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Australian Prime Minister Dines with Gay Couples

Australian Prime Minister Dines with Gay Couples


Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard dined with two lesbian couples and a pair of gay men on Tuesday and told them that marriage equality would assuredly happen in the country, although she remains opposed to changing the law.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the couples, including two mothers who brought their young sons, lobbied Gillard, who met them with her common law partner, the former hairdresser Tim Mathieson, at the Lodge, the official residence of the Prime Minister in Canberra.

While Gillard said that she remains opposed to changing the law that says only a man and woman can marry, she told the couples that as more countries embrace marriage equality, it puts pressure on Australia, according to the Herald. The Australian Labor Party voted last year to change its platform to support same-sex marriage, and party members will be allowed to vote their consciences when private members' bills come to a vote.

According to the Associated Press, three separate bills have been introduced in Parliament, although no votes have been set and it remains unclear whether the measures will attract enough support. The conservative opposition coalition and other lawmakers are opposed to changing the law, but polls show a majority of Australians support same-sex marriage.

The couples were sent to the dinner by GetUp!, the progressive action group responsible for the "It's Time" marriage equality video, after the group paid $33,270 to outbid a Christian lobbying group at a charity auction. The prime minister's office also invited Alex Greenwich, spokesman for Australian Marriage Equality.

Greenwich told the Associated Press that he left the dinner with a favorable impression.

"We all got the impression that her opposition was not immovable," he said.

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