Australia's Prime Minister, Julia Gillard has finally met with representatives from Equal Right Lobby Group, Australian Marriage Equality in an official capacity to hear views on gay marriage.
The Prime Minister's vocal and public opposition to Equal Marriage rights has put her in contrast to the majority of her own party, who's state branches have also majoritivly been ovting in favour of equal marraige rights...
A recent poll by AME found three quarters of Australians believe gay marriage will soon be a reality.
The meeting was attended by former Australian Medical Association President, Kerryn Phelps and her wife, Jackie Stricker-Phelps; Australian Marriage Equality (AME) campaign director, Rodney Croome; same-sex mental health specialist, Paul Martin and Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) national spokesperson, Shelley Argent.
Professor Phelps and Mrs Stricker-Phelps discussed with the Prime Minister their difficulties in having an overseas marriage which is not recognised in Australia, before giving her letters written by their children about the need for equality. Professor Phelps said: “I am very pleased we have opened a dialogue with the Prime Minister and hope to continue to talk to her about this issue”.
All attendees brought up issues ranging from mental health, national pride, equality for all citizens and more to the Prime Minister.
Mr Martin said “I felt Ms Gillard listened respectfully and seemed to take on board what I was saying. She accepted information about marriage equality and mental health from a recent statement by the American Psychological Association.”
Mrs Argent said the meeting was a great opportunity to let Ms Gillard know the importance parents put on the issue of marriage equality for their sons and daughters.
“We gave her another perspective on an issue that not only affects couples but their families and friends.”
“The meeting gave me hope that if the National Conference is positive on this issue she won’t stand in the way of marriage equality being presented to Parliament.”