Turnbull won’t cross floor on same-sex marriage

Malcolm Turnbull says it’s better for his constituents if he stays in the shadow cabinet.Coalition frontbencher Malcolm Turnbull will not cross the floor on gay marriage because he believes he has more value to his constituents if he stays in the shadow cabinet.

Mr Turnbull – who is the Coalition communications spokesperson – broke ranks with his opposition colleagues last week to call for civil unions.

In a speech, he described those who claim legalising gay marriage would undermine the institution as “dripping with the worst sort of hypocrisy”.

“I am utterly unpersuaded by the proposition that my marriage to Lucy, or indeed any marriage, is undermined by two gay men or two lesbians setting up house down the road – whether it is called a marriage or not,” he said.

With two same-sex marriage bills currently before the lower house, the former opposition leader also said he would cross the floor if he was given a “free vote” in Parliament.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced last year she would grant Labor MPs and senators a conscience vote on same-sex marriage, even though the party platform was officially changed to embrace the issue at the 2011 ALP national conference.

Ms Gillard has publicly stated on numerous occasions that she does not support same-sex marriage.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott – who also opposes same-sex marriage – is against a conscience vote for Coalition MPs.

Coalition MPs can still cross the floor but frontbenchers would be obliged to resign their position and go to the backbench.

Last night on the ABC’s Q&A, Mr Turnbull said he had still considered crossing the floor but had decided against it.

“It’s something I’ve weighed up,” he said.

Mr Turnbull said that he had argued his opinion inside the party room but would not cross the floor because it was better for his constituents in the inner-city Sydney electorate of Wentworth.

“There’s a greater benefit … value for my constituents can be served by me staying within the shadow cabinet, rather than resigning and crossing the floor on every issue,” he explained.

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