An Australian Senator will reportedly introduce a same-sex marriage bill as a priority, shortly after taking office.
Liberal Democrat David Leyonhjelm took office for New South Wales this month, following his party’s first victory in a federal election last year.
According to Australia Marriage Equality, the Senator – who is the only federal Liberal Democrat representative – will shortly introduce a bill to legalise same-sex marriage, hoping to win broad support from other parties.
In his inaugural speech, Leyonhjelm said: “Liberty is eroded when we are unable to marry the person of our choice, whatever their gender.
“It is not legitimate for government to involve itself in things that an individual voluntarily does to him or herself, or that people choose to do to each other by mutual consent, when nobody else is harmed.”
Australian Marriage Equality director Rodney Croome said: “We welcome Senator Leyonhjelm giving marriage equality the high priority it deserves.”
“Senator Leyonhjelm is a crucial advocate for marriage equality because his case – that marriage equality is about personal freedom from undue government interference in our private lives – will resonate with many Coalition members.”
The group’s deputy director said: “It’s also significant that he has highlighted how the reform is a matter of personal freedom from undue government interference in our private lives.
“Personal freedom is important to many Australians and Senator Leyonhjelm’s speech enjoyed a repeated chorus of support from Government Senators”.
The governing Liberal party has long opposed equal marriage, with Prime Minister Tony Abbott giving his backing to the successful fight to end the brief recognition of same-sex marriage in the Australian Capital Territory last year.
However, there have been some calls within his party for MPs to be allowed a free vote on the issue, with the Australian Liberal Students’ Federation passing a motion earlier this week calling for marriage equality.