New Zealand prime minister John Key has followed US president Barack Obama’s lead, saying he is not opposed to same-sex marriage, but added it’s not a priority for his government.

“I am not personally opposed to gay marriage,” Key said.

“It is possible that parliament may consider a member’s bill at some stage, but it is not on the government’s agenda.”

Same-sex couples in New Zealand are currently able to enter into a civil union which offers the same legal protections as a marriage.

Australian Marriage Equality spokesman Rodney Croome said he was “ashamed” Australia’s political leaders were not supportive of change.

“Australia’s national leaders are completely out of step with their counterparts in every other developed, English-speaking democracy – Canada, the UK, the US and now even New Zealand,” Croome said.

“Like many other Australians I am bewildered and ashamed that our country is being isolated from those nations with which we share most by two out-of-touch opponents of fundamental human rights.

“My hope is that [Prime Minister] Julia Gillard and [Opposition Leader] Tony Abbott’s increased isolation will compel them to reconsider their hard line.”

In a historic move this week, Obama said he supports the right of same-sex couples to marry.

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