Rudd makes gay marriage Australian election issueAgence France-Presse . Sydney
The Australian prime minister, Kevin Rudd, said on Monday it was time to end the ‘acrimonious’ debate on gay marriage, after he vowed to introduce a bill legalising same-sex unions if returned to office.
If re-elected on September 7, Rudd said Labor would introduce a bill within 100 days, becoming the first Australian leader to promise to support marriage equality.
‘Frankly, in 2013, I think the time has come to put this acrimonious debate behind us,’ the leader, who has previously been against gay marriage, told reporters on Monday.
Rudd, who is trailing conservative opposition leader Tony Abbott in opinion polls, said it was a reform millions of Australians had waited a long time to see become law.
‘I’ve been thinking about the meaning of marriage for a long time, and I won’t hide the fact that this has been a journey for me,’ he said.
‘But here is what I know: we are at our best when we give all Australians the same dignity, the same opportunity for happiness.
‘I believe that no matter who we love, we all should be able to make that same promise I was able to make to Therese over 30 years ago. That all of us should be allowed to marry the one we love,’ he added, referring to his wife Therese Rein.
Rudd initially promised to introduce the bill during the first leaders’ debate of the election campaign Sunday night.
Although his ruling Labor party formally changed its position on the issue in December 2011 to a pro-gay marriage stance, Rudd and his predecessor Julia Gillard have both historically been against the reform.
A conscience vote last September was defeated 98 votes to 42 after Abbott refused to allow opposition MPs to break with party lines, rendering it a null prospect. Both Gillard and Rudd voted no in the September ballot but Rudd, a Christian, has since changed his position.
He urged Abbott to allow politicians on his side to also be allowed a conscience vote so any legislation could be supported by parliamentarians from both major parties.
comments powered by Disqus
Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe on Monday said those upset by his disputed landslide election victory could ‘go hang’. The 89-year-old vowed never to let go of his victory as his opponent Morgan... Full story
Twice as fast as an airplane, cheaper than a bullet train and completely self-powered: that’s the mysterious transportation system for which inventor and entrepreneur Elon Musk is promising to reveal design plans on Monday. Full story
The number of people affected by this month’s flooding in Sudan has climbed to around 150,000 and is expected to rise further, the United Nations said on Monday. More than half the victims, 84,000, are in the area... Full story
Supporters of Egypt’s ousted president Mohamed Morsi marched defiantly through Cairo on Monday in a new show of force after the expiry of a government ultimatum to dismantle their huge protest camps. Full story
Pakistan summoned India’s deputy ambassador Monday to protest over the latest clashes in the disputed Himalayan territory of Kashmir that left one civilian dead. The Pakistani military accused India of ‘unprovoked firing... Full story
Iran’s parliament began debating on Monday the 18-member cabinet proposed by president Hassan Rowhani ahead of a vote of confidence later in the week. Addressing lawmakers at the start of the session, Rowhani said... Full story
Israel announced it will release 26 veteran Palestinian prisoners ahead of a resumption of peace talks on Wednesday, but at the same time angered Palestinians by approving new settlement construction. Full story
Prince Charles has had 36 private meetings with British Cabinet ministers in the last three years, and the large number has spurred accusations that the heir to the throne is meddling in politics. The Daily Mail newspaper compiled a list of... Full story
A volcano on a tiny Indonesian island that erupted at the weekend and killed five people spewed more clouds of red-hot ash on Monday, as hundreds of villagers were evacuated to safety. Full story
An Israeli-born software engineer shot his 9-year-old son to death before taking his own life during supervised visitation at a YWCA office, officials said on Sunday. An adult supervisor was present when Muni Savyon... Full story
The strongest typhoon to hit the Philippines this year flattened houses, caused flash floods and triggered landslides in remote towns on Monday, killing at least one person. With gusts of 200 kilometres an hour... Full story
Amnesty International says 9,000 people have lost homes and livelihoods and thousands more are threatened in a slum area of Lagos destroyed by armed police and bulldozers. Full story
An al-Qaeda affiliate said it carried out Saturday’s bombings in Iraq, which killed dozens of people, in response to a government campaign to arrest suspected militants, the SITE Monitoring group reported on Monday. Full story
Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner could lose control of Congress during the last two years of her presidency if the results of Sunday’s primary hold in Argentina’s midterm elections in October, but she made it clear that she... Full story
A 98-year-old Hungarian who topped the dwindling list of surviving Nazi war crimes suspects has died in hospital while awaiting trial for allegedly sending 12,000 Jews to the death camps. Full story
The British government says it is considering taking Spain to court if it does not ease border checks on traffic entering the disputed enclave of Gibraltar. Prime minister David Cameron’s office said Monday that legal action would be... Full story