A lawmaker in Australia’s governing coalition is to put a bill permitting same-sex marriage before the country’s parliament on Tuesday, the Australian newspaper reported.
The measure by Federal Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch has supporters among the governing Liberal-National coalition, as well as the opposition Labor Party and the smaller Greens, the newspaper reported, citing Labor member of parliament Terri Butler who also supports the legislation.
The proposal would change the definition of marriage to say it is between two people, rather than a man and a woman, the newspaper said.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott — a former trainee Jesuit priest who in 2010 said he felt “a bit threatened” by homosexuality — in June declined to allot parliamentary time to debate the issue.
He has refused to grant his party’s lawmakers a free vote on the issue, a decision that could make it impossible to pass any bill without government support.
“The Liberal Party loses nothing, gains much by accepting this is an issue of conscience for its elected reps,” Abbott’s sister, Christine Forster, wrote on her Twitter account on Thursday.
Forster is a lesbian and a Liberal Party councilor, and had a portrait painted with her partner last year, in which she’s holding a sign that says: “Marry me???”
Australian Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson proposed in a commentary in the Australian newspaper yesterday to separate the legal definitions of civil and religious marriage.
“Religious marriage would only be permitted in line with a faith’s teachings,” he said.
Butler told the paper that such a compromise might not be workable and risks creating two classes of marriage.
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