More Labor and Liberal MPs express support for marriage equality
Two well-known MPs from across the political divide – Labor’s Mark Butler and local Coogee Liberal MP Bruce Notley-Smith – have today expressed their strong and public support for marriage equality laws to be introduced in Australia in the near future.
Notley-Smith, a rising star of the NSW Liberals’, told SX this afternoon that for him marriage equality as an issue in no way went against his liberal philosophy.
“As a Liberal who believes in promoting the family unit, I see no reason how marriage equality harms that. Indeed it adds to family structures,” Notley-Smith said.
On talk of some within his own party and the federal Coalition that same-sex marriage was an unimportant issue, Notley-Smith, who has been with his partner for over 20 years, was quite unequivocal.
“There are a whole bunch of other issues that never get any headlines, or any great community interest that are supported by politicians and given their time. This is an issue that I believe is worth serious attention and so it seems does the wider community,” he said.
The 47-year-old former mayor of Randwick told SX that although being heavily influenced by senior federal Wentworth MP Malcolm Turnbull, on issues such as marriage reform many politicians were in the process of “evolving”.
“While I don’t want to speak about Malcolm Turnbull, it is a very difficult issue to speak about for many politicians. But the more they have to, I expect more of them to understand it better,” he said.
“I have to say that it’s an evolving process for many politicians. One is constantly evolving as a politician. You have to be. Politics is about enmeshing community views with your own beliefs, so you have be listening.”
Notley-Smith confirmed to SX that the next six months would be a pivotal, and crucial, period for the issue of same-sex marriage.
“The idea of introducing civil unions at this stage will be like taking the wind out of the sails of the movement for equality,” Notley-Smith added.
Meanwhile, federal Mental Health and Ageing Minister Mark Butler today used a newspaper article to firmly point out his support for a change to the current Marriage Act.
In an op-ed piece for the Sydney Morning Herald under the heading of ‘Conscience Vote on Gay Marriage Not Enough’, Butler clearly laid out his support for the change, while opposing any moves by ALP heavyweights to force a conscience vote on the issue.
“Though I respect the right of some Australians to continue to hold the biblical or religious view that marriage can only be the union of man and a woman, and the right of religious organisations to restrict ceremonies to that form of relationship, Australia should recognise that marriage is now predominantly a civil institution and apply standard principles of equal treatment at least to civil ceremonies,” Butler wrote.
Alex Greenwich, national convener for Australian Marriage Equality, said it is important that supporters of equality continue to thank and welcome the support of such high profile figures.
[Pictured] Out Liberal MP Bruce Notley-Smith