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Finance minister says Australian gay marriage debate ‘won’t lose in the medium term’

Senator Penny Wong says ‘I think that we might lose this vote but we won’t lose the argument and we certainly won’t lose, in the medium term, the campaign’
Senator Penny Wong, Australian Finance Minister

Australia’s lesbian finance minister has admitted it is unlikely marriage equality supporters will win this week’s Senate vote, but she says they won’t lose out in the long-term. 

‘I think that we might lose this vote but we won’t lose the argument and we certainly won’t lose, in the medium term, the campaign,’ Senator Penny Wong said on ABC Radio this morning.

‘The aspiration for equality is a very powerful one and for many people this is about the people they care about most in the world.’

Glossing over Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s lack of support for the issue, Wong blamed opposition leader Tony Abbott for the failure of the marriage equality campaign this time.

‘The person I think who is most responsible for the fact we likely won’t succeed on this occasion is Tony Abbott who doesn’t want the party of individual freedom, the Liberal Party, to actually have a free vote on this,’ Wong said.

The Senate is expected to vote in the next 24 hours on the Marriage Amendment Bill, the first of four bills currently before parliament legislating for same-sex marriage.

Yesterday and today the Senate has heard speeches for and against marriage equality representing the full spectrum of viewpoints.

These ranged from National Senator Ron Boswell who said same-sex marriage is a ‘severe attack on the family’ to Labor Senator Louise Pratt’s personal plea:

‘We exist, we already exist, our relationships exist, our children exist, our families exist, our marriages exist and our love exists. All we ask is that you stop pretending that we don’t.’

Watch Pratt’s moving speech here:  

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