Sydney, March 4 (IANS) Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has reiterated her rejection of gay marriages.
Her comments have come amid division within Labor party’s powerful Right faction, with Australian Workers Union national secretary Paul Howes Thursday backing gay marriage, putting himself at odds with other key right-wing powerbrokers, The Australian reported Friday.
On Wednesday, Gillard said she could overturn an earlier Labor decision, to back a Bill put forward by Australian Greens leader Bob Brown that would remove the ability of ministers to overturn territories’ laws.
Her comments followed anger from the Labor Right after Greens MPs in the ACT said that if the Brown bill were passed, they would renew a push to legalise same-sex marriage.
Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott Thursday cited the gay marriage push as evidence that the Australian Greens were running her government. But Gillard last night stood by her view that “marriage is between a man and a woman”.
Noting that Senator Brown’s Bill would retain the right of the federal parliament – as distinct from ministers – to overrule territory legislators, she said the federal Marriage Act would overrule gay marriage being given the same status as heterosexual marriage.
“This is a proposition about empowerment of territories that has been around for a long period of time,” she said of the Brown bill. “There’s nothing that anybody can do in a territory or state parliament that changes the federal Marriage Act.”
Despite her comments, the Rudd government and the Howard government used the ministerial veto power to quash past ACT attempts to legislate to allow gay marriage.
Gillard’s comments came after Australian Workers Union national secretary Paul Howes told The Australian: “I don’t think the state has any right to discriminate against people on the basis of their gender or their sexual orientation.”