Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott
on Monday said that “it's okay to be gay,” but added that he
remains opposed to marriage equality.
During a radio appearance, Abbott was
asked whether he had seen a
video by Lachlan Beaton, who says that he kept his sexuality
hidden for 12 years because he felt it was wrong to be gay.
Abbott answered that he had not seen
the video but was aware of its content.
“[W]hat this gentleman wants is
someone to say that it's okay to be gay and look, I'm happy to say
that,” Abbott said. “I'm very happy to say that.”
Earlier this month, Abbott's decision
not to allow a free vote on the issue effectively doomed a proposed
gay marriage bill. Abbott promised to hold a public vote on
legalizing such unions if his government is re-elected next year.
Critics, however, point out that such votes are not binding.
“I take the traditional position that
marriage is between a man and a woman,” Abbott said Monday, adding
later that he would accept “wholeheartedly” the people's decision
if they voted to support such unions.
“So I'm not saying that change is out
of the question, I'm just saying that if there is to be change, it
should be change that's owned by the people, not just by the
parliament,” he said.