Senator David Leyonhjelm is set to introduce his same-sex marriage bill today, with hopes that it will force the Coalition to allow a conscience vote on the matter for its MPs, Fairfax Media has reported.
The Liberal Democrat’s Freedom to Marry Bill will redefine marriage as “the union between two people”, rather than “a man and a woman” as is currently worded in the Marriage Act.
“I think that people ought to have the freedom to choose their own path,” Leyonhjelm told the senate.
“When the law says that gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans and intersex people cannot marry … a major choice is being closed off.”
Senator Leyonhjelm also took aim at opponents of marriage equality, by saying that, “support for marriage equality… [does not] open the door to bigamy, polyamory, or any of the other dire consequences that some people predict will be the eventual outcome”.
— Michael Barnett (@mikeybear) November 25, 2014
Australian Marriage Equality’s deputy director Ivan Hinton-Teoh told The Australian: “Our work with the Coalition gives us hope this bill will lead to a Coalition free vote and win over key government figures because of it’s emphasis on individual freedom.”
“We call on Tony Abbott to allow a Coalition free vote because that would be consistent with Coalition values and tradition.”
However, the Australian Christian Lobby was quick to attack the private members bill, and managing director Lyle Shelton claiming same-sex marriage “abolishes a child’s most basic freedom – to be loved, known and raised by her or his biological parents”.
“The real conscience issue here is whether or not a child has a right to their biological mother and father,” Shelton said.
ACL arguments against the Leyonhjelm same-sex marriage bill: Think of the children and the slippery slope to polygamy. They’ve given up. — Rob Stott (@Rob_Stott) November 25, 2014
In July, a Crosby/Textor poll found that 72 per cent of Australians support same-sex marriage, and 77 per cent of Australians think Coalition MPs should be allowed a conscience vote on the matter.
Sen. Leyonhjelm’s #marriageequality bill will not be voted on until next yr. Be interesting to see if numbers have shifted inside Coalition.
— Stephanie Peatling (@srpeatling) November 25, 2014
According to AME’s database, the following Coalition MPs senators would be expected to vote favour of marriage equality if a conscience vote were granted to them: Teresa Gambaro, Member for Brisbane; Kelly O’Dwyer, Member for Higgins; Wyatt Roy, Member for Longman; Malcolm Turnbull, Member for Wentworth; NSW Senator Arthur Sinodinos; and SA Senator Simon Birmingham.
It is unknown how following Coalition MPs and senators would vote: Tony Pasin, Member for Barker; Brett Whiteley, Member for Braddon; Melissa Price, Member for Durack; Mal Brough, Member for Fisher; Matt Williams, Member for Hindmarsh; Jason Wood, Member for La Trobe; Eric Hutchinson, Member for Lyons; Barnaby Joyce, Member for New England; Kevin Hogan, Member for Page; Christian Porter, Member for Pearce; Lucy Wicks, Member for Robertson; Qld Senators George Brandis, Barry O’Sullivan, James McGrath and Matthew Canavan; SA Senator Anne Ruston; and WA Senator Linda Reynolds.
Words by Kemal Atlay
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