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Australia gay marriage bid gains speed

Monday, June 01, 2015 - 01:37

Australia's opposition Labor Party launches a bill to legalise same-sex marriage. Paul Chapman reports.

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Labor is the first major Australian political party to throw its weight behind calls to legalise same-sex marriage with a parliamentary bill. (SOUNDBITE) (English) FEDERAL OPPOSITION LEADER AND LEADER OF THE LABOUR PARTY, BILL SHORTEN, SAYING: "On marriage equality, for too long, we in this parliament have been following, not leading. It is within our power to change this. This parliament can change a law that no longer describes modern Australia and pass a law of which we can all be proud. Let us delay no more. Let us embrace a definition of marriage that respects values and includes every Australian. Let us declare in the house of the Australian people, it is time." Prime Minister Tony Abbott says he has other priorities. (SOUNDBITE) (English) AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER, TONY ABBOTT, SAYING: "I accept that same-sex marriage is a significant issue. It's an important issue. It's important to many people. But frankly, this Government's absolute fundamental priority in the budget session of Parliament is to get the most urgent budget measures through and by far the most urgent budget measure is the small business budget boost, so that's what I'm focused on." Abbott's sister Christine Forster and her partner Virginia Edwards were among the hundreds at a rally in Sydney on Sunday pushing for marriage equality. (SOUNDBITE)(English) CHRISTINE FORSTER, SISTER OF PRIME MINISTER TONY ABBOTT AND CITY OF SYDNEY LIBERAL COUNCILLOR, SAYING: "We need to take the politics out of it now. It's too important to too many people to play political games with something like marriage equality." A survey of 1, 000 Australians a year ago found 72 per cent in favour of same-sex marriage. Labor's proposal to legalise it is the first by a leader of a major political party in Australia. It adds to the pressure for a vote sooner rather than later after Ireland's landslide 'yes' referendum last month.

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Australia gay marriage bid gains speed

Monday, June 01, 2015 - 01:37