The Courier-Mail

TOUGH RUN-UP TO GAY MARRIAGE BILL

- LEIGH VAN DEN BROEKE

PRIME Minister Tony Abbott says he will not back a Labor same-sex marriage Private Member’s Bill expected to be introduced to Parliament by Opposition Leader Bill Shorten.

While Mr Abbott yesterday completed what he called the “torture” of Sydney’s gruelling uphill 420m Balmoral Burn fun run (pictured), more than a thousand protesters joined a Sydney rally calling for same-sex marriage rights.

The rally, in the wake of historic reforms in Ireland, came a day before Opposition Leader Bill Shorten was scheduled to introduce his same-sex marriage Private Member’s Bill into Parliament.

Mr Abbott saidd yesterday he wouldd not support Mr Shor--ten’s offer of biparti--sanship.

Mr Shorten gave e the Government the eed d

opportunit­y to second the Bill rather than Deputy Labor leader Tanya Plibersek but Mr Abbott said he had bigger issues to deal with.

“I’ve made it very clear that while this is an important issue the Government has an absolute focus right now on getting the Budget measures through Parliament,” he said yesterday.

Several senior Liberal MPs, including Warren Entsch, are believed to be discussing a cross-party Bill for same-sex marriage which is likely to be introduced later in the year.

Mr Abbott’s sister and City of Sydney councillor Christine Forster (below) spoke at the rally accompanie­d by her partner Virginia Edwards. “Why wouldn’t I want to marry this beautiful woman as soon as possible?” she said. “We ar are now really on th the cusp of achieving something th that’s been coming fo for so many years. I’m just as impa patient as you are fo for this to happen.”

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