In a blog post, former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, and leadership rival for current leader Julia Gillard, has declared his support for same-sex marriage.
Rudd, who is a current Australian Labor Party backbencher said: ‘I have come to the conclusion that church and state can have different positions and practices on the question of same sex marriage. I believe the secular Australian state should be able to recognize same sex marriage.’
He urged his party’s leader, Prime Minister Julia Gillard and opposition leader Tony Abbott to evolve their views on gay marriage and amend the federal marriage act.
Both Gillard and Abbott are opposed to gay marriage, both expressing support for the marriage act in its present form as a male and female union only.
Rudd admits that within his family he has: ‘Long been regarded as the Last of the Mohicans on this one. The kids have long thought I’m an unreconstructed dinosaur for not supporting marriage equality legislation.’
In September, Rudd was against legalizing same sex marriage in a parliamentary conscious vote. But following a chat with an unnamed former political staff member, who revealed he was gay and that he had told his pastor he would like to get married one day to ‘another bloke’, Rudd began to reflect on his own Christian views on same sex marriage.
Marriage Equality advocates have welcomed Rudd’s support to amend the federal marriage act to allow same-sex couples to marry.
Australian Marriage Equality national director, Rodney Croome, said: ‘Mr Rudd has joined a majority of Christian Australians in supporting marriage equality. His journey is reflective of the one many people across the country have gone on to support equality for same-sex couples.’
‘If Mr Rudd can show the maturity and integrity to compassionately evolve on this issue, so can the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition.’
Croome said Rudd’s references to his faith in the statement were significant.
‘Mr Rudd also highlights the importance of marriage to people of faith. Many of whom also want same-sex couples to share in its benefits and responsibilities.’
Kevin Rudd will now have an opportunity to vote for marriage equality on the 6th of June when Green MP Adam Bandt’s Marriage Equality Bill is debated in parliament.