After trenchant opposition to legalising same-sex marriage in Canberra, Liberal Leader Jeremy Hanson is now calling for the change nationally, saying same-sex couples should not be denied the chance to marry.
Mr Hanson said he had been "somewhat conflicted" on the issue in the past, but his views had evolved over time, from speaking with gay friends and family and others in the wider community.
The time had come to legalise same-sex marriage, he said, when asked his views this week, in light of the national debate.
"I value marriage as an institution and I don't think that it should be denied to couples based on whether they are same sex or not. If a loving couple wish to get married, I don't think they should be denied that right."
Mr Hanson said his preference was for a plebiscite on the question, which he believed would be carried and would ensure the community's support. But in the absence of a plebiscite, the change should nevertheless be made by the Commonwealth Parliament.
Mr Hanson's Liberal team is divided on the issue, with Andrew Wall opposed to legalising same-sex marriage. Mr Wall said he had significant concerns about opponents facing discrimination complaints because they refused to cater for a same-sex wedding, or host one in their venue.
"What protection is there going to be for anyone else in the community who doesn't agree?" he asked.
"This is a conscience issue and I think people should be extended the right to exercise their own beliefs ... My concern is for those people who do hold reservations about it being able to continue to hold those reservations without being dragged through the courts for discrimination."
Mr Wall supports the call from Liberal Senator for Canberra Zed Seselja for a plebiscite, and believed it would be defeated.
"I'm of the belief that Australia as a whole still isn't ready for it," he said.
Liberal colleague Nicole Lawder, though, is a strong advocate and said she was pleased for same-sex marriage might finally be enacted by the Federal Parliament. She revealed that she asked Mr Hanson about the possibility of a conscience vote for Liberals in 2013 when Labor moved to enact same-sex marriage – legislation that was opposed by the Liberals and later overturned by the High Court. Mr Hanson did not allow a conscience vote, but the pair agreed he would name her in the chamber as a supporter of same-sex marriage.
It had been "pretty hard" to vote no in 2013, and a number of people had asked her "why didn't I stand up at the time", she said. But she had accepted it was flawed legislation and same-sex marriage was for the Federal, not the ACT Parliament.
The television program Married at First Sight, in which couples agree to marry after being matched by a television production house, made a mockery of arguments against same-sex marriage, when people who had made a genuine commitment to each other over many years weren't afforded the same rights, she said.
"I think the tide is shifting as it does with many of these social issues," she said. "I don't understand why there's a lot of resistance to the issue. Many of my contemporaries and certainly those of my children just take it as a given that there will be marriage equality. And I fear that the longer we delay, as a nation we are going to end up on the wrong side of history."
Ms Lawder questioned Mr Wall's suggestion that people opposed to same-sex marriage should have the right to refuse to cater for same-sex events, pointing to similar arguments during debate about mixed-race marriages.
Ms Lawder supported a conscience vote among Liberal parliamentarians and said she would also support a plebiscite.
Of the other Liberals, Steve Doszpot would not give his view, but said he supported a plebiscite. Alistair Coe, Vicki Dunne and Giulia Jones are all opposed, although Ms Jones said she supported a plebiscite, where she would vote no. Brendan Smyth said he would support a plebiscite, but had "reservations" about changing the marriage law.
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