GET WITH THE TIMES: Is same-sex marriage really going to impact you that much?
GET WITH THE TIMES: Is same-sex marriage really going to impact you that much? Renee Pilcher

OPINION: Same-sex marriage debate is a waste

A PLEBISCITE on same-sex marriage is looking increasingly likely to bring out some of the uglier aspects of society.

Unsurprisingly we're seeing reports the controversial public vote will now be pushed back until February next year.

Whether that's the influence of the far-right or hesitation at sending the voting public back to the polls again so soon remains unknown.

What is clearer is that by putting it to a public vote we have created a vessel for what could become some pretty extreme vitriol.

We've already had flyers disseminated at a national football game about the pitfalls of same-sex marriage.

The creation of a new stolen generation among some of the archaic claims made within the flyer.

Children deserving a mother and a father and two men being unable to replace a child's mother were other lines in the flyer reportedly handed out to unsuspecting footy fans.

While it was a relatively tame way of spreading a pretty foul message, it's probably just the start and it's fair to assume we're going to see some much more public, vocal and offensive methods of spreading the message by the anti-marriage equality crowd.

But would we be better served dealing with the issue through our Parliament? I'm not so sure.

One would hope a conscience vote would enable the legislation to be passed, the issue resolved and it all put behind us relatively quickly.

But we all know there are the likes of Cory Bernardi in this world who make things much more complex, particularly within the LNP when it comes to passing such 'progressive' legislation.

The other argument is that a public vote is the only way to show our elected MPs whether or not there is overwhelming support for marriage equality and thereby guide their decision.

It's a hell of a lot of money to be spent on a plebiscite for a matter that really, when we boil it down, won't have a major impact on the majority of Australian lives.

That's the hardest part for me to wrap my head around.

We're prepared to spend almost $200 million on a public vote which has no legal implications just to convince the ultra-conservatives to bring their way of thinking into the 21st century.

What a waste.

Why not just amend the legislation to recognise same-sex marriage, enable people to marry whichever gender they choose and move on to issues of much broader significance?

An argument for the protection of traditional marriage is moot.

Take a look at the divorce and domestic violence rates in this country.

By delaying and dancing around same-sex marriage all we do is deny freedom to some and damage the futures of many.

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