Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has promised to prioritize gay marriage if re-elected.

Rudd made his pledge during a televised debate Saturday against Tony Abbott, Leader of the Opposition in the Australian House of Representatives and federal leader of the Liberal Party.

Rudd said that he supported marriage equality “as a mark of decency to same-sex couples across the country who wish the same loving, caring relationship that, for example, I have had with Therese, my wife now for the last 32 years, and for that to be formalized.”

“My commitment to you is that within the first 100 days of a re-elected government a bill would come forth to legalize marriage equality.”

The Labor leader promised a conscience vote on the issue for MPs in his party and he “appealed to Abbott to do the same because folk out there want this to happen.”

Acknowledging that his openly gay sister, Christine Forster, was in the audience with her partner, Abbott said that he understood that this was “a very important issue” but added that it would not be his priority.