Greenway MP Michelle Rowland supports marriage equality

A marriage equality rally that began at the State Library on October 8, 2016, in Melbourne. Picture: Craig Sillitoe

A marriage equality rally that began at the State Library on October 8, 2016, in Melbourne. Picture: Craig Sillitoe

Member for Greenway Michelle Rowland has voiced her support for marriage equality, changing her public opinion after voting against the 2012 same-sex marriage bill.

Ms Rowland was one of 98 MPs who voted against legislation that would have given same-sex couples the right to marry four years ago.

In defending Labor’s decision to block the marriage equality plebiscite, she told The Sun her opinion had changed after consulting with constituents.

Ms Rowland said public opinion in Greenway is split “pretty much 50-50”, but a conversation with a mother in Seven Hills proved a catalyst in changing her mind.

“Her son is in the Navy and she said he wants to marry his partner.

“He’s in active service, he’s putting his life on the line for his country. Who am I, and who is anyone, to deny him the right to marry the person he loves?”

Michelle Rowland. Picture: Geoff Jones

Michelle Rowland. Picture: Geoff Jones

Ms Rowland said canvassing public opinion helped convince her that marriage equality is important in Australia.

“I was shadow minister for citizenship and multiculturalism, so I thought I knew about diversity but it wasn’t until I was actually representing Labor in that area that I came to understand that people are different and people need to be respected for their differences,” she said.

“People seek to have equality before the law in every way, and that includes the right to marry someone that you love.”

Ms Rowland has defended Labor’s decision to block the plebiscite. She said it is the job of MPs to vote on the law rather than relying on “a $160 million opinion poll”.

The Labor politician said the issue should be put to a free vote in parliament.

Member for Mitchell Alex Hawke has renewed his support for the plebiscite.

The Liberal politician the issue has been debated for 10 years and he believes it is best solved by the Australian public.

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