Lake Macquarie marriage equality push branded 'a political stunt'

SUPPORTER: Councillor Barney Langford argues the council should take a stance supporting marriage equality in principle. Not all his colleagues agree.
SUPPORTER: Councillor Barney Langford argues the council should take a stance supporting marriage equality in principle. Not all his colleagues agree.

LAKE Macquarie councillors will be asked to pledge the council’s support for marriage equality in a move that has been blasted as a “political stunt”. 

Councillor Barney Langford put forward a notice of motion as part of the agenda for Monday evening’s meeting.

In his submission the Labor councillor said it was a chance for the council to apply its vision statements for the area, namely that Lake Macquarie “strive to be fair for all”. 

“From time to time opportunities arise for council to translate this general commitment to social justice into specific responses,” Cr Langford said in the notice of motion.

“As the governing body of a large regional city, Lake Macquarie City Council… can use its position of leadership in the community to promote equal treatment at law for all citizens.”

The recommendation of Cr Langford’s motion calls for the council to support marriage equality in principle, ensure its future policies and plans are consistent with that idea and ensure its contributions to wider policy development reflects its position. 

Liberal councillors on Monday issued a statement about the motion in which Cr Nick Jones expressed disappointment in the Labor call. 

““It is totally inappropriate for the Labor party to be moving a politically motivated motion regarding marriage equality – this is a federal government matter, and has no place being debated in a local government chamber,” Cr Jones said. 

“As a gay man, in a loving and committed same sex relationship, I am a big supporter of marriage equality – however the people of Lake Macquarie will have the opportunity to put their views forward in the upcoming postal plebiscite.

“Local government is not the place to have this debate.” 

Pelican boat ramp is also on the agenda at Monday night’s meeting. 

Councillors are expected to identify the existing location as their preferred site, begin planning for the replacement and authorise almost $350,000 from the community land reserve to partially fund the new ramp.