The Australian Parliament is set to decide on same-sex marriage this year with confirmation from Independent MP Cathy McGowan that a multi-party bill for marriage equality that she has co-sponsored will be introduced to parliament on 11 August.
Key to the passing of any marriage equality legislation is whether or not the Liberal Party will allow its members to cast a conscience vote. Sky News has reported that the Liberal Party will hold a meeting regarding allowing a conscience vote on Tuesday 18 August.
While a series of marriage equality bills have already been introduced by Independents, Labor and the Greens, none of them appear likely to pass. This new bill, however, has cross party co-sponsorship from LNP MPs Warren Entsch and Teresa Gambaro, two Labor MPs, as well as independents Andrew Wilkie and Cath McGowan.
Australian Marriage Equality representative Rodney Croome says the cross-party nature of the bill is very encouraging and increases its chances of success.
“Because this bill will be signed by two Liberals it will have the best chance of achieving a Coalition free vote, and because it has cross-party support it has the best chance of passing,” Mr Croome said.
“With momentum growing after marriage equality in Ireland and the US, this bill gives Australia the strongest opportunity we have ever had of achieving marriage equality.”
Fairfax media estimates that at least 60 of Labor’s 80 members will support a change towards marriage equality. Support within the Coalition remains largely unknown, however, an increasing number of Government members have have been declaring their support for change in recent months.