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New Perth MP backs marriage change
But marriage equality advocates are calling on deputy Coalition leader and federal MP for Curtin, Julie Bishop, to follow Evangel’s lead given their electorates over-lap.
The Australian newspaper reported last week that the mother of three backed a change to the Marriage Act to allow same-sex attracted couples to marry.
“I had the right to be married. I don’t see why a gay person shouldn’t have the right to be married. It’s quite simple,” she said.
“I don’t even see what the issue is. I have lots of gay friends.
“Who are we to make judgments on people?”
Evangel ousted long-serving shadow arts minister John Hyde, who was the first openly gay man to be elected to the Western Australian Parliament in 2001.
Premier Colin Barnett does not support marriage equality and has been unclear about his support for a conscience vote regarding the issue.
Australian Marriage Equality WA convenor Brian Greig said Evangel had shown that marriage equality was supported across the community.
“We congratulate newly-elected Liberal state MP, Eleni Evangel, for supporting marriage equality and call on Julie Bishop to do the same given their electorates cover a similar area and demographic,” he sad.
“Ms Evangel shows that marriage equality has support across the community including in ethnic communities where it is wrongly assumed support is low.”
Bishop described Evengel as having “very strong links to the community,” when she co-hosted the ABC’s WA election night coverage with federal MP for Perth Stephen Smith.
Greig, a former Australian Democrats Senator for WA, said these comments showed the community was far ahead of the Coalition on the question of same-sex marriage. “With Premier Colin Barnett allowing a conscience vote and Eleni Evangel supporting reform, the WA Liberals are leading where the federal Liberals should follow,” he said.
A poll conducted in Bishop’s electorate in 2011 found more than 80 per cent of residents supported marriage equality, although there was speculation at the time that not all participants were actually Curtin residents.
There have been a small number of Coalition MPs in state parliaments that have supported gay marriage, including NSW Liberal MP Bruce Notley-Smith and former South Australian Liberal leader Isobel Redmond.