Updated views on same-sex marriage

A LOCAL politician will seek updated feedback from the community on the issue of same-sex marriage in the next three months after acknowledging the limitations of a survey conducted almost three years ago.

Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester said a new survey had been drafted and would be sent out if legislation regarding same-sex marriage was reintroduced in parliament coming up to the federal election.

“I will seek (the community’s) feedback before I vote in an electorate-wide survey,” Mr Chester said.

“It may sound like I am sitting on the fence, but this is a sensitive issue and needs to be given due consideration.”

Following an editorial in a Bairnsdale newspaper last month about homosexuality and marriage, The Express received overwhelmingly positive reactions to a question on its Facebook page about families with homosexual parents.

Mr Chester said given the demographics of social media users, the results were unsurprising.

“There is little doubt among younger people, the issue of same-sex marriage is less controversial and I am not surprised a social media campaign would receive strong support,” he said, acknowledging in the same vein, responses to his 2010 survey conducted through regional and rural newspapers had attracted an older audience.

“At that time, about 64 per cent of people opposed same-sex marriage, but this was only a sample; I imagine a general reading of the community’s position would get mixed results.”

He said this term, he had been strongly lobbied by people on both sides of the divide and acknowledged the community’s view was changing rapidly.

“It would be interesting to see if results (from a new survey) would be significantly different,” Mr Chester said.

“Reactions to homosexuality have moderated enormously in the last 20 years, with a greater acceptance and understanding, which I expect to continue.”

He reiterated his position on the matter was consistent and said all parliamentarians should have a conscience vote on the issue.