On Monday, former NSW Premier and Federal President of the Liberal Party, Nick Greiner, announced he is the patron for the Liberal/National Party Yes campaign for next month’s same-sex marriage postal survey.
The #LibsNatsYes campaign launched on Sunday with an ad showing conservative voters offering their reasons for voting Yes. The campaign is urging Liberal and National's voters to share their own reasons for supporting marriage equality and to go out and campaign for the reform.
So far Education Minister Simon Birmingham, Financial Services Minister Kelly O'Dwyer and former Howard government minister Amanda Vandstone have joined Senator Dean Smith and Greiner in campaigning for the Yes vote.
In an interview with Fairfax media, Greiner revealed a very personal reason for his long-standing support for marriage equality.
“I have two kids, one of whom is in a model of a traditional marriage, one of whom is in a model of a same-sex relationship.”
“I don’t see how in heaven’s name we can ask their kids to think it’s acceptable that one partnership is inferior to the other."
“I don’t see why my grandchildren should be subject to a different state or government view of their parents’ relationship."
“This is a classic conservative issue, both in the sense of being pro-marriage, and a Liberal issue in terms of being about freedom of choice.”
In an opinion piece for The Australian newspaper published on Monday, Greiner outlined the reasons conservatives should vote Yes in the postal survey and harshly criticised Tony Abbott and the No campaign.
“We should not be distracted by red herrings in this debate. We are discussing who can and who can’t get married under Australian law.”
“Religious freedoms will be assured if this change is made, just as they are today. The deliberate conflating of issues only happens when people know they cannot win an argument on its merits. Conflation should be called out for what it is, a debating device,” he wrote.
“Widening marriage will deliver stronger families and communities. More commitment and responsibility in our society will be the dividend of a Yes vote.”
“Allowing same-sex couples to marry is not just a matter of law, it’s also a matter of heart and soul.”
“But Liberals should also recognise that all great institutions such as marriage evolve all the time. As the conservative doyen Edmund Burke said: “A state without the means of some change is without the means of its conservation.” Marriage is not the same as it was a century ago. The Marriage Act has been changed 20 times since it was introduced by the Menzies government in 1961.”
“Today, more than a billion people live in countries that have embraced the freedom to marry for all their citizens. Britain, the US, New Zealand and Canada are often compared to Australia. Each of these nations in the “Anglosphere” now permits same-sex marriage.”
“In these countries, as well as Catholic Spain, Ireland and Argentina, the religious celebration of marriage has also been protected.”
“The experience in these countries has been that no one has become more gay, or less married, and the achievement of the reform has been a unifying moment for people across the political spectrum.”
“If you believe in the institution of marriage, if you believe in individual responsibility and all Australians being able to realise their full potential without government interference, then please join the growing number of Liberals and Nationals campaigning for a Yes vote.”
“Not only will a Yes vote be a vote for our friends, family members and colleagues in loving and committed same-sex relationships, it will also be a Yes vote for our nation’s values of a fair go.”
“Rather than tying ourselves in knots over whether same-sex couples can get married, let them tie the knot and we can move forward together.”