Australia | Gay Marriage | Penny Wong

Openly Lesbian Australian MP Who Once Opposed Gay Marriage Now Comes Out In Support Of It

Australian Finance Minister Penny Wong, Australia's very first openly gay cabinet member, has gotten much heat from the LGBT community for her opposition of gay marriage. Looks like Wong is now personally in full support of marriage equality:

Wong The Sydney Morning Herald reports:

Senator Wong has been criticised in the past for putting her role as a cabinet minster ahead of her personal views and declining to support gay marriage.

At the state conference, she said she knew what it was like to be the subject of prejudice.

''I have had the opportunity to advocate for equality at the highest levels of our party and within our party processes, as I do today,'' she said. ''And I will do so at the next national conference. Talking about change is not the same as delivering it.''

The motion means South Australia and Northern Territory Labor branches have both changed policy in recent weeks to support gay marriage.

Alex Greenwich of the Australian Marriage Equality points out the significance of her announcement: "Senator Wong's public support for reform will not only make a difference when the issue is debated at the Labor national conference - it also reinforces the message to the Australian public that gay Australians are united in our desire for full legal equality."

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Comments

  1. That's not what's happening.

    Her "opposition" to same-sex marriage consisted of voting (in parliament) against same-sex marriage, because she was towing the party line. And that hasn't changed. She will continue to vote with her party in parliament against same-sex marriage, because that's how it works in the Australian Labor Party.

    All that's changed is that she's now publicly stating that she would like the party to change its policy. And really, everyone already knew she thought that.

    If towing the party line is the same as "opposing" same-sex marriage, then she's still "opposing" same-sex marriage.

    If it's her public statements that count, then she's gone from "neutral" to "supporting".

    In no way has she gone from "opposing" to "supporting".

    Posted by: Ted C. | Nov 28, 2010 10:33:48 PM


  2. Ted has it completely right. I'd add that while the party adhesion to this sucks right now, there are many in Labor who oppose same-sex marriage. So a conscience vote wouldn't lead to marriage as long as the Liberals are opposed. On the other hand, if the party continues to vote in lockstep, but a majority of the party changes the party's position on marriage (as will probably happen next year), you'll have all those in Labor opposed to same-sex marriage forced by party unity to vote for it, which makes it much likelier that it gets enacted.

    Posted by: Tyler | Nov 28, 2010 10:48:50 PM


  3. Part of the problem of representatives is that they cannot (read: should not) vote against the majority of their territories. It doesn't matter what they personally think.

    Which is why the U.S. is so screwed up. Congress almost NEVER votes as the people they represent would.

    Posted by: Craig in Portland | Nov 28, 2010 11:07:09 PM


  4. Alright, I'll be the first to say it....

    Wong was Wrong :)

    Posted by: CB | Nov 28, 2010 11:25:17 PM


  5. Ted, she has not voted against same-sex marriage. When it came up in the Senate she was conveniently absent. When discussing the policy she has always clearly stated the policy of the ALP, and personally, I think she has hinted very strongly that she disagrees with the policy.

    Posted by: Matt | Nov 29, 2010 1:41:17 AM


  6. Actually Penny Wong said she had to support the party line as a member of cabinet; she has made a point at the Labor conference of stating her personal view. It appears if enough ALP federal and/or State members of parliament make this assertion, the "official" party line may be changed. Historically, conference decided ALP policy agendas, so perhaps this is a return to the past. In any event, bravo Senator Wong.

    Posted by: alan wright | Nov 29, 2010 1:52:39 AM


  7. Senator Wong is a Lesbian? I never would have guessed.

    Sorry, couldn't resist.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Nov 29, 2010 2:34:50 AM


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