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Marriage battle

Marriage battle

THE battle to define marriage has resumed with an alert Prime Minister Tony Abbott could soon be pressured in the Federal Coalition party room to allow a conscience vote on the issue.

Family Voice Australia has sent out the alert on a flyer headed: “Can you help us win the marriage war?”

The flyer spoke of how “a relentless campaign by TV, radio and newspaper journalists is putting pressure on Tony Abbott to allow a ‘conscience’ vote – which could later result in changing the natural meaning of marriage and denying children their right to both a mum and a dad”.

It also asked for those concerned “to contact Federal Coalition MPs (including senators) in your state today”.

Queensland Australian Family Association spokesman Luke McCormack said the bid to force a conscience vote within Coalition ranks fitted with an overall strategy to legalise same-sex marriage.

“Last December, the High Court overturned the ACT’s attempt to legalise same-sex marriage, saying only the Federal Government has the power to define marriage,” he said. “Now the Greens are planning to introduce another same-sex-marriage bill in the Senate in the next few months.

“Their strategy is to use this bill to wedge the Tony Abbott’s Government into having a so-called ‘conscience vote’ on the issue.”

Mr McCormack said were this change to occur it would have a drastic impact on Liberal Party policy on marriage.

“It would mean that the Liberal Party has no policy on natural marriage and the protection it affords children to their birth right – to know and be raised by their mum and dad,” he said.

Australia’s High Court last year struck down the nation’s first same-sex marriage laws, which had been passed in the ACT.

At the time Federal Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull, an advocate for change, said it was significant that the court ruled same-sex marriages were contained within the context of marriage in the constitution, but it was up to the Federal Government to legislate.

Mr Turnbull thought it was “very likely” the parliament would consider a private member’s bill and the Coalition party room would agree to a conscience vote, rather than a repeat of the situation when Coalition members were bound to vote against same-sex marriage.

Mr Abbott personally opposes same-sex marriage and it is unclear whether he would support a conscience vote on the matter.

Liberal National Party federal parliamentarian Warren Entsch was recently reported as saying he expected the Abbott Government to allow a conscience vote on the issue in 2014, possibly as soon as the next sitting period.

Minister for Social Services Kevin Andrews had no comment on the likelihood of party room discussions on a conscience vote.


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