A COUNCILLOR has accused Wagga mayor Rod Kendall of diversion tactics for publicly backing same-sex marriage.
Paul Funnell believes Cr Kendall’s public stance is political chess play, while Cr Kendall staunchly maintains same-sex marriage is not a local government issue and that his position as a private citizen – and not as mayor of the city – is from his genuine belief that all people should have the right to marry the person of their choosing.
“I have my public opinion on it, just as Rod has a public opinion on it,” Cr Funnell said.
“What he should be concentrating on is keeping an eye on the operations of council.
“I’d prefer he concentrate on the operations of business, instead of being political and using it as a diversion tactic.”
Cr Funnell suggests Cr Kendall controversially supporting the matter is diverting attention away from “so many issues at council”, such as budget blowouts and poor governance.
But despite the accusations, Cr Funnell shares Cr Kendall’s wish to have the issue be dealt with by way of a referendum.
“I want it to go to a referendum, I don’t want the politicians to survive,” Cr Funnell said.
“I believe if it went to a referendum, the Marriage Act would remain as it is now.”
Cr Kendall shut down the accusation and reiterated same-sex marriage does not belong in the local government realm.
“This is not a council issue,” he said.
“This is not a placated issue.”
Cr Kendall remains confident the matter will be resolved at a federal level, but his frustration was the government continually stalling debate on an issue that “shouldn’t be an issue”.
Cr Kendall said Cr Funnell’s comments on the operations of council related to staff and that he stood by the decisions of his fellow councillors.
“I support all decisions council makes and I certainly don’t diverge from those decisions,” he said.
“I absolutely support the decisions made by the majority.”
Parents and Friends of Lesbians And Gays applauded Cr Kendall, with vice president Sarah Adcock telling the Advertiser on Friday his public stance was a positive step forward for the community. A poll on the Advertiser’s website garnered close to 3000 votes, with 58 per cent of respondents supporting gay marriage at the time of publication.
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