MP says no to change
LABOR MP Shayne Neumann says changing the Marriage Act to allow same-sex unions would have "significant repercussions" for Australian society.
Mr Neumann told parliament yesterday that marriage between a man and a woman was a "fundamental institution".
The Member for Blair sat on the eight-member, cross-party committee that examined two bills before the parliament designed to remove legal impediments to same-sex marriage.
The bills were introduced by Greens MP Adam Bandt and Labor MP Stephen Jones in February.
The committee's 74-page report was tabled in the House of Representatives on Monday.
Mr Neumann and Labor MP Mike Lyon outlined their reasons for opposing changes to the Marriage Act in a statement contained in the report.
In speaking against Mr Bandt's Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2012 on Monday, Mr Neumann echoed many of those arguments.
He questioned the constitutional capacity of the Federal Government to legislate on same-sex marriage.
"Ultimately, if the House of Representatives and the Senate pass legislation I am sure that those constitutional limits will be tested in the High Court," Mr Neumann said.
Mr Neumann spoke of family and friends, including his sister-in-law, who were involved in same-sex relationships.
"I respect and love them and they are cherished and their relationship is accepted, honoured and understood," he said.
"(But) I do not agree with same-sex marriage."
Mr Neumann highlighted the fact he had voted for more than 80 pieces of legislation removing discrimination against same-sex couples. The former lawyer said some of the claims from both sides of the same-sex marriage divide were disingenuous.
Mr Neumann was among a number of MPs who debated the bill yesterday.
Wright MP Scott Buchholz made a one-sentence contribution to the debate.
"I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman," the Coalition MP said.