Advocates welcome cross-party marriage equality bill

Parliament House_Canberra at EnlightenMarriage equality advocates have welcomed reports a cross-party marriage equality bill will be introduced into parliament in early August and go to the Coalition Party for debate on a free vote on 18 August.

Sky News has reported this afternoon that a cross-party bill co-sponsored by Liberals, Warren Entsch and Teresa Gambaro, Labor’s plus Labor’s Terri Butler and Laurie Ferguson, and independents, Andrew Wilkie and Cathy McGowan will be introduced on 11 August.

“Because this bill will be signed by two Liberals it will have the best chance of achieving a Coalition free vote, and because it has cross-party support it has the best chance of passing,” says Australian Marriage Equality national director, Rodney Croome.

“With momentum growing after marriage equality in Ireland and the US, this bill gives Australia the strongest opportunity we have ever had of achieving marriage equality. We aim to win majority support in parliament with grassroots mobilisation, rallies and advertising campaigns throughout July and across the nation.”

In a statement Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has welcomed the move, saying: “I hope it means Tony Abbott will finally grant Liberal MPs a free vote on the legislation. As I’ve consistently said, it’s the outcome that is important here, not whose name is on the bill. Like millions of Australians, my first and only hope here is that we can make marriage equality a reality.”

It is unclear whether the Liberal Party will back a conscience vote, but such a vote would give the bill the best chance of passing. Mr Croome said he is very hopeful the Coalition will remove the last hurdle to marriage equality by allowing a free vote on the co-sponsored bill.

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Image: Canberra’s Parliament House at Enlighten