Mount Alexander Shire councillors will decide whether to a display a rainbow flag at a council building in support of the LGBTIQ community, in response to “strong lobbying” from community groups, its mayor says.
Councillor Sharon Telford said a motion to either fly or display a flag will be voted on at a September 19 council meeting.
“There's been some strong lobbying for council to take a position on same-sex marriage and this motion is a response to that,” she said.
Macedon Ranges Shire Council recently flew a rainbow flag at its Gisborne and Kyneton council offices in support of the LGBTIQ community.
Four regional councils – Ballarat, Buloke, Strathbogie and Hepburn – are registered as same-sex marriage supporters on the Australian Marriage Equality website, while Campaspe Shire Council voted in favour of a motion supporting same-sex marriage at a recent council meeting.
The first survey papers for the same-sex marriage postal vote were mailed to voters earlier this week.
“My personal opinion is that it (having a stance on same sex marriage) is not a matter for council but that's to be debated,” said Cr Telford, adding the local health industry had been a strong lobbyer.
“Supporters of the LGBTIQ community are keen for a decision one way or another.”
Councillor Christine Henderson said she was “undecided”, but had heard strong arguments that marriage was a basic human right, and the LGBTIQ community required equality under the law.
“Council does have a responsibility for the health and wellbeing of a community, and this is where the finger points back at council,” Cr Henderson said.
Councillor Bronwen Machin said the postal survey had caused some distress within the community.
“While it’s not councils role to tell people how they should vote we need to be careful to protect people’s health and wellbeing at this time of distress,” she said.
“Personally I'll be voting yes (in the postal survey).”
The City of Greater Bendigo last week said it had no stance on the issue.
The peak body supporting Victorian councils and councillors recently threw its support behind the “yes” campaign for marriage equality, saying it is vital people take part.