Photo via WikiCommons/Kate Lundy
As Prime Minister of Australia, Labor leader Julia Gillard was outspoken about her opposition to marriage equality. Citing her feminist beliefs, she said that her stance stemmed from resistance to the concept of marriage in itself and the hope that, instead of inviting gay and lesbian couples into a problematic institution, civil unions could be a more fruitful way forward.
Today, despite the fact that there is widespread popular support for marriage equality, both at large and in parliament, current Prime Minister Tony Abbott has refused to allow members of his ruling Liberal-National Coalition to vote with their conscious. In order to placate the growing outcry for the legalization of marriage equality, Abbott has recently raised the idea of holding a national referendum, like that which was held in Ireland in May. At a recent at Melbourne College of Law, Gillard talked at length about how her stance has changed.
Below are some of her comments:
"The nature of Australia's contemporary debate on same sex marriage has caused me to re-examine some fundamental assumptions I have held about this debate."
"I voted against same sex marriage when changes came before the Federal Parliament. I ensured my political party had a conscience vote and I did not seek to influence the vote of any one within my political party on the legislation itself."
"Our parliamentarians have been called on to make decisions about peace and war, life and death, the pursuit of prosperity, the embrace of fairness."
"It is my respectful submission that our parliamentarians, in an exercise of good conscience, can make and should make any decision about same sex marriage."
[H/T Gay Star News]