A BILL supporting same-sex marriage would be supported by Independent Indi MP Cathy McGowan if it was succesful in being put before Federal Parliament next month.
Ms McGowan confirmed on Wednesday evening she had been in talks with the Liberal’s Warren Entsch, who is expected to move the cross-party bill, and other MPs before the winter break at Parliament.
“I responded to a request to be involved and would support a Bill,” Ms McGowan said.
“This is a unique opportunity for both major parties to work together on this important issue.
“I welcome initiatives from all of Parliament to work together to resolve this issue.”
Ms McGowan listed marriage equality as one of her election commitments back in 2013.
Liberal Warren Entsch hopes to move the Bill on 11 August, pending a decision by the selection committee, with Labor MP Terri Butler expected to second it under an agreement reached last week.
The ball appears to be in Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s court, however, with reports that all parties feel the Bill would only succeed if he allowed all Liberal MPs a free vote.
It is expected Mr Entsch and fellow Queensland Liberal Teresa Gambaro would have to seek the support of their colleagues at a meeting on 18 August in allowing Liberal frontbenchers a free vote on the Bill.
Meanwhile, Liberal backbenchers can vote freely on such Bills, but Coalition policy to support only male-female marriage compels any senior members to quit their post if they want to cross the floor.
Federal Farrer MP Sussan Ley has not yet made a decision on whether or not she will support the potential Bill for marriage equality.
“As I’ve mentioned previously, before I make a decision on any vote I want to take a careful look at any actual legislation and its implications,” she said.
“Over the coming weeks, particularly during the Parliamentary recess, I will continue to seek the wide range of views coming from my electorate.
“It’s still my opinion, if there is going to be a change to the Marriage Act it should be owned by the entire Parliament rather than a particular party, and that all MPs should be allowed a conscience vote when it comes time to consider their position.”
The same-sex bill would see “man and woman” replaced with the words “two people” in the Marriage Act.
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