Kiama council pledges support for marriage equality

Ann Sudmalis.
Ann Sudmalis.

VALENTINE’S Day was the setting for Kiama council to join with neighbouring Shoalhaven in supporting marriage equality. 

Kiama councillor Neil Reilly.

Kiama councillor Neil Reilly.

At Tuesday night’s meeting, Kiama councillors unanimously passed a motion from councillor Neil Reilly in support of marriage equality. 

The motion was that in order to assist Federal Member for Gilmore Ann Sudmalis “with the assurance of community feeling she requires”, Kiama council joins other local governments who publicly support marriage equality, and that the council place on record that a plebiscite on the issue is unnecessary and a waste of money. 

“I recognise that this is a federal government issue; however our Federal member has stated that she is uncertain of the Gilmore electorate’s feelings on the matter of equality in marriage,” Cr Reilly wrote in the business papers.

“To assist Ann in this matter, I would ask all councillors to use their knowledge of their constituents to assist her in determining her vote with clarity.”

Shoalhaven City Council recently showed their support for marriage equality. A motion for the council to publicly support marriage equality was carried earlier this year. Shoalhaven Mayor Amanda Findley addressed Kiama council on the matter at Monday’s public access. 

Cr Reilly believed the two councils being united on the issue sent a clear message. 

“Our councillors are the closest form of government to the people, so I think Ann Sudmalis can’t ignore that the vast majority of people in our area are very supportive of equality of marriage,” he said. “Every single (constituent) that I have spoken to thinks that it’s very silly that it’s taken so long to come about.”

Marriage Equality Gilmore hosted a public forum in Kiama on Sunday. 

“I believe they’re (local councils) listening to their community, they’re connected to their community and they’re conveying the message and feeling of the community,” Dawn Hawkins, Marriage Equality Gilmore spokesperson said. 

Ms Sudmalis said that “local councils can make motions on federal issues as much as they like. It’s effectively the opinion of the councillors”.

“This does not truly reflect the whole of their electorate, unless they’ve done a survey of their whole municipality. And in this case they have not.”