Former Newman Government Attorney General Jarrod Bleijie has announced that he has had a remarkable change of heart on marriage equality.
It was Bleijie who while still in opposition was the LNP’s official voice in parliament to block the Queensland’s civil union bill, and within weeks of being elected to government in 2012, Bleijie spearheaded the LNP’s removal of ceremonies for same sex couples and downgrading civil unions to registered relationships.
Mr Bleijie, who is a committed Christian and a marriage celebrant this week told the Courier Mail that upon deeper reflection, he now supports same-sex marriage and will vote in favour of restoring state recognised civil union ceremonies for same-sex couples.
“Supporting civil partnerships, and supporting same sex marriage has not been an easy journey for me,’’ Mr Bleijie said.
“I have gone from being the attorney-general responsible for abolishing same sex civil partnerships in Queensland, to intending to vote in favour in the forthcoming federal plebiscite.’’
Bleijie says his change of heart stemmed from officiating marriage ceremonies for friends and family members.
“Marriage should be a statement of love and commitment between the happy couple; not an institution that rejects those who wish to enter it with the best intentions,’’ Bleijie said.
Following Bleijie’s announcement, QNews legal writer Stephen Page used his popular Australian Gay and Lesbian Law Blog to describe the scale of this backflip as “breathtaking”.
Politics in Queensland are like nowhere else,” Page wrote. “We are witness to this just now with former Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie announcing his support for equal marriage, and supporting civil partnerships. His action seems to have triggered the LNP for the first time allowing a conscience vote on the civil partnership laws.
Australian Marriage Equality national director Rodney Croome welcomed Bleijie’s change of position.
“Mr Bleijie’s support for marriage equality shows this is an issue that can be supported by people of faith and by social conservatives,” Croome said.
“I applaud Mr Bleijie for opening his heart to those same-sex partners who want to uphold the values of marriage and share its traditions.”