The upcoming postal plebiscite has prompted Indi MP Cathy McGowan to open up discussions about what a modern marriage in 2017 looks like.
She said for many, marriage had become much broader than in the 1950s when it was just between a man and a woman, in a church, where the wife promised to obey.
“I think a lot of those assumptions have gone, so what does a 21st century marriage look like?” Ms McGowan said.
“Parliament has a real role to talk about how do we look after and protect and support people in their relationships, so that they can be together for the long term, and that society supports couples and families and community, rather than work to break them up.”
The MP said she would campaign for the “yes” vote in the plebiscite, but was also mindful of churches not wanting to be seen as homophobic because they did not support a change in law.
She called on community leaders to encourage everyone to vote, even if they felt the issue did not affect them, and discouraged anyone considering boycotting the plebiscite because they did not agree with the method.
“You might not like what’s happened, but you have to let go of that,” she said.
It is unclear if the Australian Bureau of Statistics will release a breakdown of how voters in individual electorates respond.
If the majority of Australians vote “yes” in favour of same-sex marriage, the Coalition will grant MPs a conscience vote on whether it should become law.
Despite personally supporting marriage equality, Ms McGowan said she was not sure how she would vote if the majority of her Indi constituents were against the change.
“I need to know what people think as a member of Parliament – I’m going to go back to Parliament and vote on this so I really need a clear direction from my community what to do,” she said.