Calls to meet the PM over marriage

Calls to meet the PM over marriage

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 Southern Star.

“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 Southern Star the prime minister would not comment through the media if she intended to meet with AME.

Greenwich said hopes haven’t faded that Gillard may come around on the issue.

“You have to be optimistic and say, well, 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 to 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 member’s 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.

Equal Love Melbourne spokesman Liam Byrne labelled Gillard’s response to gay marriage “shameful”.

“Despite the change in personnel, the Government remains committed to maintaining legal discrimination against LGBTI people,” he said.

Equal Love will hold a rally in Melbourne for same-sex marriage rights on August 14.

The rally will mark six years since the Marriage Act was amended to prevent gay marriage.

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