Tanya Plibersek calls for coalition support for marriage equality bill
Deputy Labor leader Tanya Plibersek has implored Coalition ministers to add their voice to allow a conscience vote on gay marriage.
Plibersek made the plea in a letter which has been sent to Coalition MPs. The letter, obtained by The Australian, says she implores Coalition MPs to co-sponsor a bill to allow gay marriage and asks them to lobby for their party to allow a conscience vote.
In the letter, Ms Plibersek says she is “seeking both your support for the bill and asking for you to consider co-sponsoring the proposed bill”.
The letter follows Plibersek’s announcement last week that she and the Labor caucus were planning to present a new Marriage Equality Bill to Federal Parliament. In the letter, Plibersek explains the new Bill saying it repeals the 2004 definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman or a husband and a wife and instead replaces it with “two people” .
“The proposed bill will also remove provisions which specify that same-sex marriages solemnised in a foreign country cannot be recognised as marriage,” Plibersek said.
The Bill still allows for religious freedom – churches can decide for themselves whether or not to marry same-sex couples.
Plibersek goes on to say she would like a liberal or national party member to co-sponsor the Bill as she would like it to be bi-partisan and said she believed the success of the Bill lay in co-operation from all parties.
She asked Coalition MPs to urge The prmie Minister Tony Abbott to allow a conscience vote on the issue.
“I am aware, as I’m sure you are, that there are members of your party that support marriage equality who would like to be able to vote to reflect their beliefs,” Plibersek’s letter says. “The Coalition has always prided itself on allowing members to vote according to their conscience.
“The Prime Minister should confirm that there will not be any consequences for members who vote against his position.”