Prime Minister Abbott’s views on marriage remain unchanged

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Prime Minister Tony Abbott has told reporters that the historic US Supreme Court decision has not changed his views on marriage equality.

On Friday the USA’s highest court ruled denying same sex couples the right to wed was unconstitutional. The decision made same sex marriage legal across all 50 states.

When asked by reporters on Saturday morning if the US decision affecting his own stance against marriage equality Mr Abbott said the he remained opposed.

“What happens in the United States is obviously a matter for the United States, just as what happened in Ireland a few weeks ago is a matter for the Irish,” Mr Abbott said.

“Obviously there is a community debate going on, I have views on this subject which are pretty well known and they haven’t changed.”

Liberal frontbencher Christopher Pyne has said that while the courts would not be deciding this issue in Australia, the US decision would add momentum to the debate in Australia.

“There appears to be momentum growing worldwide towards marriage equality,” Mr Pyne said.

Mr Pyne said he expects the Parliament will debate the issue of gay marriage before the next election.

“When we come back in spring, there’s every possibility that will be back on the agenda and there’ll be a vote on it and Parliament will either own it or defeat it,” he said.

Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull, a supporter of marriage equality, echoed Mr Pyne’s comments about the marriage equality movement having a growing momentum.

“There has been a sea change around the world … The trend is only going one way,” Mr Turnbull told ABCTV on Sunday morning.

The Greens LGBTII and marriage equality spokesperson, Senator Janet Rice, said her party were committed to bringing a vote on the issue before parliament before the end of the year.

“This is the loudest call yet for marriage equality in Australia,” Senator Rice said in a statement, “We clearly have some catching up to do here.”

Senator Rice said the Greens would work with all parties to move the issue of marriage equality forward.

Leader of the Opposition Bill Shorten has renewed his call for the Prime Minister to allow Liberal party politicians a free vote on the issue.

“I invite Mr Abbott again, if the Parliament resumes, to take up the promise that he made and we’ve extended, to have a free vote in the Liberal Party on marriage equality,” Mr Shorten said.

Pressure is growing on the Prime Minister to allow a free vote. On Thursday  the lower house of the New South Wales parliament unanimously passed a motion calling on the Prime Minister to allow coalition MPs a conscience vote on marriage equality.

The motion was put forward by independent MP Alex Greenwich. The result was welcomed by lobby group Australian Marriage Equality. National Director Rodney Croome said NSW’s Liberal Premier Mike Baird had shown great leadership on this issue.

“The NSW Legislative Assembly is the first Coalition-dominated chamber in Australia to send the Federal Coalition the message that it’s time for a marriage equality free vote,” Mr Croome said.

“[Mr] Baird has shown great leadership by allowing members of the NSW Coalition Government a free to vote on marriage equality despite his opposition to the reform and Tony Abbott should now show the same leadership by paying Federal Government MPs the same respect.”

Prior to the last federal election Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the issue of a free vote regarding marriage equality would be a decision for the party room. Despite three pieces of legislation for marriage equality being put before the parliament the issue has yet to be raised.

OIP Staff

 

 

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