AUSTRALIANS COULD VOTE ON GAY MARRIAGE

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Prime Minister Kevin Rudd

Recently reinstated Australian Prime¬†Ministe Kevin Rudd is not only the country’s first leader to back gay marriage but has suggested a referendum on the issue.

When he was last Prime Minister Rudd opposed marriage equality, but in May he revealed in a blog post that he had changed his mind on same-sex marriage and was now in support of legalising civil gay marriages.

“I have come to the conclusion that church and state can have different positions and practices on the question of same sex marriage. I believe the secular Australian state should be able to recognise same sex marriage,” he wrote.

On Thursday, he went a step further and, at his first press conference since ousting former Prime Minister Julia Gillard, called on political parties to allow their MPs to vote on the issue according to their personal views.

He in particular urged opposition leader Tony Abbott, who is against gay marriage, to allow Liberal Party MPs a conscience vote on marriage equality in parliament.

“If he doesn’t, then I think we then have to look at other mechanisms, including the possibility of recourses to plebiscite or referendum,” Rudd said.

He added: “Wherever I go in Australia, it just hits you in the face what young people think about this, which is that our current arrangements are just wrong and offensive to people.”

Recent polls have shown that over 60% of Australians support marriage equality.

Rudd was first Prime Minister from December 2007 to June 2010, after which he was ousted by Julia Gillard from the same Labor Party. This week, Gillard – who rejected the legalisation of same-sex marriage – was removed by her colleagues and Rudd was reinstated as the party leader and Prime Minister.

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