Kevin Rudd, the prime minister of Australia, has been challenged by his party to pass legislation allowing gay marriage.

The Australian Labor Party in the state of Victoria passed a resolution in support of marriage equality last weekend.

It is supported by ministers and calls for the law to be changed to allow ”equal access to marriage, regardless of the gender of either partner”.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, it reads: “Victorian Labor believes that people are entitled to respect, equality, dignity and the opportunity to participate in society free from hatred or harassment and receive the protection of the law regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Rudd has been a steadfast opponent of gay marriage rights and said this week that his government may veto for a third time laws recognising civil partnership ceremonies in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT)

The ACT legalised civil partnerships ceremonies for gay couples earlier this month, making it the first territory in the country to do so.

The bill, sponsored by the ACT Greens party, was approved by legislators after an amendment was inserted banning straight couples from having a civil partnership.

This means the ceremonies will not “mimic” marriage.

Gay couples living in the ACT have been allowed to register their partnerships since 2008 but until now, have not been allowed to hold a ceremony.