A recent poll carried out in Australia revealed that a majority of its population is in favour of gay marriage. However, so far, it’s been a slow march down the aisle for gay equality.
Two successive Prime Ministers have strongly opposed reforming Australian marriage laws to allow gay and lesbians to wed. The current leader Kevin Rudd intervened earlier this year in his party’s internal push to modify policy on gay unions and gay marriage instructing there to be no change.
However, it seems a ground swell of support is pushing the country towards allowing gays and lesbians the right to tie the knot.
A survey carried out by Australian Marriage Equality found that 60% of Australians would support same-sex marriage, with 36% opposed and 4% undecided. It also found that 58% would support the recognition of same-sex marriages formed in other countries within Australian law.
Earlier this week the country’s first legally recognized gay civil ceremony took place in Canberra after a bill sponsored by the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Greens Party was approved. Many expected the federal government to overturn the new legislation as it has done similarly on three previous occasions, but so far the new law remains in place.
Leading Australian newspaper The Sydney Morning Herald also earlier this week ran an editorial headlined “Whatever the Gender, All Marriages Should Be Equal” in full support of lesbian and gay unions.
“It is time to end legal discrimination against gays and lesbians” the paper said “Spain has done it. So have Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, Norway and South Africa. All these nations have legalised same-sex marriage, without evident undermining of heterosexual marriage and the family relationships based upon it. And in Britain, Sweden, Switzerland, France, Germany and New Zealand, where the law allows same-sex civil unions or registered partnerships, there hasn’t been any shredding of the social fabric, either. Yet Australia, which likes to see itself as a tolerant, pluralist society, has not been able to go as far as deeply Catholic Spain in removing remaining forms of institutionalised discrimination against gay and lesbian people.”