Queensland MPs Warren Entsch, Teresa Gambaro and Wyatt Roy have declared that they will exercise their right to cross the floor in support of marriage equality should a cross party same-sex marriage bill be put to a vote in parliament.
Western Australian Senator Dean Smith has also vowed to cross the floor should a marriage equality bill require a vote in the Senate.
After the Coalition party room emphatically voted to block a free vote on Tuesday night, Prime Minister Tony Abbott yesterday reminded his colleagues that Cabinet members would be forced to resign if they chose to vote against the party’s position. Backbenchers, however, are free to vote with their conscience, although Mr Abbott added he would be disappointed if they did so.
Teresa Gambaro who represents the seat of Brisbane was one of the co-sponsors of a multi-party marriage equality bill that is set to be introduced to parliament on Monday says that she is deeply disappointed with the outcome of the party room meeting but remains optimistic about the future of marriage equality in Australia.
“Following on from the lengthy discussions on this issue in the Coalition Party Room earlier this week, I am deeply disappointed that there will not be a free vote in the current term of this Government,” Ms Gambaro said. “I do, however, like many of my colleagues, welcome the outcome that this term will be the last time that Coalition members will be bound to support the existing marriage legislation.
“I commend the statements made by my Liberal Party parliamentary colleagues Warren Entsch, Wyatt Roy and Senator Dean Smith and confirm that, in accordance with the great traditions and principles of liberalism and individual choice upon which the Liberal Party was founded, I too intend to exercise the full liberties available to me as a Liberal backbencher and will cross the floor in support of the Bill.”
Ms Gambaro publicly voiced her support for marriage equality in the lead up to the 2013 Federal Election, a move which many speculate cost her a ministerial position.