Australian marriage equality advocates have welcomed news Opposition Leader Tony Abbott’s sister has come out in favour of same-sex marriage.
In an interview with The Australian newspaper, Abbott’s sister, Christine Forster, revealed she has a same-sex partner and supports a change in the Marriage Act to allow for same-sex marriage.
“I have decided to publicly confirm that I am gay and am in a committed, live-in relationship,” Forster told the newspaper.
“My brother and I have always had a strong relationship and he respects and supports me and my lifestyle choices.”
Forster is said to have had “spirited” discussions to try to change Abbott’s position on the issue.
“I’ve come to the view over the years that the only side you can take is that which tries to maintain relationships,” Abbott told The Australian.
“Getting judgemental in ways which damage relationships does no one any good.”
Australian Marriage Equality national convener Alex Greenwich said he hoped Forster’s courage in speaking out could change Abbott’s mind.
“Advocacy from loved ones is by far the most effective way of changing hearts and minds,”Greenwich said.
“Ms Forster proves the point that this reform is about the importance of family, love, and equality, not politics.
“With a clear majority of Australians supporting reform, same-sex couples are more comfortable than ever in being public and proud.”