Labor’s Marriage Equality Bill Promise Welcomed

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Senator Louise Pratt

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Senator Louise Pratt

Labor Senator Louise Pratt, who has actively campaigned for a change to the marriage act, has welcomed the Prime Minister’s commitment to introduce a Marriage Equality bill within the first hundred days of a re-elected Rudd government.

The Prime Minister made the commitment during Sunday night’s leader’s debate.

“Marriage Equality will be an important issue at this election,” Senator Pratt told OUTinPerth shortly after the announcement, “Tonight’s debate shows how Kevin Rudd is a leader who can look to the future and respond to the challenges and opportunities ahead. Tony Abbott is stuck in the past.”

Senator Pratt said, “We have in Kevin Rudd a Prime Minister who understands that marriage equality is about protecting the importance of the institution of marriage into the future.  If it is to survive it needs to be available to all committed couples.

“In contrast, Tony Abbott when asked about this issue could only reflect on his previous opposition to it. He failed to offer any commitment or a path forward.

Rainbow Labor Convenor Neil Pharoah highlighted that Australia falling behind on marriage equality is likely to cause challenges for multinational companies and said the issue was also one of productivity.

“Lack of Marriage Equality here makes Australia a difficult place for corporates to move their workers to. It hurts us economically and shows us backwards compared to other nations,” said Pharoah.

Rodney Croome National Convener of Australian Marriage Equality welcomed the statements made by both leader’s during the debate.

“Mr Rudd’s plan for prioritising marriage equality in the first 100 days of a Labor Government is an important step forward, but he can’t achieve this reform himself, putting the onus back on Tony Abbott to allow a conscience vote.”

“Our hope that Tony Abbott will allow a conscience vote has been strengthened by his declaration during the debate that marriage equality is ‘a very important issue’ and the fact he pointedly didn’t defend the status quo or argue against the reform.”

Mr Croome said Australia had come along way since the last election debate when both major parties leaders openly defended the exclusion of same sex couples.

Shelly Argent, spokesperson for Parent’s and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) said this issue should be a priority for the opposition leader, Mr Abbott.

Speaking to Australian Associated Press, Ms Argent said, “It is time my son and Tony Abbott’s sister were shown the respect they deserve and have their relationships properly recognised.”

Ms Argent argued that Mr Abbott should give members of parliament their democratic right to vote as they choose on the issue.

Read More

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