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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Gay marriage a 'basic human right'

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh

By Daniel Hurst -

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh has signalled she will personally champion the push to legalise same-sex marriage.
Ms Bligh last night also strengthened her language on the issue, saying marriage equality was “an issue of basic human rights and fairness”.
The comments came after the ALP Queensland conference voted in favour of allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry, despite Prime Minister Julia Gillard repeatedly voicing her opposition.
Sunday's motion called on federal Labor MPs and the party's national conference to support changes to the marriage act to ensure equality regardless of gender or sexual orientation.
The ALP's Tasmanian and South Australian branches have passed similar motions while the West Australian arm of the party is expected to add its support at its state conference next weekend.
Before setting off on a 10-day overseas trade trip last night, Ms Bligh said she was proud to see the ALP's Queensland branch back the move.
“I was very pleased to see marriage equality supported by the Labor conference,” she said.
“It's an issue of basic human rights and fairness.”
Ms Bligh said the motion would go to the federal party and as the national ALP president she would ensure the matter was discussed at the conference later this year.
Asked whether she would champion the issue, Ms Bligh said: “Yes.”
Ms Bligh used more cautious language on the issue last year, when she revealed to she supported allowing gay marriage.
At the time she said legal recognition for pairings based on love was “perfectly reasonable”, regardless of gender.
The renewed debate about gay marriage yesterday alarmed the Australian Christian Lobby, which called on the Labor party not to “discard its election promise on marriage”.
The conservative lobby group's chief of staff, Lyle Shelton, said delegates to the national ALP conference in December should continue to support marriage as being between one man and one woman.
“To have Labor fixated on a political trophy being sought by the activist component of 2 per cent of the population when ordinary Australians are more concerned about cost of living pressures and the social environment in which they raise their children risks alienating mainstream voters,” he said in a statement.
The Australian Marriage Equality lobby group argued changes to the Marriage Act had widespread community support.
Three in four Australians believe a legal change to allow same-sex marriage is inevitable, according to an AME-commissioned Galaxy poll of 1052 adults in May.
Last year, another Galaxy poll suggested that 62 per cent of Australians agreed that gay and lesbian couples should be able to marry.
The question was asked after the 1050 respondents were reminded that same-sex marriage had been legalised in countries such as Argentina, Canada, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa and Spain, as well as parts of the United States and Mexico.
That poll was also commissioned by AME and Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays.
In April, Queensland Liberal National Party leader Campbell Newman said he personally supported gay marriage but he did not detect a "strong move" in the community to change the law so he would not push for amendments.
He told Sky News there were "more important issues right now facing the people of Queensland".

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