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kevinrudd“I’m the first Prime Minister of Australia to be a full signed up supporter of marriage equality,” Kevin Rudd proudly confirmed in a press conference today.

He issued a challenge to Opposition Leader Tony Abbott – that he should allow his Coalition MPs their own individual vote on the issue next time it comes up in Parliament, like the Labor Party did last year.

“Whoever wins the next election, let’s just have the civility to open this to a conscience vote for all,” said Rudd today.


If both sides can’t agree to a conscience vote on marriage equality, the Prime Minister also suggested a referendum to confirm Australian voters’ opinions on the reform.

“But I would much prefer to have this thing [same-sex marriage] just resolved,” he added.

“I would like to see it done. Frankly, it causes so many people such unnecessary angst out in Australia, in the gay and lesbian community.”

Since he became Prime Minister again on Wednesday, several local marriage equality advocates have welcomed Rudd’s return to the top job.

But many won’t like his referendum idea though. When it was suggested by Independent MP Tony Windsor earlier this year, Australian Marriage Equality national director Rodney Croome felt it would be an unnecessary, divisive and costly venture.

“I am confident Australians would vote ‘yes’ for marriage equality but I fear a referendum campaign would quickly become a platform for the kind of fear-mongering and hatred that damage the lives of gay and lesbian people and that have no place in this country,” Croome explained.

“I’m also concerned that the outcome won’t resolve the issue because a plebiscite on the Marriage Act won’t be binding and a referendum on the constitutional marriage power won’t change the Marriage Act.”

“In both cases we end up right back where we are now – with the issue in the hands of our politicians.”

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