leaders-debateAre we really voting for equality this federal election? Or has one man just won your vote because he changed his mind in the lead-up to an election by saying that he supports gay marriage?

Let’s face it – whilst Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has done a 180-degree backflip on his position, not everyone in the party stands by him. Is this backflip just another way to appeal to the LGBTI community for their vote? Is it to get the youth vote because the issue resonates with young people more than their parents? Or does he really mean to make a change and stand up for equality for the people whom he serves?

Sorry to play devil’s advocate here, but I highly doubt it. For one, he has only come out saying that he personally supports gay marriage – there has been no discussion, no debate, no policy, no vote, nothing on the subject since he changed his mind back in May.

Secondly, with Labor’s track record of keeping its word, I’d have more faith in Malcom Turnbull turning things around within the Liberal party before Labor could work its way out of a wet paper bag.

Now before you jump on your high horse, I know Deputy Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, whilst on Triple J’s Hack show, when asked if Labor would make gay marriage happen, replied with a one-word answer – “Yes”. To which, trust me, I will hold him accountable for.

The man was backed into a corner, and gave a one word answer, with nothing since.

Then there was the first election leaders’ debate, where Rudd put up more smoke and mirrors saying that he supports gay marriage and will put a bill into Parliament on the issue “within the first 100 days” if re-elected.

Lets take a look at this in a more depth. It is a win for the LGBTI community because it will put the issue back into{Parliament, but beneath the glitter, most of the Labor party do not, I repeat, do not support his view. The bill is highly unlikely to pass his own caucus room.

A survey of 1000 people conducted by Galaxy Research for Australian Marriage Equality found 30 percent of voters would be more likely to vote for Labor as a result of Mr Rudd’s stance on the issue, while 19 percent said they would be less likely.

The Prime Minister’s views were particularly popular with younger voters – a little more than half of those aged 18 to 24 were more likely to vote for Labor, compared with 18 percent of those over 50.

Of those intending to vote for the Coalition, 11 per cent said they would be more likely to vote for Labor because of Mr Rudd’s support for gay marriage. Among Labor voters, 50 per cent said they would be more likely to vote Labor and 6 per cent said they would be less likely.

So the numbers alone support Kevin Rudd’s decision to say he supports gay marriage, even if he does or doesn’t. Why wouldn’t you? It’s free votes.

A vote for Labor because you believe they will change the law on same-sex marriage is the same as voting for Labor because they won’t bring in a carbon tax.

The responsible thing to do here is not to cast your vote entirely based on your equality beliefs, but rather what is best for your country and its people. I am not saying don’t vote for Labor, but I am saying we should look at the bigger picture here, not cling to any false promises. After all, when it comes to running the country both major parties with their current policies are not looking that good.

Neither party will deliver equality for the LGBTI community any time soon. If Kevin Rudd really thought it was an issue, he would have already have brought it up by now. If he was serious about it, he wouldn’t put a bill forward – he’d make it policy like he has elsewhere.

Although while there’s still time before we go to the polls, there is always a little bit of hope.

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