WATCH: Leyonhjelm calls for marriage equality
New Liberal Democratic senator, David Leyonhjelm, has committed to introduce a bill to Parliament calling for same-sex marriage. The senator said it was not the job of governments to define relationships.
After delivering a stirring maiden speech to Parliament last week in which he said “Liberty is eroded when we are unable to marry the person of our choice, whatever their gender,” marriage equality advocates were hopeful Leyonhjelm would push for reform.
Today Leyonhjelm solidified his position, saying classical liberals have often led the charge for human rights.
“Throughout history, classical liberals have been instrumental in putting forward the case that led to the major advancements in human rights, such as the abolition of slavery and women’s suffrage. Once again it is the turn of classical liberals to step up for the benefit of gay, lesbian and transgender people,” Leyonhjelm said.
“It is not the job of governments to define relationships. For those of you who have a problem with homosexuality for some reason or another, we are not asking for your approval. I ask merely for your tolerance."
Watch Senator Leyonhjelm's speech here
Leyonhjelm concluded: “If your private life is nobody else’s business, I ask you to understand that the private life of others is none of your business, and it is simply not your role to impose your views on others. I ask that you understand that the liberties you care about should be available to everybody, and that there is no place in Australia for second class citizens.”
Marriage equality advocates have welcomed Leyonhjelm’s comments and called on "true liberals" in the Coalition to come out in favour of marriage equality.
Australian Marriage Equality deputy director, Ivan Hinton said, "Senator Leyonhjelm has highlighted how allowing same-sex couples to marry is a matter of individual freedom from undue government interference in our private lives.
"This will carry weight with Coalition members who value small government and personal freedom."
Once again advocates are calling on the Prime Minister to allow a conscience vote on the matter.