Almost 200 LGBTI Community Leaders Unite In Call To Block Plebiscite

Almost 200 leading LGBTIQ Australian leaders in the arts, sport, religion, business and the community sector have called on Federal Parliament to vote down a marriage equality plebiscite.
The list includes comedian Magda Szubanski, Olympic gold medalist Matthew Mitcham, singer Foustina Agolley, actor Simon Burke, opera star Deborah Cheetham, writer Benjamin Law, radio host Julie McCrossin, Uniting Church minister Rev Peter Weeks, former Liberal candidate Kevin Eckendahl, comedian Pauline Panstdown (aka Simon Hunt), former Australian Medical Association president Kerryn Phelps, the first openly gay senior rugby player Ian Roberts and former convener of Australian Marriage Equality, Peter Furness.
The LGBTIQ community leaders have all agreed to a declaration calling for Parliament to block the plebiscite because of the damage it will do and because it is not binding. The list and declaration were published in a paid advertisement today (Monday) in the Canberra Times and will be published in a paid online ad with the Sydney Morning Herald and the Melbourne Age. The ad has been auspiced by Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), Rainbow Families and new LGBTIQ lobby group, just.equal.
PFLAG national spokesperson, Sharyn Faulkner, said,
"Australia's LGBTIQ leaders are united in their opposition to a plebiscite and in their call for parliament to vote it down."
"This reflects the views of everyday LGBTIQ Australians who overwhelmingly oppose a plebiscite under any circumstances according to a recent survey that was the largest of its kind ever conducted."
"We call on the Senate, and particularly the Labor Party, to listen to the LGBTI community and vote against a plebiscite."
Just.equal spokesperson, Ivan Hinton-Teoh said, 

"The LGBTIQ community is overwhelmingly opposed to a plebiscite, not from a fear of losing the poll, but what could be lost in the process."
"We ask parliamentarians from all parties to work together for a free vote in parliament." 
"In Parliament robust debate can occur in a way that does not divide families and communities, and does not harm LGBTIQ Australians."
"Marriage equality can be considered, debated and achieved within this term. The government should work with the opposition and cross benchers to make it so."
The Declaration says:
We are proud members of the LGBTIQ community who support marriage equality, but don't want a damaging plebiscite to get us there. We know a plebiscite will ruin lives and cause great distress for our community. There is also a significant risk that a "yes" vote will not lead directly to marriage equality because a plebiscite is not binding. We call on the parliament to reject the idea of a plebiscite and instead legislate for marriage equality now.

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