Australian opposition leader vows he won’t turn gay
Front runner in the up-coming Australian elections, Kevin Rudd, agreed to answer a question about who he would turn gay for on a TV show last week.
The Labour leader became the first political leader to brave the popular youth variety show Rove Live.
During the programme Mr Rudd admitted to being a “nerd” and also said he could beat current Prime Minister John Howard in a bar fight.
After knocking back suggestions put to him, including those from Dame Edna and Kel from Kath and Kim he appeared to have confessed the only person he would turn gay for was his wife Therese.
According to news.co.au, Mr Rudd’s staff admitted he hadn’t delivered the answer as well as he had planned to, even though he knew it would be coming.
The opposition Leader was meant to have said, “Not for anyone, because of my wife Therese.”
Rudd has come under attack from gay activists and the Green party for rejecting same-sex marriage. During several recent interviews he has stood by his party line that marriage is between a man and woman, but admitted it was not a popular view in some circles.
Earlier this month John Howard was asked by a shop worker in a mall in New South Wales “Who would you turn gay for?”
The PM laughed off the question, but his consistent refusal to grant equal rights for gay and lesbian Australians has been less easy to avoid.
He has been accused of pandering to homophobia to win votes, and despite opinion polls showing 71% of Australians favouring equal rights for gay people, he is still opposed.
In 2004 he passed federal legislation banning same-sex marriage and earlier this year said that HIV positive immigrants should not be allowed into the country.
Last month Mr Howard, the Prime Minister since 1996, called a general election, which will take place on 24th November.
Rudd still has a winning lead in opinion polls, but with Howard narrowing the gap.
The latest Newspoll of voter opinion showed former diplomat Rudd dropping one point to 54 percent of the vote and Howard gaining one to 46 percent.
If this swing away from the government was uniform across the nation in Saturday’s election it would result in Labour gaining the 16 extra seats it needs for victory, The Australian newspaper said.
But the Newspoll survey of some 1,700 voters found Howard is still considered the leader best able to handle the economy, beating Rudd 51 percent to 35 percent.
As the election draws closer, fifteen gay and lesbian couples declared their love for one another in a mass ceremony in Adelaide last week , drawing attention to Australia’s “backward” same-sex marriage laws.
The ceremony, entitled Loved Up, was held as part of the state’s gay and lesbian cultural festival – Feast Festival.
The 12 female couples and three male couples declared their love before hundreds of family and friends who gathered on the city’s Montefiore Hill. The hour-long ceremony was performed by three celebrants.
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“What we wanted to do as a festival was celebrate diverse love and put it out to the wider public so that it can be recognised as equal to straight marriage,” Mr Clarke, the Feast Festival’s artistic director, told AAP before the ceremony.
“Of course it’s political, but it’s a very personal day and it’s going to be a very, very moving day.”
Mr Clarke and his partner Nick Pelomis were married last year in the UK, establishing what that country calls a civil partnership with the same rights as marriage.
“It’s just backward that it hasn’t happened here yet,” Mr Clarke said.
The couple chose to renew their vows because very few family and friends were able to celebrate with them in the UK.
The Feast Festival runs until November 25 and is the largest cultural event of its kind in Australia, with 151 different events held over two weeks.