Same-sex marriage is still illegal in Australia, despite long efforts by activists, but one of the country’s top leaders made headlines for being caught on tape with an optimistic prediction.
“We have to deliver a couple of things and one of those we’ve got to deliver before too long is marriage equality in this country,” said defense minister Christopher Pyne in an audio tape obtained by syndicated columnist Andrew Bolt and reported all over the country.
“We’re going to get it,” Pyne says. “I think it might even be sooner than everyone thinks. And your friends in Canberra are working on that outcome.”
Canberra is home to Parliament, which last year voted down a plan to hold a non-binding, national referendum on marriage equality when some lawmakers said a question of civil rights shouldn’t be decided by popular opinion. That’s an opinion that a survey last year by Just Equal found is shared by 85 percent of LGBT Australians.
Pyne is a close ally of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who has publicly supported marriage equality. And Bolt claimed the tape “suggests the prime minister is secretly plotting to break an election promise to hold a people’s vote to decide this divisive issue.” In Australia, his column has led to conservative headlines such as “Minister’s Divisive Same-Sex Boast,” which reports the audio tape recorded during a reception at a bar included “explosive remarks.”
Marriage equality opponents appear increasingly concerned that efforts like "Make It Law" — a grassroots campaign targeting lawmakers that calls for a vote in Parliament — are gaining popular support.