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Australian prime minister endorses gay marriage, suggests national vote

Saturday, June 29, 2013

In his first press conference since ousting Julia Gillard as Prime Minister and leader of the Labor Party, newly elected Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said this week he was “the first Prime Minister of Australia to be a full signed up supporter of marriage equality.”

Kevin Rudd

Taking a dig at opposition leader Tony Abbott, Rudd challenged him to allow his party MPs a free vote on same-sex marriage, but acknowledged that it may be necessary to hold a national referendum, which has same-sex marriage equality advocates dismayed.

“Wherever I go in Australia, young people think that our current arrangements are just wrong,” Rudd said Thursday of marriage equality, referring to the likely blockage of legislation by Abbott’s party.

“Whoever wins the next election, let’s just have the civility to open this to a conscience vote for all,” he said.

Rodney Croome, Executive Director of the advocacy group Australian Marriage Equality, said he’s pleased that Rudd “has re-confirmed his support for marriage equality,” but warned that the process of a referendum would be divisive and “unnecessarily expensive.”

Croome said that while he believed the majority of Australians would vote for marriage equality, he was concerned was about the process.

“It could potentially be deeply polarizing, becoming a platform for fear-mongering against the gay and lesbian community, and we think that our politicians are elected to make these kinds of decisions, rather than hand-balling them back to the voters,” Croome said, warning that a national referendum might prove to be divisive.

“It could be quite destructive, particularly for young, same-sex attracted people coming to terms with their sexuality. “They don’t need to see the kind of fear and hate campaigns that I feel would inevitably come out during a referendum.”

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Filed under: Oceania

20 more reader comments:

  1. Shouldn’t have to vote on something if it’s a right.

    Posted on Saturday, June 29, 2013 at 8:19pm
  2. Fantastic news….

    Posted on Saturday, June 29, 2013 at 8:20pm
  3. Yes you do!

    Posted on Saturday, June 29, 2013 at 8:22pm
  4. I met a couple Australians in New York. They were very friendly and kind – though I wouldn’t know what background they come from or what goes on in their head. Hopefully they are able to decide unanimously (or with a majority) on approving this in their country. It would ruin my perception of the few people I’ve met if they don’t sadly.

    Posted on Saturday, June 29, 2013 at 8:22pm
  5. Trying to raise two million dollars before 12december 2013 to proof to my girlfriend that everything in life is possible if you try i need a contribution from anyone of any amount from 1dollar to 2million wwww

    Posted on Saturday, June 29, 2013 at 8:30pm
  6. They finally got rid of the anti gay atheist lol

    Posted on Saturday, June 29, 2013 at 8:40pm
  7. Rights should never be put to a vote. If we did that, women still would not be allowed to vote, and interracial marriage would still be illegal. The legislature in Australia or Congress, or whatever their equivalent is, should make same sex marriage legal.

    Posted on Saturday, June 29, 2013 at 8:42pm
  8. What’s the problem with having marriage equality enacted in Parliament? That would be the appropriate procedure, just like in the UK and NZ. Or doesn’t Rudd have the votes, but thinks that there’s been a big enough change in Aussie public opinion that a referendum would pass? That seems like a pretty risky strategy unless it’s certain that 60 – 70% of voters favor marriage equality.

    Posted on Saturday, June 29, 2013 at 8:47pm
  9. The Australian prime minister is so awesome.

    Posted on Saturday, June 29, 2013 at 8:47pm
  10. Ooh-rah and Amen to that!!!

    Posted on Saturday, June 29, 2013 at 8:55pm
  11. This is good and bad. It’s good that equality may come to Australia, but bad, like the article said, because LGBT youth will see the hatred and fear campaigns that opponents will bring about.

    Posted on Saturday, June 29, 2013 at 8:57pm
  12. Thank you for coming aboard

    Posted on Saturday, June 29, 2013 at 8:58pm
  13. Um, yes please!! :)

    Posted on Saturday, June 29, 2013 at 9:03pm
  14. Some might say, ‘just stop with the crap and give all Australians equal rights’ :-)

    Posted on Saturday, June 29, 2013 at 9:08pm
  15. nice:)

    Posted on Saturday, June 29, 2013 at 9:33pm
  16. We agree with you sir.

    Posted on Saturday, June 29, 2013 at 9:41pm
  17. Now you talking

    Posted on Saturday, June 29, 2013 at 11:36pm
  18. great news !

    Posted on Sunday, June 30, 2013 at 12:49am
  19. And this is why Australia….and pretty much the rest of the Western Hemisphere is awesome….except Russia…..fuck Russia…..homophobic shithole of a country.

    Posted on Sunday, June 30, 2013 at 6:14am
  20. I’m so happy for Australian LGBT! Congratulations on thise huge victory!!! Hope one day LGBT rights will be just as much respected in the whole world

    Posted on Sunday, June 30, 2013 at 9:15am