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Gillard urged to come clean on gay marriage

Mon 16 Aug 2010 In: International News View at Wayback View at NDHA

Julia Gillard Australian same-sex marriage advocates are calling for Prime Minister Julia Gillard, to come clean about whether "the power of the churches" is holding the nation back from allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry. Former Labor leader Mark Latham has admitted he regrets supporting a Howard Government ban on same-sex marriages in 2004, blaming his decision on fear of being "denounced" by parish priests. Australian Marriage Equality National Secretary Peter Furness says churches can solemnise whatever religious marriages they wish, but when it comes to the civil institution of marriage, religious prejudice should not be allowed to stand in the way of legal equality for same-sex couples. "Many people find it hard to believe Julia Gillard personally opposes same-sex marriages, so now that Mark Latham has let the cat out of the bag we want Julia Gillard to come clean on whether it is religious prejudice which is standing in the way of our legal equality and civil rights." Latham told a Sydney radio show this morning, "I regret the fact that in 2004 I didn't tell the churches to go get nicked and Labor had a policy of allowing gay marriages. Most people who are reasonable about it recognise that love is the important thing." "If two people love each other, no matter their gender and their background, that's the thing that should define a good marriage, and society should respect that," he said. "Unfortunately parties are scared of the churches. If you're running for office, you don't want some parish priest denouncing you from the pulpit on Sunday before the election.... It's that power of the churches that holds it back." In 2004 the Howard Government introduced amendments to the Marriage Act explicitly declaring that marriage is between a man and a woman and blocking recognition of same-sex marriages from overseas. At the weekend up to ten thousand supporters of marriage equality rallied and marched in all state capitals and many regional centres to commemorate the ban. Protestors at the rally in Sydney on Saturday    

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Monday, 16th August 2010 - 6:23pm

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