O'Dwyer 'evolves' on marriage equality
Marriage equality advocates have congratulated federal Liberal MP Kelly O'Dwyer for announcing her support for same-sex marriage.
The Member for Higgins, O'Dwyer, yesterday spoke in Parliament of her support for marriage equality, saying she was "comfortable with the idea".
''I believe that changing the Marriage Act by extending the definition to include same-sex couples will not lessen the status of families. 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," O'Dwyer said.
''There will be some people in my own family who will be disappointed with my personal position on this subject because they have a sincere view that marriage is an institution between a man and a woman," she continued.
"There will be others in my family, though, whose own ability to marry is predicated on such a change.''
Australian Marriage Equality national director Rodney Croome said he and other advocates had met with O'Dwyer a number of times and said, "her heart and mind have continued to open to support equality for gay and lesbian Australians."
"Her position is reflective of her electorate, and further demonstrates the growing support amongst coalition members," Croome said.
"This also highlights the need for Tony Abbott to allow coalition MPs a free vote on a reform a clear majority of Australians want."
O'Dwyer said the Coalition had not yet debated what position they would take to the next election, but opposition leader Tony Abbott has consistently denied a conscience vote to Coalition MPs on the grounds that it went against their 2010 election promise to support marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
Croome also said O'Dwyer's support put pressure on the Prime Minister to change her views on same-sex marriage, to which she is currently opposed.
"If Barack Obama and Kelly O'Dwyer can evolve on marriage equality during an election year so can Julia Gillard," Croome said.