Kevin Hogan MP.
Kevin Hogan MP.

Hogan’s new ‘evolved’ stance on gay marriage

THE first Nationals MP to stand against CSG has become the third in as many days to declare his support for same sex marriage.

The DEX spoke to Page MP Kevin Hogan twice after Ireland's bold move towards marriage equality where he said he would support the right for people to have a say.

But he went one step further yesterday when he announced his intention to support a potential cross-party marriage equality bill on the proviso that churches not be forced to marry gay couples.

"It is quite a significant cultural step and my preference is that the Australian public make that decision. We could do that in conjunction with the Federal Election," he said.

RELATED: OPINION: Hogan's 'evolved' marriage stance not so surprising

Mr Hogan said his stance on the matter had 'evolved'.

"My thinking on it has evolved over time. I have friends who are gay. I have friends who are gay and who have been in a relationship for over 20 years and I respect them and the relationship they have."

However, Mr Hogan emphasised that his support came with a strong proviso.

"I've evolved to the situation where if they chose and wanted to get married in the registry office or in the park they could have that recognised. I am comfortable with that but only if churches are completely protected," he said.

"Churches should not have to marry people if it is going against the values and the teachings of the church."

On Tuesday Gippsland MP and parliamentary secretary Darren Chester became the first Nationals MP to openly support same-sex marriage.

Since then, Mr Hogan and Northern Territory MP Nigel Scullion have ensured that Mr Chester wasn't the only gay supporter in the Nat village.

Mr Hogan said his early progressive stance within the family values Party was not difficult, however.

"On coal seam gas, for example, I was the first Nationals MP to come out publicly that it wasn't relevant to our region so that was big. This is how I've felt about it (same sex marriage) personally for some time.

"It is now that the issue is in the public domain, people want to know where I stand," he said.

Mr Hogan's strong caveat regarding church autonomy is unlikely to attract objections.

Of the three marriage equality bills before the parliament, all make it clear no religious celebrant will be forced to marry same-sex couples.

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