Well this is a rather exciting turn of events. A cross-party bill to make marriage equality a reality in Australia will be introduced to Federal Parliament on August 11. Liberal MP Warren Entsch and Teresa Gambaro will sponsor the bill alongside Labor MPs Terri Butler and Laurie Ferguson as well as Independent MPs Andrew Wilkie and Cathy McGowan.
There’s still no word whether Prime Minister Tony Abbott will allow a conscience vote when it comes up though. It will be political suicide if he doesn’t, but then again this is Tony Abbott we’re talking about. The Coalition is expected to make a decision on whether they will have a conscience vote or not when it meets on August 18. If Coalition MPs are able to vote freely, this will give the bill the best chance of passing through the Parliament and Senate.
Currently both The Greens and Labor have alternate versions of Marriage Equality Bills awaiting debate, they are now likely to be shelved with the new bill.
Opposition leader Bill Shorten has welcomed the new bill, saying he hopes the prime minister would finally grant 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 is that we can make marriage equality a reality.” He adds.
The bill will also ensure that religious institutions have the choice of refusing to perform same-sex marriages if they clash with their beliefs. So that’ll ease the fears of certain over-the-top religious fanatics. However I’m sure they will find some other fear-mongering idea as another reason to fight marriage equality.
In light of the United States Supreme Court’s decision on marriage equality this past week, there is now enormous pressure for marriage equality to happen in Australia. Tony Abbott it’s time you stop standing in the way of what people want and let Australia get on the right side of history!