An MP in the gay capital of Australia has said that he will vote against same-sex marriage when a bill on the issue reaches the House of Representatives.
Chris Bowen, Labor MP for McMahon in west Sydney, said that he made the decision not to support a change in Australian marriage law to allow same-sex couples to wed after meeting with advocates on both sides of the argument.
‘The issue of same-sex marriage is a highly emotive one and has received considerable attention in our community for some months as part of a national debate,’ Bowen said as reported by the Fairfield City Champion.
‘During this time I have met with strong advocates of both positions from within my electorate and also more broadly. In addition, many constituents have taken the time to put their views to me, whether in person or via email. I appreciate the thoughtful approach that many have taken with regards to this debate.’
Gay marriage advocate and McMahon resident Geoff Thomas said he was disappointed with his MP's decision.
‘Chris Bowen promised a formal consultation of his electorate but instead he's been spooked by a handful of church letter drives,’ said Thomas who became a prominent advocate for his gay son’s right to marriage after questioning leader of the opposition on the issue on TV in 2010.
‘Polls in the seat of McMahon show at least 55% of voters either support marriage equality or aren't fussed, so clearly Mr Bowen is responding to a vocal minority,’ said Australian Marriage Equality’s Alex Greenwich.
Last month a committee of MPs from all major parties published an House of Representatives inquiry into legalizing same-sex marriage. MPs will be asked to vote on two same-sex marriage bills that are before parliament later this year.