Tony Abbot Vs Same Sex Couples

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 By Jason Taylor

Hundreds of Australian same-sex couples travel overseas every year to marry because they can’t marry in Australia. But when they return home their marriages aren’t recognised and their solemn vows of lifelong commitment count for nothing Australian Marriage Equality explained.

According to the latest Census of 2013 at least 1300 Australian same-sex couples have been forced overseas to marry. The number of Australian “marriage refugees” will increase dramatically when same-sex marriages begin in New Zealand and Britain later this year. But Australian law explicitly bans the recognition of these marriages which is disrespectful to the couples involved and the countries they have married in.

Gay couples who wed in Canberra at the weekend of (14/12/13) knew they ran the risk that their marriages would be knocked down by the High Court, Prime Minister Tony Abbott says.

The Prime Minister reiterated his opposition to legalising same-sex marriage in Australia and would not commit to a conscience vote for his MPs and senators if a bill came before the Federal Parliament.

But Marriage Equality advocates said on the same day they believed national reform of marriage laws was still achievable, following earlier comments by senior cabinet minister Malcolm Turnbull that Coalition MPs were likely to be given a conscience vote.

Mr Turnbull earlier raised the possibility of a conscience vote for Coalition MPs on gay marriage but Mr Abbott was non-committal in the post-COAG news conference.

”Plainly, as a result of the decision of the High Court yesterday, it is a matter, should it be changed, for the Federal Parliament,” the Prime Minister said. ”You know my position, I don’t think it should change and I suspect that even up here among my fellow first ministers, there will be a range of views.

Earlier this same year the Australian Government revoked its ban on issuing same-sex couples with the documents they needed to marry overseas. Now it’s time to revoke the ban on legally recognising these marriages.

Fourteen countries currently allow Australians to enter same-sex marriages. Several already recognise foreign same-sex marriages even though they don’t perform such marriages themselves.

The world’s largest religions vary widely in their views on same-sex marriage. For example, among larger Christian denominations the Roman Catholic Church’s official position is to oppose same-sex marriage, as does the Orthodox Church, some Protestant churches, a majority of Muslims, Hindu nationalists, and Orthodox Jews. Buddhism is considered to be ambivalent on the subject as a whole. On the other hand, many churches and denominations, including a number of progressive and liberal Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Jews and Hindus, as well as modern Hindu communities and Buddhism in Australia support same-sex marriage. Some smaller religions, as well as groups (religious or not) who embrace humanism, are also considered to be supportive.

Senator Sarah Hanson-Young has introduced a Bill to lift this ban. This is the Australian Parliament’s final chance before the election to represent the majority of Australians who support marriage equality and to show the world that Australia has a heart.

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