The Augusta Margaret River Shire council has announced its support of Australian marriage equality after a unanimous vote was taken during Wedneday night’s council meeting in Augusta.
In a motion raised by Cr Mike Smart and seconded by Cr Peter Lane, the ‘Yes’ vote was overwhelmingly positive.
“It was particularly important to me, I have five children and in the last couple of years one of my daughters has come out as gay,” Cr Smart told the Mail.
”As a parent you want the best for your children, in life and in love, and you want them to be able to have the choice to get married if they wish.
“I didn’t expect to get emotional when talking about the issue but I guess when it is so close to home, you can’t help but feel strongly about it.”
Cr Smart said it was unfortunate the debate had raised some negative and hurtful comments.
“It should never have come to that,” he said.
“It’s a surprising way to spend a very large sum of money and I think it has stirred up some particularly nasty sentiments that are just not needed.”
According to Shire President Ian Earl, the council vote was “more than unanimous, it was with acclamation.”
“I have never seen so many smiles on faces at a council meeting, to be honest,” Mr Earl said.
“I always knew it was going to come up, there has been talk of it around for a while and I think we were waiting for it to be brought to the table.
“Now that it has, I am exceptionally pleased that this motion has passed and that the Shire of Augusta Margaret River can throw its support behind such an important issue.”
Mr Earl said all councillors were passionate in their support of the motion and most spoke on the importance of recognition of same sex marriage.
“I meet a lot of people around the place and I can tell you now, I have not met one person who has been against it in the region,” he said.
He also encouraged all residents to cast their vote despite frustrations with the postal ballot process.
“I would urge everyone to be quick and return their ballots in the mail, so that the government can get on with doing what they need to do and spend money where it needs to be spent.
“Hopefully a decision can be made before the end of the year.
“Wouldn’t it make a great Christmas present for those people in our Shire who are waiting for this legislation to the passed?
“It won’t make a lick of difference to many, but for those LGBT people and their families in our community, I hope we can get a result before the end of the year.”