New South Wales Senator David
Leyonhjelm, who represents the Liberal Democratic Party, on Wednesday
introduced a bill which seeks to allow gay and lesbian couples to
marry in Australia.
Leyonhjelm said in July that he would
introduced such a bill when Prime Minister Tony Abbott allows members
of Australia's ruling Coalition to vote as they choose on the issue.
On Wednesday, Leyonhjelm called on
Abbott to allow a conscience vote on the issue.
“He would prefer I didn't [introduce
the bill],” Leyonhjelm
said Wednesday. “His argument was the government's got plenty
of troubles without this one coming along.”
“The time is right for this bill,”
he added. “I support marriage equality because I believe people
should have the freedom to chose their own life path.”
Australia's Marriage Act defines
marriage as the union of “a man and a woman.” Leyonhjelm's bill
proposes changing that language to “the union of two people.”
Only government employed celebrants would be required to marry gay
and lesbian couples.
Leyonhjelm said that he would call for
a vote on his marriage bill once he was confident of success.
A similar bill in 2012 was rejected by
According to a Crosby Textor poll
released in July and commissioned by Australian Marriage Equality, 72
percent of Australians support allowing gay couples to marry and 77
percent believe Coalition MPs should be allowed to vote as they
choose on the issue. Only 1 in 5 Australians (21%) oppose marriage