Australia’s Liberal Democrat Senator David Leyonhjelm will give a second-reading speech on his same-sex marriage private member’s bill next week, calling on Prime Minister Tony Abbott to allow a conscience vote within the Liberal Party.
Leyonhjelm said that while he’s “not gay” and isn’t too interested in marriage, he believes Prime Minister Tony Abbott, a staunch opposer of same-sex marriage, should consider changing the name of his Liberal Party if it can’t support a liberal movement such as marriage equality.
The Liberal Democrat Senator recalled Abbott’s pre-election promise that the subject of marriage equality would be “a matter for the post-election party room”.
Retired Senator Sue Boyce told Fairfax Media last November that it was a promise that had to be kept.
“If there were attempts by anybody to block the debate being had it would feed into an image of a government being tricky and breaking its promises,” she said.
Leyonhjelm told reporters this morning that he wants to “kick the debate along”.
“I am reasonably confident that if it comes to a vote on this issue, there will be a majority… very much a majority in favour,” he said.
The subject of marriage equality will be listed for debate in the party room on Thursday afternoon next week.
Senator Leyonhjelm’s Freedom to Marry Bill will change the wording of the Marriage Act from “man and a woman” to “the union of two people”.
Last month SBS reported that Leyonhjelm threatened to block government legislation unless the PM allowed a conscience vote on his bill.
In November last year, Leyonhjelm’s attempt to introduce his private member’s bill to legalise same-sex marriage failed to gain majority support.
Labor Party MPs are permitted a conscience vote on same-sex marriage, however, the Coalition has yet to come to the same position. Last year, the federal Government went to the High Court to successfully strike down ACT legislation on same-sex marriage.
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