PM's view on marriage 'hurtful' to same-sex couples
Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s continued stance against same-sex marriage has been labelled “hurtful and embarrassing” by marriage equality advocates.
The comments follow the Prime Minister’s appearance on ABC’s Q&A program where she was asked by Sydney plumber and Vietnam veteran Geoff Thomas why his son, Nathan, should not be allowed to marry his long-term partner.
“I of all people would sit before you and say I think you can have a relationship of love, and commitment and trust and understanding that doesn't need a marriage certificate associated with it," Gillard said.
"That is my life experience and I'm speaking from that life experience. It then becomes a question if you believe as I do that people can have deep and committed relationships without a marriage certificate.
“I've taken a particular view about it. It's a view that some might look at me and think that it is an odd one for her to hold but it is one that I hold very deeply.”
Australian Marriage Equality national convener Alex Greenwich said these latest comments from the Prime Minister would be seen as hurtful to many Australian same-sex couples.
"The Prime Minister is able to choose not to marry, however this choice is denied to many same-sex couples who desperately want to celebrate the traditions of marriage and have the legal protection, security and recognition that comes with marriage,” he said.
"The Prime Minister may not want to marry herself, but most Australians value the importance of marriage greatly, and as such want their gay and lesbian friends to have equal access and be treated as equal citizens by the Marriage Act.
"Australia is the only developed English-speaking country without a major party leader who supports marriage equality. This concerns Australians as much as it confuses the world."
While the Prime Minister opposes same-sex marriage it has been revealed that MPs who support it have been receiving an onslaught of hate mail and offensive material.
Finance Minister Penny Wong, Leader of the House Anthony Albanese, Greens Sarah Hanson-Young and Adam Bandt and NSW Liberal MP Catherine Cusack are amongst the politicians dealing with the angry responses to their position on marriage equality.
Greens’ human rights and LBGTI spokesperson Sarah Hanson-Young told blaze the majority of messages her office receives are in line with most Australians who support changing the Marriage Act.
“But I've also received negative emails and phone calls from people who are against the Greens' stance on marriage equality,” she said.
“These people aren't interested in debating, they just want to be nasty. You can't reason with their homophobia.
“Attacks on politicians, including myself, are fuelled by Tony Abbott's refusal to grant the Coalition a conscience vote on marriage equality.”
Greens MP Adam Bandt, whose marriage equality bill is before the Senate inquiry, described the messages as “vitriolic”.
''It is unfortunate that supporters of equal love are the target of abuse and I hope it doesn't become an inevitable part of the path to equality,'' he said
“'The attacks and homophobia we have all experienced on Twitter, Facebook and the street will not deter us from standing up for what is right.”