Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is one of 24 Coalition MPs to sign a statement urging Australians to vote “yes” in the same-sex marriage postal survey.
The Guardian reported the statement is signed by Liberal and National MPs and senators including cabinet ministers Simon Birmingham, Christopher Pyne, George Brandis, Kelly O’Dwyer, Darren Chester, Greg Hunt, Josh Frydenberg, Marise Payne, Scott Ryan, Nigel Scullion and Arthur Sinodinos.
The parliamentarians declare in the statement that not only will they be voting yes but also encouraging other Australians to do the same.
“We do so because we respect and believe in the equality of the loving relationships enjoyed by thousands of Australian same-sex couples,” it said. “We do so because we believe in individual rights and freedoms.”
Marriage “is an important social institution that promotes stable long-term relationships of mutual commitment” and “extending this commitment to same-sex couples will promote greater social, emotional and economic stability, which can only strengthen our nation,” the statement reads.
“We encourage our fellow Australians to join us in voting yes in the postal survey, which we hope will deliver a positive endorsement of love, respect, freedom and equality before the law.”
Parliamentarians have “an equal commitment to freedom of religion and the rights of churches, ministers of religion and religious institutions to act according to their faith and doctrines,” the statement continues, addressing criticism from prominent “no” campaigners that same-sex marriage is a threat to religious freedom.
Last Sunday, Mr Turnbull voiced his personal support for same-sex marriage while officially launching the Liberals and Nationals For Yes campaign.
“I am voting yes because fundamentally, this is a question of fairness,” he said.
“I will be encouraging other Australians to vote yes, and if a majority votes yes, then we will ensure a Private Members Bill is presented to the Parliament which will legalise same-sex marriage and our expectation is that should be accomplished by the end of the year.”
On Wednesday, opposition Bill Shorten and the deputy Labor leader Tanya Plibersek released a video messaging urging Australians to vote in the survey.
Tanya and I need you to do something this week… pic.twitter.com/Ac1okSEQ9f
— Bill Shorten (@billshortenmp) September 13, 2017
The Australian Bureau of Statistics has begun mailing out survey forms with the question “Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?” to all 16 million eligible Australians. The forms are expected to all be delivered by September 25, the ABS has said.
Forms must be returned by November 7 and the result will be announced on November 15.