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Australian PM stands firm against gay marriage

NZ PM denies there's demand for gay marriage, leader of the opposition stops short of 'formal support'
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard does not support gay marriage, despite 62% of Australians in favour of it

Despite President Obama speaking out in support of gay marriage, Australian PM Julia Gillard is standing firm in her opposition.

‘My view hasn’t changed and when a bill comes to parliament later this year I won’t be voting for it,’ she said on 774 ABC Melbourne. ‘I believe what I believe.’

Gillard’s opposition to gay marriage, which is supported by 62% of her electorate according to a Galaxy poll, is something of a mystery. She is an atheist who is unmarried but has lived with her partner Tim Mathieson since 2007.

Australian Marriage Equality campaign director Rodney Croome said: ‘If Barack Obama can support marriage equality in an election year, in a country where support for the issue is lower than in Australia, then our national leaders have no excuses.’

Australian leader of the opposition Tony Abbott is also against gay marriage.

Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, of the Australian Greens, who brought a marriage equality bill to the senate, said: ‘It’s time for our political leaders to accept that the Australian people have it right. Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott are on the wrong side of history.’

Meanwhile, across the Tasman Sea in New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said he didn’t believe there was demand for gay marriage in his country.

However, the Labour leader of the opposition David Shearer gave caveated support for gay marriage. ‘I fully support marriage equality in principle but would like to see the detail of any legislation before giving formal support,’ he said via Twitter.

Shearer’s deputy Grant Robertson is openly gay and wants his party to adopt full support for same-sex marriage.

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