AUSTRALIA: Labor Party Leader Introduces Marriage Bill, Critics Denounce His Comment About Gay Suicide

News Corp Australia reports:

Federal Labor has introduced to parliament legislation that aims to legalise same-sex marriage in an attempt to gazump the government’s planned national vote on the issue. Opposition Leader Bill Shorten introduced a private bill on Monday, saying it was a chance for the parliament to prove its worth and fulfil its purpose.

“Today we can bring a new measure of hope and happiness to the lives of tens of thousands of Australians whose love has been denied equality under the law for too long,” he told MPs on Monday. “Why should the children of LGBTI Australians be denied the formal recognition of their parents’ relationship?”

Mr Shorten warned it was easy to take a legal right such as marriage for granted, adding Australia was lagging behind many other countries on marriage equality. “We’re falling short of our own national sense of self,” he said.

The legislation comes as a split in government ranks emerges over funding opposing campaigns for a plebiscite. Labor argues a non-binding opinion poll is a waste of taxpayer dollars because legislating is the role of parliament.

The bill’s introduction being overshadowed by Shorten’s accompanying message. From the Herald Sun, where the headline denounces his “emotional blackmail.”

“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.”

Let’s turn it around. If one Christian opponent of same-sex marriage commits suicide over Bill Shorten’s destruction of traditional marriage that will be one too many. Will Shorten now withdraw his bill? No, of course not. So let’s stop putting dangerous ideas in people’s heads and debate this proposal on the merits, shall we?

Sky News reports:

Tony Abbott’s former Chief of Staff Peta Credlin has slammed Labor leader Bill Shorten over his comments surrounding the same-sex marriage plebiscite. Ms Credlin told Sky News Mr Shorten was throwing around “uncivil” and “difficult” commentary surrounding the issue for political gain.

“Anyone who’s come from a family touched by suicide would find that offensive in the extreme. Anyone who’s got family or friends who are gay or lesbian would find that offensive in the extreme”, she said. She also offered some advice for the Turnbull government. “Where the government needs to hold Bill Shorten to account is that the Australian people, poll after poll after poll, say they want a plebiscite.”