SAME-SEX HEAT ON CANDIDATES

WITH Noosa Council refusing to comment on marriage equality, local LGBTIQ advocates are now turning their attention to the recently announced local government election candidates.

To date, council candidate and Greens Party member Aaron White has announced in a Facebook post he will move a motion for the council CEO to “pen a letter of support” for same-sex marriage.

Mr White said he had a “productive” meeting Robin Bristow and other members of the LGBTI community where they discussed marriage equality, discrimination and other “matters of interest”.

“It was agreed the gay community provided a brilliant diversity to Noosa and is a valuable, underestimated contributor to our tourism economy,” Mr White’s post read.

“The issue of Noosa Council’s refusal to sign a simple letter of support for marriage equality was raised and I made a commitment that should I be elected to Noosa Council in the future, I would happily propose or second a motion for the CEO to pen a letter of support for their campaign.

“If this action is somehow in breach of Noosa Council’s current Social Policy, then the policy must be amended to align with the times. Of course this would also reflect the Social Justice policy of the Greens.”

Council candidate and president of the Noosa Shire Residents and Ratepayers Association (NSRRA) Brian Stockwell has also lent his support to the campaign.

Mr Stockwell announced his support in a Facebook post on his page Noosa Coast and Country Campaign, stating he believed Noosa was a diverse and inclusive community and more needed to be done to recognise the contribution LGBTIQ people made to the local community.

But Mr Stockwell said he saw support for marriage equality as part of a broader need for council to develop a more pro-active social inclusion policy.

Local marriage equality advocate and member of the Sunshine Coast Rainbow Network Alex Baker said although most residents were kind and welcoming to those of different races, cultures and sexual orientations, a few “bad apples” had a significant impact on the livability of the region for minorities.

“Council has an important role to play in creating a welcoming culture,” she said.

“Instead, Noosa Council’s obstinacy on this issue implicitly endorses the view it’s OK to treat the minority members of this community as second-class citizens. The negative effect on vulnerable, gay teens is particularly troubling.”

Ms Baker said she hoped the support from council candidates was a start for all councillors and candidates to “find the courage of their convictions and create a climate of support for social inclusion and marriage equality”.

“The Noosa LGBTI community and our supporters will be taking a close interest in the 2016 local government election. We’ll be encouraging other candidates to speak out on this issue,” she said.

View original article in Noosa Today: http://noosa.starcommunity.com.au/stories/2015-12-02/same-sex-heat-on-ca...