The leader of the opposition in the Australian state of Tasmania has announced that he will not allow his MPs a free conscience vote on gay marriage.
The announcement from Liberal leader Will Hodgman means the ruling Labor Party lead by Premier Lara Giddings will need all ten Labor MPs and the five Green MPs to pass gay marriage legislation.
Hodgman said that marriage should be between a man and a woman, and all ten Liberal MPs in Tasmania agreed on this, reported ABC.
‘We’ve got a position, it's stated clearly and it's based on our view that the Commonwealth definition of marriage should apply in Tasmania,’ Hodgman said.
Premier Giddings wants Tasmania to be the first state to legalize gay marriage in Australia, as she announced at the Labor Party conference last Saturday. She said Hodgman’s position is cowardly.
‘If the entire Liberal Party is united against marriage equality, as Mr Hodgman claims, then why not grant a free vote on the issue?’ Giddings said.
Spokesperson for Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group, Rodney Croome, said Hodgmen is ‘putting prejudice ahead of equality’ and obstructing the economic boost that would come to the state from gay marriage.
‘The Liberals can't expect to be taken seriously as sound economic managers when they oppose, en bloc, a reform that will cost nothing, do no harm to anyone and generate hundreds of jobs for Tasmanians,’ Croome said.