Australia’s marriage equality advocates say Australia is falling further behind other countries following a decision by the Portuguese Parliament to allow same-sex marriage.

Australian Marriage Equality national convener Alex Greenwich said it is embarrassing for Australia to fall behind countries like Portugal.

Portugal (like neighboring Spain, where same-sex marriage is also legal) is considered to be a socially conservative and very Catholic nation, however as Mr. Greenwich points out “despite Portugal’s strong affiliation with the Catholic Church, they have been able to separate ‘Church and State’ in the interest of equality for all, “something we would encourage the Rudd Government to do”.

“In recent weeks we’ve seen same-sex marriages allowed in Argentina, Mexico and now Portugal, all of which highlight how far Australia continues to fall behind on this important human rights issue,” Greenwich said.

“The Rudd Government’s support for discriminatory marriage laws is a source of great embarrassment for many Australians.”

Greenwich said the Portuguese Parliament’s rejection of a proposed civil union scheme highlights why such schemes are not a substitute for full legal equality.

“Civil unions do not provide same-sex couples with the same rights or recognition as equality in marriage,” he said.

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