Lawmaker Doubts Australia Will Allow Gay Marriage
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) - The chairman of an Australian parliamentary committee that examined gay law reform said Monday that he believes lawmakers will maintain a ban on same-sex marriage when the contentious issue is voted on later this year.
The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs received an unprecedented number of responses on the question - more than 276,000 - and 64 percent of them were in favor of allowing gay marriage. But the committee’s eight members were divided and made no recommendation in their report published Monday.
Committee chairman Graham Perrett, who has two gay brothers and supports gay marriage, said he does not believe a majority of lawmakers share his views.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard, an opponent of gay marriage, will allow members of her center-left Labor Party to make personal choices on how they vote on the legislation. But opposition leader Tony Abbott, a staunch Roman Catholic, will insist that members of his conservative Liberal Party reject gay marriage.
Perrett, a Labor lawmaker, said he believes lawmakers would reject gay marriage even if Abbott allowed members of his party a free vote.
"My reading of it is that would not be the case" that gay marriage would be allowed, Perrett told reporters.
Perrett noted that the captain of Australia’s rugby team, David Pocock, supported gay marriage.