First Australian National MP backs same-sex marriage
A right-wing MP in Australia has said he plans to vote for same-sex marriage if it comes to a free vote.
Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott is currently under pressure to allow MPs in his governing Liberal-National coalition a conscience vote on the issue, despite his own opposition.
Amid the growing tension, an MP for the conservative National Party, Darren Chester, has become the first in his party to say he would vote for equality.
He told ABC: “I support a conscience vote.
“I think that conscience vote should occur in the spring sitting of Parliament and it’d be my intention, if there was a conscience vote awarded, to vote yes.
“It’s not the biggest issue in my electorate by any stretch, but it’s a significant issue for some people. I think the momentum is growing in the community.
“A lot of younger voters who I talk to, perhaps in secondary school or forums, say they’ve moved on, they just want this to happen, that the Parliament of Australia should vote that way.”
Rodney Croome of Australian Marriage Equality said: “We praise Mr Chester for leading the way both in his own party and in regional Australia.
“Mr Chester is a model for other federal representatives because he has listened to his electorate and is representing their desire for all Australians to be treated equally.
“The pressure is now on the National Party, along with the Liberal Party, to allow a free vote on marriage equality.”
He added: “I may be the only one amongst the 21 Nationals who ends up supporting same-sex marriage in a conscience vote.”