‘Don’t fund’ gay marriage campaigns

A LEADING gay marriage support group says the Federal Government should not spend taxpayer money on either the "for" or "against" arguments about marriage equality.

Australian Marriage Equality chairman Alex Greenwich urged Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to reconsider providing fighting funds for the "Yes" and "No" campaigns if plans for the plebiscite go ahead later this year or early in 2017.

Mr Greenwich said he was worried the government was already facing a mooted $160 million plebiscite bill.

"We did not ask for a plebiscite, but if one is imposed upon us we do not think taxpayers should pay for the respective campaigns," Mr Greenwich said.

"$160 million is expensive enough and we don't think it's right that more public money is added to the cost of a plebiscite.

"Australian Marriage Equality does not believe we need public funding for Australians to be able to have a conversation about equality for all."

Meanwhile, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has asked Mr Turnbull to introduce legislation to change the Marriage Act instead of holding the public vote on the issue.

"This plebiscite will hurt people," Mr Andrews wrote in a letter to the PM.

"It will legitimise a hateful debate which will subject LGBTI Australians to publicly-funded slurs and denigration, further alienating a proud community who have fought so hard against prejudice for so long."

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