Last fall we noted that Australians elected a libertarian senator by the name of David Leyonhjelm. A member of the country's Liberal Democratic Party, he calls for lower taxes and regulations and more liberty. He supports same-sex marriage recognition, and now he's trying to push Australia's government to do something about it, trying to push the Coalition party he's part of to allow for a "conscience vote" of its members.
In Australia's parliamentary system, members are required to vote the party line unless given dispensation to vote how they choose. According to The Sydney Morning Herald, Labor Party members of parliament have been given permission to vote their consciences on gay marriage. The Coalition, of which the Liberal Democratic Party is a member, is formally opposed to same-sex marriage and has not given members permission for a conscience vote. Leyonhjelm is pressuring to redefine the country's marriage law, but his effort cannot succeed unless the Coalition either reverses its position or lets its members vote however they want to. He is hoping to leverage his swing vote in other areas in favor of the Coalition to get them to come on board here:
"I ask you to understand that the liberties you care about should be available to everybody, and that there is no place in Australia for second-class citizens," Senator Leyonhjelm told reporters in Canberra.
"Today, whatever your political affiliations, the Liberal Democrats are asking all of the closet libertarians in Parliament to come out of the closet."
Leyonhjelm is hoping the libertarian argument can overcome conservative resistance, explaining in an interview, "You don't have to approve of gays and gay marriage to believe the government should leave you alone." This is all happening right on the heels of Australian celebrity Olympian Ian Thorpe coming out of the closet over the weekend.
The Sydney Morning Herald also has posted an interview with him, where he explains his support for gay marriage in libertarian terms and discusses some of the basics of libertarian philosophy. Watch here.
(Hat tip to Helen Dale)
(Corrected because of a Yank misunderstanding of the relationship between the Liberal Democratic Party and the Coalition)