Marriage equality advocates have called on Tony Abbott to allow a conscience vote on marriage equality after he declared yesterday that ‘democratic political leaders have got to be conscious of the mood of the people.’
Recent polling found that 79 percent of Australians want politicians to have a conscience vote on the issue of same-sex marriage but Abbott is continuing to deny his MP a free vote on the issue despite a majority of his own family members supporting reform on the issue.
‘With the latest opinion polls showing strong support for marriage equality and overwhelming support for a conscience vote, we call on Mr Abbott to live up to his own principles and allow Coalition members a free vote on this important, urgent and popular reform,’ Australian Marriage Equality national director Rodney Croome said.
Abbott had been speaking about the Opposition’s decision to scuttle the Government’s proposal to increase taxpayer funding for elections campaigns.
Abbott’s sister is a marriage equality supporter in a long term lesbian relationship and two of his daughters have gone public with their support for reform on the issue.
In recent weeks more of Abbott’s MPs have been going public about their support for reform on the issue.
Earlier this week Liberal MP Teresa Gambaro wrote to her constituents declaring she had been ‘greatly moved’ by the personal stories of same-sex couples and their families and that she would be advocating for a Coalition conscience vote.
Gambaro’ office wrote that she ‘is greatly moved by some of the personal insights that people in this situation have shared with her and understand that their desire for a traditional marriage to the person they love is genuine and heartfelt.’
‘Ms Gambaro can advise that she will advocate within the Coalition for a conscience vote on Same Sex Marriage.’
Gambaro’s comments follow on the heels of Liberal MP Kelly O’Dwyer and Liberal-National MP Wyatt Roy declaring their support on the issue.
‘I believe that changing the Marriage Act by extending the definition to include same-sex couples will not lessen the status of families,’ O’Dwyer said in late March.
‘On the contrary, I think that it will strengthen it by building stronger bonds of commitment between two people regardless of gender and sexual orientation.’
‘I support the right of same-sex couples to have their loving and committed relationships recognized in state-sanctioned marriage,’ Roy said on March 24.
Tony Abbott has ruled out a conscience vote on the issue before Australia goes to the polls in September but has said it will be up to his party room following the election whether there is a free vote.