A 20-year-old diver set to represent Australia at the 2008 Olympic Games in August has said that the country’s Prime Minister is “narrow-minded” for opposing marriage equality for gay couples.
When Matthew Mitcham casually mentioned to a reporter that he lives with his boyfriend Lachlan, he inadvertently generated headlines across the world.
In an in-depth interview with Sydney gay publication SX News, he spoke about coming out at 14, being a role model for gay youth and his unhappiness with Prime Minister’s attitude to gay marriage.
“Kevin Rudd’s opinion of marriage as something that’s only between a man and a woman is quite narrow-minded,” he said.
“During the election campaign he was all about appearing young and cool, but his views on gay marriage make him look quite old-fashioned.”
The Labour party took office last December, ending 11 years of conservative rule under John Howard.
Mr Rudd immediately denied rumours that his Labour government intends to legalise civil unions for gay and lesbian couples.
During the election campaign he repeatedly stated that he regards marriage as between a man and a woman, and he favours a form of registered partnerships.
“A relationships register, nationally consistent of the type we’ve had in Tasmania since 2004, we believe is a positive and productive way forward,” he said.
“Particularly if you add to it appropriate nationally uniform legislation and to remove any impediments to same sex couples in relation to inheritance law, taxation law and social security law.”
In 2004, under former Prime Minister John Howard, federal legislation banning same-sex marriage was passed.
Matthew Mitcham told SX News that he is completely focused on the Beijing Games.
“I’ve been diving since I was eleven, so it’s been nine years of work leading up to this,” he said.
Read the full interview with Matthew Mitcham here.