COLAC Otway Shire Council refuses to buy into Australia’s gay marriage debate.
Councillors have refused to follow the lead of the Hepburn Shire Council which voted to “call upon the Australian Parliament to amend the Marriage Act to enable same sex couples to marry”.
Colac Otway Shire councillors said their council should not debate the issue.
Councillors Stephen Hart, Lyn Russell, Frank Buchanan, Chris Smith and Geoff Higgins all said same-sex marriage was a national issue.
“There’s a range of things that ought to be national, and that is one of them,” Cr Buchanan said.
“No, because it is a personal opinion, and it has to be federal legislation or state,” Cr Russell said.
“Absolutely not, because first of all I believe we shouldn’t change the status quo, and secondly it’s a federal issue not a local government issue,” Cr Smith said.
Cr Stephen Hart said Colac Otway residents had not raised the issue with the council.
“No one has raised with me that it’s an issue that should be pursued at a local government level,” he said.
Cr Buchanan said discussing national issues at a council level was “not a way to develop policy”.
“We don’t want a patchwork of council opinion across the country, I think it would be unworkable,” he said.
Councillors Higgins and Russell said they personally supported same-sex marriage.
“I’ve got no problems with it,” Cr Higgins said.
“I’m quite for it, its personal choice, it’s their lives, it is up to the individuals involved,” Cr Russell said.
Cr Smith said he opposed same-sex marriage.
“Basically by definition marriage is between a man and a woman,” he said.
“What I’m saying is not so much about gay relationships it’s just that marriage is between a man and a woman.”
Councillors Buchanan and Stephen Hart declined to provide their personal opinion.
Cr Stuart Hart declined to comment on the issue.
The Colac Herald was unable to contact Cr Brian Crook.