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Australian Parliament now only one vote short on gay marriage

Australian Parliament now only one vote short on gay marriage

The campaign for marriage equality in Australia believes it is just one MP short of securing the passage of a same-sex marriage bill in the House of Representatives and that it already has the support of the majority in the Senate.

A day after Labor Opposition leader Bill Shorten announced he would be moving a bill to legalize same-sex marriage, Labor MP Anna Burke announced she too was now a supporter of the reform.

In a statement released earlier today Burke said that the mood had changed in her electorate since she first sought their views on the issue in 2010 and that there was now wide support for the reform.

‘I believe that the ALP should have a binding vote on this matter,’ Burke said.

‘Marriage equality should be endorsed by our Parliament and our community as it is a fundamental right that everyone should be equal before the law and marriage is a legally binding contract enacted under law.

‘My marriage will only be enhanced by all those who seek to publicly declare their union, children will only benefit from their parents being able to publicly declare their union and our society will only be enhanced by removing discrimination.’

Burke was not the only Australian lawmaker to announce their support for the reform today – a spokesperson for Palmer United Party Senator Dio Wang told BuzzFeed that, ‘The Senator does not support further delay. The legislation should be passed immediately.

Senator Wang’s vote only adds to what Australian Marriage Equality (AME) believes is a slim majority in the Senate for the reform.

Adding to hopes that reform may come soon are comments by Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott from today’s Question Time in the House of Representatives.

Abbott is personally opposed to same-sex marriage but criticized Labor leader Shorten for trying to own any reform on the issue by moving forward with his bill.

‘If our parliament were to make a big decision on a matter such as this it ought to be owned by the parliament and no particular party,’ Abbott said.

AME national director Rodney Croome encouraged lawmakers who support the reform to work together across the political divide for the reform and is hopeful that Abbott’s comments may indicate he may finally allow his colleagues a conscience vote on the issue.

‘The way forward on marriage equality is for supporters to work across party lines, so we welcome the Prime Minister giving the green light to cross-party co-operation,’ Croome said.

‘But a precondition for cross-party co-operation is a Coalition a free vote, so we ask the Prime Minister to move for one as soon as possible.’