Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott
has dismissed the idea of holding a public vote on marriage equality.
Abbott spoke after Irish voters
overwhelmingly (62%) agreed to amend the Constitutions of Ireland to
allow gay and lesbian couples to marry, making it the first nation to
do so through a public vote.
voters resoundingly approve gay marriage.)
Like Ireland, polls indicate that a
majority of Australians support marriage equality.
“Under the constitution, questions of
marriage are the preserve of the Commonwealth Parliament,” said
Abbott, an opponent of marriage equality. “I don't think
anyone is suggesting the constitution needs to be changed in this
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said it
was time for Australia to deal with the issue.
“If the Irish people can vote in
favor of marriage equality, the question has to be asked, what is
Tony Abbott's problem with it?” he rhetorically asked. “Most
places in the world are dealing with marriage equality. Why is Tony
Abbott stopping Australia [from] becoming a more modern nation?”
Liberal Democrat senator David
Leyonhjelm, who has introduced a same-sex marriage bill, said that
the Irish vote might improve prospects for his legislation.
“I think what's happened in Ireland
is going to be good for [the] potential of my bill to get through and
get a positive vote,” he said during a Sky News appearance.