AUSTRALIA: Gay Marriage Bill Introduced

Via the Sydney Morning Herald:

Labor leader Bill Shorten has introduced a bill to legislate same-sex marriage to near-empty government benches. Telling fellow MPs the “opportunity of a generation” was before them, Mr Shorten also drew on former prime minister Gough Whitlam’s famous line, “it’s time”. “Let this law reflect the nation we all want to see in the mirror,” the Labor leader said. “Generous, smart, modern, diverse and above all, equal.” Mr Shorten’s wife, Chloe, watched from the public galleries as he delivered a short speech, introducing a bill that would change the definition of marriage to “the union of two people”. Labor senators Penny Wong and Katy Gallagher and ACT chief minister Andrew Barr were also in the chamber. But despite the strong Labor showing, the Coalition side of the House of Representatives was almost empty, with less than a handful of government MPs in attendance. There is no obligation on the Coalition to watch a private member’s bill be introduced, other than the required number of duty MPs.

Christine Forster, openly lesbian sister of Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, says she’s confident that same-sex marriage will be approved by the end of the year.

I’ve always had full confidence that it was coming and that we would get there, and in the last few months, I’ve been increasingly confident that we would get there before the end of 2015,” she told ABC’s Lateline. Forster said it would be ‘one of the proudest moments of my life’ if reform came under the leadership of her brother, who is a Catholic and vocal opponent of gay marriage. “I think it’s highly appropriate that it would come under the prime ministership of Tony Abbott, because he is a wonderfully generously-spirited man,” she said. “‘He is a very good and fair and decent human being and he, at the end of the day, I’m sure, will understand that this is something that is good and fair for everybody and that it will be great for Australia.”

Watch Shorten introduce his bill.