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Australian Capital Territory to Legalize Marriage Equality This Year

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Katy GallagherThe Australian Capital Territory, essentially Australia's equivalent to Washington DC, is set to legalize same-sex marriage by the end of the year, becoming the first territory in the country to do so. The Guardian reports that ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher (pictured right) expects the marriage equality bill to pass and to be replicated across the country in the near future.

The legislation is set to be an early test for the prime minister elect, Tony Abbott (pictured below), who has consistently opposed same-sex marriage but has held out the prospect of a vote on the issue at some time in the future.

Gallagher told Guardian Australia that she didn't expect the Coalition to intervene to prevent gay marriage in the ACT.

"We've been pretty clear on this issue for some time now and there's overwhelming community support for this," she said.

Tony-Abbott"Any intervention won't be easy and we certainly don't want to be the first test of the new Senate. I think opposition to this has softened within politics in acknowledgment of the fact that the community has shifted its view in favor." [...]

A repeal of ACT marriage equality would have to pass both houses of the federal parliament, presenting a potentially tricky challenge for the Abbott government.

Gallagher said that she expected the ACT's stance on marriage equality to be replicated across Australia.

"I can see Tasmania is making a good effort in this area but we will be the first," she said. "I would expect that something will be put to the federal parliament in this term. The Labor party has led this debate nationally and I expect more and more people to support it. We have waited long enough for this."

Meanwhile, opposition forces have mobilized. Yesterday, the Australian Christian Lobby pressured the federal Labor party not to introduce any bills related to same-sex marriage.

"Any analysis of [the] election must take into account that this issue was front and centre of Labor's campaign but failed to attract votes amongst the broader Australian community," said Lyle Shelton, managing director of the ACL.

Tony Abbott, who defeated pro-equality Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in this month's elections, has brushed aside gay marriage as the "fashion of the moment."


Australian PM Kevin Rudd Destroys Anti-Gay Pastor on Marriage Equality: VIDEO

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Australian PM Kevin Rudd delivered a smackdown to an anti-gay pastor questioning Rudd's position on marriage equality:

When confronted by a question from the Christian man, who quoted the Bible as stating it was clearly wrong in the eyes of God, he said: "People don't choose their sexuality, they are born that way.

"The idea this is somehow an abnormal condition is wrong."

Mr Rudd said homosexuality was not an abnormal condition and the Bible also said "slavery was a natural condition".

"If you accept it to be natural and normal to be gay then it follows it is not right for two folk who love each other to be denied marriage," he said.

He said the Bible was about "universal love, loving your fellow man".

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Australian PM Kevin Rudd Destroys Anti-Gay Pastor on Marriage Equality: VIDEO" »


U.S. Ambassador To Australia Marries Longtime Partner

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U.S. Ambassador to Australia John Berry married his partner of 17 years, Curtis Yee, this past Saturday in Washington, D.C. The service was held at St. Margaret's Episcopal Church and was attended by family and close friends of the couple, including the Secretary Of the Department of the Interior, who joined the couple for a reception at their home following the ceremony. Berry was recently appointed to his new post by President Obama, making him the first out gay ambassador to a G-20 nation.

Australian Marriage Equality national convener, Rodney Croome, congratulated the couple and used the occasion to speak out about marriage equality in his own country:

"It's a happy time when any couple marries and I congratulate John Berry and Curtis Lee on their special day and wish them well for their married life together. Sadly, they join hundreds of other same-sex couples whose overseas same-sex marriages aren't recognised under Australian law. It will be a source of deep embarrassment for many Australians that our law fails to respect the marriage of the chief representative of our closest friend and ally, the United States."

Wedding2Though same-sex marriage is not legal in Australia, for the first time in a while, there is hope that may change. Australia's new Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has recently shown his support for legalizing same-sex marriage in the land of Oz. However, with a September 7 election looming it is uncertain whether Rudd will trounce his conservative opponent, Tony Abbott. Should Rudd win he has pledged to make marriage equality a reality within 100 days.

Commenting on the upcoming election, Croome added:

"Kevin Rudd's commitment is a reminder not just that marriage equality is important, but that it is urgent. This increases pressure on Tony Abbott to commit to a conscience vote so marriage equality can finally be passed...This election provides voters with the opportunity to vote for love, by electing candidates who support marriage equality."

