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Christians protest outside Tony Abbott’s office


Protestors urging Tony Abbott to “hold the line” on same sex marriage held a rally outside the leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbott’s electorate office on Saturday.

“Tony Abbott has had the courage to this point in time to hold the line, by refusing a conscious vote for Coalition members,” rally co-ordinator Mary-Louise Fowler told Eternity. “But he is not promising the coalition will not get a conscience vote after this election. We are asking him to hold the line.”

While the ALP allowed its members to vote anyway they chose (a “conscience vote”) when same sex marriage was last debated in Federal Parliament, Tony Abbott as Leader of the Opposition insisted that Coalition members should vote to maintain traditional marriage on the grounds of a Coalition promise at the 2010 poll to resist change to the definition of marriage.

Mr Abbott has not repeated the promise at this year’s election. Instead in April this year he told reporters: “Our position, my position going into the next election is that what our policy is on this will be matter for the post-election party room.” However, in an interview with The Age in May, Mr Abbott predicted that a “strong majority in the Coalition party room will remain opposed to any change”, also suggesting it is not a must-address issue for the Coalition: “I don’t think anyone should expect that this is necessarily going to come up in the next Parliament.”

Mary-Louise Fowler is not so sure of the Coalition numbers: “I don’t know the numbers in the Coalition and many of them have not declared their position”. This is complicated by the likelihood of many new Coalition MPs in the parliament after the election.

“This is about the next generation”, Warwick Marsh of Dads4kids who also spoke at the rally, told Eternity. “Our children are our future—and children have a biological right to their mother and their father. Redefining marriage will destroy this right.”

While seeking a stronger position from the Coalition, the protestors reject the ALP’s policy even more strongly.

In calling the rally, Gerard Calilhanna of the National Marriage Coalition stated, “Mr Rudd has betrayed the families of Australia with his declared intention to bring forward a Bill to suppress marriage and replace it with homosexual ‘marriage’ within the first 100 days of a re-elected Labor Government. We call upon the ALP to reverse its anti-marriage policy at the next National Conference and for the Coalition to continue to support marriage, rejecting moves to a conscience vote. Our children deserve better.”

The ‘Hold The Line’ marriage rally was not large. “There were 50 of us-it was not very big but it was colourful,” Mary-Louise Fowler told Eternity. “People came up to us and were amazed at our audacity in putting our point of view.” But a rally of groups expected to vote conservatively, demonstrating outside the leader of the conservative Coalition should raise eyebrows. Despite the presence of two camera crews at the rally it has not received any mainstream media coverage as far as Eternity is aware.

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