Bowen against gay marriages

McMAHON MP Chris Bowen, the immigration minister, says he opposes a bill to legalise same-sex marriage when it is voted on in the House of Representatives later this year.

"The issue of same-sex marriage is a highly emotive one and has received considerable attention in our community for some months as part of a national debate," he said.

"During this time I have met with strong advocates of both positions from within my electorate and also more broadly. In addition, many constituents have taken the time to put their views to me, whether in person or via email. I appreciate the thoughtful approach that many have taken with regards to this debate."

Mr Bowen said all Labor Party members would be granted a conscience vote when the matter returned to the lower house.

He said his decision to oppose the bill was based on his party's position leading into the last election and the predominance of local community members who supported the existing definition of the Marriage Act.