.4% of votes in the election were for pro-marriage-equality candidates and 48.6% were for candidates opposed to gay marriage.

‘That sends a strong message to the elected candidates that they should represent their electorates by reconsidering their opposition to marriage equality,’ said Croome.

Liberal senator for Tasmania Eric Abetz expressed concern that campaign group GetUp! came to Tasmania to advocate for marriage equality at the election.

‘It is very bad for democracy when you have a member who is limited with his spending being confronted with an organization from Sydney trying to bankroll a campaign of misinformation and the member is limited in his capacity to respond,’ said Abetz, ABC News reports.

Andrew Wilkie, independent MP for Denison in Tasmania, said he was less concerned by GetUp!’s involvement in the election than the anonymous distribution of 3,000 anti-gay flyers.

Croome said he would continue his campaign to have the same-sex marriage bill reintroduced to the Upper House, but he conceded that with the current MLCs last year’s result of 8 voting against and 6 for the bill is unlikely to change.

by Anna Leach
Source – Gay Star News