Australian opposition leader Bill Shorten has promised to introduce a gay marriage bill within his first 100 days if elected prime minister in 2016.
‘Same-sex couples have waited too long. Australia is trailing the world,’ the Labor Party leader said on Sunday (26 July).
‘The debate about marriage equality has simply gone on too long.’
The pledge came hours after he made a deal with Labor’s left faction to back a binding vote in favor of gay marriage if it is not legalized by the next parliamentary sessions.
Shorten said gay marriage could still be legalized by the current parliament and called on Prime Minister Tony Abbott to give Liberal MPs a free vote on the issue.
‘What the Labor Party does with this resolution is we lay down the challenge to Mr Abbott and his Liberals: Please give your members of parliament a free vote so we can make marriage equality a reality now,’ Shorten said.
Labor’s left faction welcomed the compromise resolution.
‘The current parliament has the numbers to pass marriage equality and should be allowed to,’ deputy leader Tanya Plibersek said.
‘I still hope we can have marriage equality by Christmas, but if this parliament doesn’t pass marriage equality, a Shorten Labor government will in its first 100 days’