Change of heart over gay mar­riage

7 Days in Dubai - - GLOBAL NEWS -

Aus­tralia’s op­po­si­tion leader yes­ter­day ex­plained his shift on gay mar­riage, which will be a key is­sue in this week­end’s elec­tions. The cen­tre-left Labour Party op­poses the con­ser­va­tive gov­ern­ment’s plan to hold a plebiscite this year to al­low the pub­lic a di­rect say on whether Aus­tralia should give le­gal recog­ni­tion to same-sex mar­riage. Op­po­si­tion leader Bill Shorten con­firmed a news­pa­per re­port, three days be­fore the elec­tion, that he had told Chris­tian church lead­ers in 2013 that he sup­ported hold­ing such a plebiscite. Labour’s po­si­tion now is that Par­lia­ment should make the de­ci­sion on same­sex mar­riage. Shorten cited as a rea­son for his change of heart the Ir­ish ref­er­en­dum in May last year in which 62 per cent of Ir­ish vot­ers called for their con­sti­tu­tion to be changed to al­low same-sex mar­riage. “That de­bate, whilst it was ul­ti­mately suc­cess­ful, did trig­ger some very ugly ar­gu­ments,” said Shorten. “I think the peo­ple of Aus­tralia, the ma­jor­ity of them, have clearly moved - even in the last two or three years - to sup­port­ing mar­riage equal­ity and all pop­u­lar opin­ion polls would seem to in­di­cate the truth of what I’m say­ing.” Both Shorten and Prime Min­is­ter Mal­colm Turn­bull sup­port same sex mar­riage, but dif­fer on how it should be achieved. Shorten has promised that if his party was elected the first leg­is­la­tion he would in­tro­duce to Par­lia­ment would be a bill to over­turn Aus­tralia’s ban on same-sex mar­riage.

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