News & Media

Nov 15, 2011
claireorourke

Gillard’s gay marriage stance “breaks hearts, but strengthens resolve”

Media Release – Australian Marriage Equality
Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

Marriage equality advocates are disappointed Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, has today affirmed her opposition to same-sex marriage and has tried to pre-empt the outcome of Labor’s National Conference by calling for a conscience vote. The Prime Minister’s comments are below and appear in an opionion piece published in Tuesday’s Age.

Australian Marriage Equality National Convener, Alex Greenwich, said Ms Gillard appears to be captive of the extreme right of the Labor Party led by union boss Joe De Bruyn, and is at odds with the mainstream of the Party and public opinion

“A majority of Australians, and Labor members and voters, want the Prime Minister to lead the country towards equality, not support outcomes designed to scuttle progress”, Mr Greenwich said.

Ms Gillard sites the “meaning” and “standing” of marriage in Australian culture as her basis for opposition. Mr Greenwich said these remarks will be viewed as hurtful and hypocritical to the many same-sex couples who want to marry:

“Same-sex couples and our families also want to celebrate the meaning of marriage, yet we are actively denied this by a Prime Minister who has chosen not to get married”.

Mr Greenwich urged delegates to the Labor National Conference to ignore the Prime Minister and Joe De Bruyn and support a a new Party Platform in favour of equality.

“The Labor Party has an historic opportunity to deliver marriage equality, and in doing so will prove they have returned to their core values of fairness and equality”

Mr Greenwich said Labor has a history of voting as a block on same-sex marriage.

“Labor voted as a block in 2004 to help John Howard ban same-sex marriage. To win back the trust and confidence of the majority of Australians who now support reform, the Party must vote as a block to deliver equality.”

Mr Greenwich said the Prime Minister’s position would simply prolong a potentially divisive debate that many within her Party want resolved.

“The last thing Labor wants is for this to be an issue at the 2013 national conference, but that’s exactly what will happen if the Prime Minister gets her way.”

“Those Australian families who are disadvantaged daily by this discrimination will keep on fighting for equality.”

“By again refusing to support equality, the Prime Minister may have broken our hearts, but she has strengthened our resolve.” Mr Greenwich said.

Writing for The Age, The Prime Minister states:

“I support maintaining the Marriage Act in its current form and the government will not move legislation to change it. My position flows from my strong conviction that the institution of marriage has come to have a particular meaning and standing in our culture and nation and that should continue unchanged.”

With reference to a conscience vote she states:

“This diversity of public opinion is reflected in the passionate debate inside the Labor Party. Given the personal nature of the issue and the deeply held beliefs, I believe that in future it is appropriate that a conscience vote flow to Labor parliamentarians.”

For more information contact Alex Greenwich on 0421 316 335 or visit http://www.australianmarriageequality.com