Saturday, 20 August 2011

Idea of gay marriage slowly expands in Australia

TEN days out from the 2010 election, Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott fronted a forum of undecided voters at Rooty Hill RSL, in Sydney's west. It was a media circus, to be sure, but it was also mercifully unscripted, perilous for the leaders, and all too rare in our politics.

One of the moments that lives in the mind was when Janice Waters from Old Toongabbie challenged the Prime Minister on same-sex marriage. Gillard reeled off Labor's policy and her own belief: marriage was between a man and a woman and there would be no change to the Marriage Act.

"I'm a taxpayer," the determined Waters replied. "I'm a law-abiding citizen, and I want to be able to say to that woman that I love, 'Will you marry me?', not 'Will you civil union me?' " The rousing applause that followed showed three things: an audience that felt free to stick it to the Prime Minister, a feeling there was a gap between what Gillard had just said and what was really in her heart, and some evidence that out here in the burbs, confronted with such personal ardour, folks were more relaxed about gay marriage than the woman who was seeking their votes.

-Full analysis at The Australian

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