Liberal party set for free vote on marriage equality?
Advocates are suggesting the Coalition may be set to allow party members a free vote on marriage equality, following news that independent senator David Leyonhjelm plans to introduce a marriage equality bill to parliament in a matter of weeks.
Previously Leyonhjelm (pictured, above) had gone on the record to say he would not introduce his draft legislation until the Liberal party allowed its members a conscience vote.
Leyonhjelm’s announcement that he plans to introduce the bill have caused pundits to suggest the Liberal party may be backing away from its opposition to gay marriage.
Fairfax media reports senior members of the Liberal party asked David Leyonhjelm to introduce his draft bill to legalise same-sex marriage, suggesting the government want the proposed legislation on the notice paper so it has time to scrutinise the wording of the bill.
Senator Leyonhjelm said: ''I have heard from Liberal senators that a conscience vote is highly likely.''
Leyonhjelm urged Liberal party members to back the push for same sex marriage, suggesting the issue was not going to go away, nor was he. "If it doesn't get through, I have six years to poke them,'' he said. ''At some point they will see I am not going to give up on this,” he told Fairfax media.
Australian Marriage Equality (AME) national director Rodney Croome is urging supporters of the reform to sign an online petition calling for a conscience vote.
"Marriage equality has strong support across the community, with 72% support according to the Crosby/Textor research, and a conscience vote would allow this to be reflected in parliament,” Croome said.
"Because support for a conscience vote is so strong we have launched a new petition allowing Australians to have their voices heard on the issue, which we will present to the Prime Minister."