Marriage equality advocates have called for a meeting with Prime Minister Julia Gillard following comments she does not support gay marriage.
Australian Marriage Equality (AME) spokesman Alex Greenwich said he was “disappointed” with Gillard’s comments on commercial radio last week that she would not be reversing the Government’s current opposition to gay marriage.
“We were disappointed and especially disappointed because she came out the day before and said she’s an atheist and doesn’t hold the same allegiance to [religion] that, say, Kevin Rudd did,” Greenwich told Sydney Star Observer.
“We haven’t had a chance to meet with her yet and obviously what she was quoting was Labor Party policy. We’re still going to give her a bit more time.”
A spokesman from Gillard’s office told SSO the prime minister would not comment through the media if she intended to meet with AME.
Greenwich said hopes haven’t faded Gillard may come around on the issue.
“You have to be optimistic…her thought process is not limited by what the Australian Christian Lobby tells her to say.”
AME has requested a meeting with Gillard on the issue and has also written to Iceland’s openly lesbian prime minister, Johanna Sigurdardottir, to ask her to contact
Australia’s PM to explain the importance of same-sex marriage.
Sigurdardottir last month married her long-time partner on the first day gay marriage law came into effect in Iceland.
It’s certain the Government will try and distance itself from controversial issues such as gay marriage in an election year, however, the issue is not likely to go away.
The Greens have reconfirmed they intend to introduce another private members bill to amend the Marriage Act, after the election.
Following Gillard’s comments last week, Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young said the prime minister was ignoring public opinion.
“Given opinion polls have consistently shown there is 60 percent public support for equal marriage, why is the prime minister unwilling to allow Labor’s MPs and senators to speak freely and vote honestly?” Hanson-Young said.
AME has started leafleting 120,000 homes, with federal transport minister Anthony Albanese’s seat of Grayndler joining Sydney in the firing line.
But the group has stopped plans to do the same to the seat of Melbourne after ALP candidate Cath Bowtell publicly expressed her support for same-sex marriage.
AME had suspended leafleting Tanya Plibersek’s Sydney seat as a sign of good faith to new Prime Minister Julia Gillard, but decided to reactivate the campaign after she expressed opposition to marriage equality.
AME’s Alex Greenwich told Sydney Star Observer Gillard had refused offers to meet.
“After the clear message she’s sent us, we had to take action again,” Greenwich said.
Albanese said he was proud of his record of support on same-sexx issues.
“People will make up their own mind about whether reform is advanced by targeting progressives in Labor while ignoring the threat that Tony Abbott represents,” Albanese said.
“I’m proud of my record in advancing the cause of equality regardless of sexuality.”
Greenwich said his group was targeting these seats as there was a realistic chance of the ALP losing to the pro-same-sex marriage Greens — AME has not ruled out leafleting Gillard’s Melbourne seat of Lalor.
The new fliers mention Tony Abbott’s opposition to same-sex marriage alongside Gillard’s.