MEMBER for Mallee Andrew Broad has announced he will vote in favour of legalising same-sex marriage, despite believing the move would disadvantage children and weaken society.
Mr Broad spoke about the issue in parliament on Tuesday, as politicians debated changes to the Marriage Act.
He said he had promised Mallee residents that he would vote in line with their views on marriage as determined by the postal plebiscite.
In the plebiscite, 54.5 per cent of residents were in favour of same-sex marriage.
“The voter turnout was 78,290, which is 78 per cent, which is a significant turnout,” Mr Broad said.
“Therefore, I feel duty-bound to vote 'yes'.”
However, Mr Broad said children should be raised by both a man and a woman.
“There is still value in retaining marriage as the covenant for a bond between a man and a woman to raise children,” he said.
”I do not cast judgement upon same-sex couples that are currently raising children.
“I'm sure your love is deep and enduring, and I wish nothing but the best for you.
“But I believe there is an essential truth that cannot be replicated without the influence of both a man and a woman in a child's development.
“A young girl between the ages of zero and five craves the nurturing abilities and closeness of her mother, and between the ages of five and 10 the positive influence of her dad is essential.”
Mr Broad said while he commended single parents who have raised amazing, well-balance children, nothing replaced the ideal of marriage between and man and a woman.
“Ultimately, I believe changing the definition of marriage from a union of a man and a woman to the union of two people both weakens this ideal and weakens our society,” he said.
“I will personally find fulfilling my duty to the people of Mallee by voting yes difficult, as I believe this change will rob the future children of Australia for generations to come, but I will fulfil my duty.”
Mr Broad said it was important he gave voices to the people he represented.
“I represent those who celebrate the 'yes' vote and look forward to the changes parliament will approve shortly and those who have voted 'no' and feel the parliament must hear their concerns,” he said.
“I have also attempted to give voice and be true to the values I hold, as ultimately we must all one day give account for the decisions we make in this place.”