Admittedly, Prime Minister Julia Gillard has had bigger fish to fry this week. Just a bit.
But the pesky same-sex marriage question hounds her at every opportunity and surfaced again on Sky News last week when host David Speers asked her, before NSW Labor’s State Conference, if she would listen to Party members if a motion in support of same-sex marriage passed.
Her response should send alarm bells to advocates who may been under the misapprehension that a change in Labor Party platform at the Party’s National Conference in December would be the final hurdle.
“The National Conference doesn’t ever set government positions,” Gillard told Speers.
“What National Conference does is it sets the platform, the aspirations for our political party but always government, Labor Caucus in government makes decisions on government policy.”
With all eyes firmly fixed on the December Conference as the moment Labor sheds it backwards opposition to gay marriage, the fight looks set to be far longer and thornier.
The Gillard Government, so far, seems to have pulled off what was once thought near-impossible — setting a price on carbon.
Which begs the question — could it really be easier to undertake one of the country’s biggest environmental and tax reforms than to change marriage laws to give same-sex couples equality?
While US President Barack Obama has eventually conceded to “evolving” feelings on same-sex marriage, Gillard has chosen to box herself in.
Let’s hope this doesn’t become the issue that wedges her in the same way former Prime Minister John Howard forced himself into a corner refusing to apologise to the Stolen Generations, because we all know the outcome of that.
With almost all state Labor branches voting in support of change, there’s never been a better chance of Labor moving to sort this issue out once and for all.
Change in December could be all the excuse Gillard needs, if only she would start a bit of ‘evolution’ herself.