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Marriage equality advocates have welcomed Prime Minister, Tony Abbott’s, support for debate on the issue in parliament and have called on him to personally back a free vote for Coalition members.

Responding to the successful Irish referendum on marriage equality, Mr Abbott said the issue was properly one for parliament, not a referendum, and recommitted to letting the Coalition party room decide whether MPs should get a free vote on the issue.

Australian Marriage Equality national director, Rodney Croome, said,

“Mr Abbott is right that a referendum is unnecessary and parliament is the right forum for marriage equality to be debated.”

“But if he genuinely supports a fully-fledged parliamentary debate on marriage equality he should throw his personal backing behind a Coalition free vote.”

“Regardless of their own views on marriage equality, conservative leaders across Australia and around the world have backed a free vote on the reform, including Mike Baird, Colin Barnett, Will Hodgman, David Cameron and John Key, and it’s time Tony Abbott did too.”

“Just as Tony Abbott respects differing views in his own family, he should respect differing views in his own party by backing a free vote.”

Speaking about the views in his family Mr Abbott said, “there are a range of views inside the parliament, there are a range of views inside my party room, frankly there are a range of views inside my family. Inside the Abbott family I’m probably the last holdout for the traditional position.”

Mr Croome said the now defunct Irish Constitutional ban on same-sex marriage necessitated a referendum and that no such constitutional barrier exists in Australia.

“An Australian marriage equality referendum would be costly, polarising and completely unnecessary”, he said.

For news reports about Mr Abbott’s response to the Irish vote:

For further comment:
Rodney Croome on 0409 010 668
Ivan Hinton-Teoh on 0419 124 826
Shirleene Robinson on 0412 308 174

For comment about the Irish YesEquality campaign in Australia:
Colm O’Callaghan 0431 742 560

To speak to couples preparing to marry in Ireland contact Rodney Croome

Author: Rodney Croome
Publication: AME Media Release
Date: 24 May 2015