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Australian MP: Parliament shouldn’t have free vote on equal marriage because public would ‘vilify’ those opposed

Nick Duffy September 20, 2014

An Australian Liberal MP has said there shouldn’t be a free vote in Parliament on same-sex marriage – because the public would “vilify” MPs who vote against it.

An equal marriage bill has been tabled by Liberal Democrat MP David Leyonhjelm, but it is likely to be defeated unless Tony Abbot’s governing Liberal party – which opposes same-sex marriage – affords its MPs a free vote.

MP Craig Laundy – who represents the Division of Reid in New South Wales and opposes equal marriage – last year claimed said he has “zero interest” in forcing his views on other MPs, calling for politicians to be allowed to vote freely.

However, he admitted to WAToday that he had changed his mind, saying: “[The issue] is so emotive and so important to particular people that if we were to go down that path [of a free vote], we are the ones that become vilified.

“That’s not what our forefathers had in mind when they came up with a conscience vote.”

He added: “Twelve months in, I now get how political lobby groups work” – claiming that proponents of equality would target MPs who chose to vote against equal marriage.

The last vote on same-sex marriage in Australia was held in 2012, when the House of Representatives rejected it by 98-42, and the senate by 41-26.

Though equal marriage has the support of the opposition Labor party, if there is no free vote it is likely to face defeat again when the bill comes forward.

 

More: Australia, Australia, civil partnership, Craig Laundy, equal marriage, gay marriage, gay wedding, lesbian marriage, lesbian wedding, Liberal, marriage, marriage ban, marriage equality, mp, politician, same sex marriage, Same-sex wedding, wedding

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