The Australian’s editorial (“Exercising a democratic right”, 27/7) defends Chris Bowen’s intention to vote against marriage equality, on the grounds that MPs should always vote according to majority opinion in their local electorates. This is disingenuously naive: they must also consider the broad national view, their party’s policy, informed opinion, and their own knowledge and belief. Should Southern U.S. Congress members have voted against repealing race laws simply because most of their constituents were rednecks? Sometimes leaders should lead.

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