Sussan Ley says she is “more likely” to vote for marriage equality than against, in the strongest indication yet the Farrer MP will support a change in law.
But she is not on board with a bill being drafted by Liberal Party colleagues to bring on a vote in Parliament, saying she had not given up hope a plebiscite could still happen, even in the next year.
“I’m more likely to vote for it, but I’m not going to forecast how I’m going to vote until the time comes,” Ms Ley said.
“In the last 10 years, the community has moved in favour of same-sex marriage.”
She would not comment on speculation about growing support within the Liberal Party for a conscience vote in Parliament, which is likely to be one of the topics debated at Tuesday’s party meeting.
Liberal Senator Dean Smith announced his private members' bill for same-sex marriage could be put to the Parliament as early as this month, sparking condemnation from his more conservative colleagues.
Four Liberal MPs, including Warren Entsch, Trevor Evans, Tim Wilson and Trent Zimmerman have indicated they could cross the floor on the issue.
Ms Ley would not be among them, maintaining support for the plebiscite policy taken to the last federal election.
She said many other constituents in Farrer told her they felt the same, but had not necessarily indicated which way they would vote in a same-sex marriage plebiscite.
“I’ve actually taken that as a signal that there is a broad range of views,” she said.
While the MP was leaning towards support for marriage equality, she said she was willing to follow the decision of the public if a plebiscite took place.
She was not concerned about the reported growing debate among her Liberal colleagues.
“We’re in a free and open party, people are free to have their views,” Ms Ley said. “The ongoing conversation is moving Australians to think about it … I don’t mind that it's going on for a long time.
“What I do mind is the divisiveness it’s caused and the disrespect on both sides.”
LGBTIQ support group Hume Phoenix previously called on Ms Ley to support marriage equality and “be remembered throughout Australia for making change”.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has not ruled out holding a postal plebiscite to decide the issue.