KELVIN Thomson has become the latest federal parliamentarian to publicly declare support for same-sex marriage.
In a statement released today, the Wills federal Labor MP stressed that popular opinion in his north Melbourne electorate — which includes the suburbs of Brunswick and Coburg — recently shifted in favour of amending the Marriage Act.
“[It] has become apparent to me that there has been steadily increasing community support for same sex marriage,” Thomson said.
“Given this I will now vote in support of same sex marriage.”
Previously, Thomson stressed his constituency did not support any changes to “traditional marriage”.
“I said at the time I had no personal objection to same-sex marriage and the question for me was whether the community was ready for it,” he said.
The electorate of Wills is historically considered one of Labor’s safest seats.
It was briefly lost to an independent MP between 1993 and 1996 after then-backbencher and former Prime Minister Bob Hawke resigned, triggering a by-election. Thomson has held Wills since 1996.
The MP joins a string of other Labor parliamentarians such as Wayne Swan, Ed Husic, Chris Bowen, Tony Burke, Julie Owens, Bernie Ripoll and Joel Fitzgibbon in shifting their platform on same-sex marriage since voting against the bill to amend the Marriage Act in September 2012.
When it was then introduced by Labor backbencher Stephen Jones, it suffered a major defeat, with 98 MPs voting against it.
Only 42 MPs including Anthony Albanese, Tanya Plibersek and current Opposition Leader Bill Shorten had voted in favour. The Coalition was bound to vote against it as per party policy.
Following Ireland’s legalisation of same-sex marriage by referendum in May, and Bill Shorten and Tanya Plibersek’s introduction of a same-sex marriage bill in June, the push for marriage equality has once again gained traction in Australia.