Australian government minister supports gay marriage

Kate Ellis brings total of 35 MPs who publicly support marriage equality, but not enough to pass a bill

Australian government minister supports gay marriage
21 March 2012

Kate Ellis, MP for Adelaide and Minister for Employment Participation and Childcare, has added her support to the campaign for gay marriage in Australia.

Currently, 30 Australian Labor Party MPs, three Liberal Party MPs, one Greens MP and one Independent MP have publically voiced their support for gay marriage, according to research from Australian Marriage Equality. They add up to a total of 35 MPs out of 150 in the House of Representatives, not enough to pass the two marriage equality bills currently being examined by parliament.

Alex Greenwich, national convener of Australian Marriage Equality says: ‘Minister Ellis is one of many high profile supporters of reform in the Labor party. Her support is representative of her electorate, the membership of the SDA, and Labor's grass root supporters.’

The SDA is the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association, the largest trade union in Australia, of which Ellis is a member. The SDA is led by Joe De Bruyn, an opponent of gay marriage.

‘The union movement stands for fairness and equality, and the SDA's membership is largely young Australians who work in the retail sector, and are one of the highest demographics of support for marriage equality,’ says Greenwich.

To conclude his statement, Greenwich says: ‘The campaign for equality continues to win over hearts and minds in the public and the parliament. Clearly the Prime Minister was correct when she said marriage equality is inevitable.’

But although he cites PM Julia Gillard’s description of gay marriage as ‘inevitable’, it doesn’t mean that it will happen this year. Despite public support for marriage equality, the issue needs majority support in parliament for a change in the law. 

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