Prime Minister Julia Gillard has finally set a date for a dinner with three same-sex couples that was won by progressive activist group GetUp at a Canberra press gallery charity auction in June this year.

GetUp spent $31,000 to win the dinner for six with the Prime Minister at the Lodge, which will now occur on February 21 – a week after Valentines Day.

And in what may be an olive branch to the marriage equality movement, Gillard has also invited Australian Marriage Equality national convenor Alex Greenwich to the dinner along with the three couples.

Greenwich said the dinner would be used to thank Gillard for allowing a real debate at the ALP National Conference whichresulted in a change to the Labor Party Platform, to share stories about why marriage was important to same-sex couples and their families and friends, and to assure the Prime Minister that advocates understood the importance of churches being able to marry or not marry couples in accordance with their faiths.

“The Prime Minister like many Australians is continuing the conversation on marriage equality,” Greenwich told the Star Observer.

“We look forward to sharing with her the important meaning marriage has to us, our families and our communities.

“We also look forward to addressing any concerns she may have about the proposed legislation and give her the assurance that we share her concern and respect for the freedom of religion.”

An initial deadline of 11 to 16 days after the auction passed in early July, but Gillard’s delay in delivering on a Canberra press gallery auction prize is well short of Opposition Leader Tony Abbott who waited 323 days before delivering on a pledge to give a surfing lesson to an Afghan refugee last year – with that winning bid also made by GetUp.

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