LAUNCESTON City Council aldermen have voted against a motion to support marriage equality.
In the 8-3-three vote – with one alderman abstaining – the motion by Alderman Emma Williams to have the council show its support for marriage equality was convincingly lost.
Seven of the aldermen who voted against the motion stated their main reasons were because there was no community consultation or it was not an issue for local government.
Only Mayor Albert van Zetten said he could not vote for it because of his Christian beliefs.
All aldermen spoke of the numerous conversations, phone calls and emails they received over the weekend from ratepayers passionate about the issue.
Alderman Williams said as a child she was aghast to learn about the caste system of other cultures and was pretty smug that no one could tell her who could marry.
‘‘Except that’s not true – while Britain, New Zealand and the majority of the United States have legalised marriage equality, Australia trails behind and has been chastised for doing so by the UN Human Rights Commission,’’ Alderman Williams said.
She said the federal marriage legislation not only restricted marriage to a man and a woman, but also excludes any person who does not fit the arbitrary norm of ‘‘man’’ or ‘‘woman’’.
Alderman Williams told the meeting she believed there were young people taking their own lives not because of their sexuality but because of the discrimination they faced for it.
Alderman van Zetten thanked the public for the considerable interest in the issue and Alderman Williams for bringing the motion to council.
‘‘I have my beliefs, which come very much from a God that I believe in and the God that said marriage should be between a man and a woman,’’ he said.
He said if there was a federal referendum and Australia chose to recognise marriage equality, then he would accept that.
Alderman Hugh McKenzie said: ‘‘If I was voting on my personal conscious, I would vote in favour of the motion.
‘‘However today, I stand here as an elected representative and I’m voting on behalf of the ratepayers who elected me.’’
Alderman Janie Finlay said ratepayers should be consulted as to their opinion via the council’s website.