Gay marriage lobbyists received a great Christmas present with MP for Blair Shayne Neumann reversing his stance on the issue.
Australian Marriage Equality (AME) said Mr Neumann had joined a growing number of people on the Labor right who now supported same-sex marriage.
“Across the nation MPs are listening to the personal stories of their constituents and realising why marriage equality matters,” AME national director Rodney Croome said.
In June, Mr Neumann declared he was against marriage equality as a long-held position and also told his constituents before the last election that if they voted for him he would not vote for marriage equality in the current term of parliament.
His stance came under fire at a rally in Ipswich last month.
Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) Ipswich member Deb Grading openly criticised Mr Neumann while Greens Senator Larissa Waters also took him to task.
“The motion that we should leave this to a plebiscite … is just a delay mechanism,” she said.
“The reason they have proposed this is because they know they are losing the debate and they know the groundswell of Australians who want our laws to be reformed and fixed so that people who love each other can get married.”
Mr Neumann responded by saying he would vote in accordance with the wishes of the Australian people carried in a plebiscite.
“The truth is, I think we have seen a big change in the Australian public’s view on this issue,” he said.
“I think that it is highly probable regardless of which side of politics wins the next election, that marriage equality will be a reality in Australia within 12 months of the election.”
Mr Croome said that the parliament was close to having the numbers to legalise gay marriage.
“With Shayne Neumann’s support we are now only five votes short of a majority in parliament,” he said.
“A vote in parliament will be quicker and cheaper than a plebiscite and we hope to have the numbers to achieve marriage equality in 2016.
“This is important because, regardless of a plebiscite, only parliament can amend the Marriage Act.”