In a move that will probably end with the loss of his job, an Australian lawmaker has broken ranks with the conversative government to introduce same-sex marriage legislation.
What do I mean, he will probably lost his job? Well, just in case you missed it, Tony Abbot successfully banned MPs from voting for equality, essentially forcing them to vote against equality. He then threatened that anyone who went against this would probably find themselves out of a job: “It is… the standard position of our party that if a frontbencher cannot support the party’s policy, that person has to leave the frontbench.”
Despite this, Warren Enstch has tabled the private member’s bill, which would allow couples to marry regardless of “sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or intersex status.”
He then said openly to parliament: “Being gay is not a lifestyle choice. A divided nation is what we will be if we continue to allow discrimination in relation to marriage on the basis of a person’s sexuality.”
Warren isn’t alone, though, as he is one of several MPs who plan to defy Prime Minister Tony Abbot by voting for any marriage equality legislation that comes into play.
But, as I mentioned earlier, Abbot has banned a free vote on the issue for Liberal/National coalition MPs, meaning that there is very little chance this bill will come to a vote.
However, Warren said that he has hope: “I wouldn’t be introducing it if I didn’t hope we could have a vote on it.”
He will most likely have the suppor of the public, too. A Fairfax/Ipsos poll has found that nationally, 69% of people are in support of same-sex marriage, with only 25% opposing.
What is quite interesting, though, is that the study also shows that Abbot is even falling into disfavour within his own party. 53% of voters for his Liberal-National Coalition support same-sex marriage, with 40% opposing.
Rodney Croome, Australian Marriage Equality national director, had this to say regarding the study: “This poll shows the Coalition’s decision to block a free vote has isolated it from the majority of Australians who value fairness, love, and equality. With a majority of Coalition supporters backing reform, the poll shows the Coalition won’t lose votes if it allows love to win.”
“This poll was conducted after the government tried to quash marriage equality, proving Australians saw through the trickery and are undeterred in their support for reform. This is a wake up call for the government ahead of the expected Cabinet debate on marriage equality. It’s time for the Coalition to show more respect for the majority of Australians. The result also bolsters our confidence that if a fairly-framed plebiscite is held at the election, marriage equality will prevail.”