You'll recall back in June Australia's previous Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, who opposed marriage equality, was ousted in favor of pro-equality minister Rudd

Congratulations to the happy couple!


Australian PM Kevin Rudd Promises Marriage Equality in 100 Days if Elected: VIDEO

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Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd promised to legalize same-sex marriage within the first 100 days in office if he beat Conservative opposition leader Tony Abbott in the September 7 election.

The Guardian reports:

Rudd said he supported legalising same-sex marriage "as a mark of decency to same-sex couples across the country who wish the same loving, caring relationship that, for example, I have had with Therese my wife now for the last 32 years, and for that to be formalised".

He promised Labor MPs would again have a conscience vote on the issue and he "appealed to Abbott to do the same because folk out there want this to happen".

Tony Abbott said he understood same-sex marriage was "a very important issue", acknowledging his gay sister, Christine Forster, who was in the National Press Club debate audience with her partner.

But he said the matter had been recently debated by the parliament and would not be a high priority for an incoming Coalition government. He said it would be up to the Coalition party room to decide whether Coalition MPs should get a conscience vote, if it ever came up in the future.

Watch the two candidates debate the issue, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Australian PM Kevin Rudd Promises Marriage Equality in 100 Days if Elected: VIDEO" »


Sister of PM Kevin Rudd Wants Australia to Implement a Russia-Like Ban on 'Gay Propaganda'

Loree Rudd, the sister of newly-elected and second-time Australian PM Kevin Rudd, says she thinks Australia should introduce a ban on "gay propaganda" like Russia, which she just visisted, News Limited Network reports:

Rudd"It's like he (Putin) can see the problem ahead," Ms Rudd, 62, who has just returned from a visit to Russia, said.

"I think that there should be a law (in Australia) protecting children from the propaganda of homosexuality as normal. They're trying to build their family life and structure in Russia and people in the West don't seem to understand our family life and structures are breaking down. I guess the bottom line, if there's one thing I can say that can't be challenged, it's that society needs to protect its children as best they can."

You may recall that Loree Rudd quit the Australian Labor Party in 2011 over its support for marriage equality. Kevin Rudd came out for marriage equality earlier this year.


Australian PM Kevin Rudd Wants a Vote on Marriage Equality

Earlier this week we reported that Australia had a new prime minister, Kevin Rudd, who recently endorsed marriage equality. Now Rudd has announced he wants to grant same-sex couples the freedom to marry, the WSJ reports:

RuddMr. Rudd said he wants a conscience vote for lawmakers on the issue, or to allow the nation to decide via a referendum.

"I am now the first prime minister of Australia who is a fully signed-up supporter of marriage equality," Mr. Rudd told reporters. "I would like to see this done. This causes so many people unnecessary angst out in Australia in the gay and lesbian community," he said.

The maneuver by Mr. Rudd, who has presented himself as a Churchgoing family man, is an attempt to broaden his appeal with voters beyond his traditional support base and sets up a clash with center-right leader, Tony Abbott.

Mr. Rudd was sworn in Thursday as prime minister after defeating rival Julia Gillard—an opponent of gay marriage—in a ballot that returned him to the party leadership three years after being toppled in an internal coup led by Ms. Gillard.

Advocates are happy for Rudd's support but concerned that a referendum would inspire a fear campaign:

Marriage equality advocates are thrilled the Mr Rudd has spoken about the issue in his first major media event, but do not support his call for a public vote. Mr Croome said a process of a referendum would be "unnecessarily expensive". He also said while he believed the majority of Australians would vote for marriage equality, he was concerned was about the process.

"We have consistently opposed a national plebiscite or referendum on marriage equality for a number of reasons," Mr Croome said. "It could potentially be deeply polarising, becoming a platform for fear-mongering against the gay and lesbian community, and we think that our politicians are elected to make these kinds of decisions, rather than hand-balling them back to the voters. It could be quite destructive... particularly for young, same-sex attracted people coming to terms with their sexuality. They don't need to see the kind of fear and hate campaigns that I feel would inevitably come out during a referendum."


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