A Member of Parliament (MP) from Tony Abbott’s socially conservative Liberal party in Australia has opened up about his support for same-sex marriage.
‘I support the right of same-sex couples to have their loving and committed relationships recognized in state-sanctioned marriage,’ said 23-year-old Wyatt Roy, parliament’s youngest MP.
However Roy is currently barred from voting for same-sex marriage legislation because Abbott is not allowing opposition Liberal-National coalition MPs a conscience vote on the matter.
But Abbott and other Liberal politicians have suggested that they will discuss allowing a conscience vote in the party room after the general election on 14 September.
Roy said he supports a conscience vote and he will ‘work through the issues and concerns’ of his electorate in Longman, rural Queensland.
‘Wyatt Roy is representative of the strong support for marriage equality among young Australians as well as the next generation of Liberals,’ said Australian Marriage Equality national director Rodney Croome.
‘Mr Roy joins the Young Liberals and other future leading Liberals like Kelly O’Dwyer and Simon Birmingham in supporting marriage equality, placing increased pressure on Tony Abbott to allow a conscience vote on the issue.’
Roy first voiced his support for marriage equality on Australia’s current affairs TV show The Project on Monday during discussion about former prime minister Kevin Rudd pro-same-sex-marriage announcement.
‘Kevin Rudd’s support for marriage equality is proving a game changer,’ said Croome, ‘especially in Queensland, with Wyatt Roy, as well as Mr Rudd’s Liberal challenger, Bill Glasson, both coming out in support of the reform in recent days.’
Like Rudd, Roy voted against a same-sex marriage bill in parliament last September.
Greens MP Adam Bandt is pushing for another vote on same-sex marriage on 6 June, but this has not been confirmed.
A mechanism on Australian Marriage Equality’s website allows Australian voters to see where their political representatives stand on the issue.