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Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop lends support to same-sex marriage | One Herald
Home / Top Story / Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop lends support to same-sex marriage

Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop lends support to same-sex marriage


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Julie Bishop backs same-sex marriage

Deputy Liberal leader Julie Bishop offers her strongest support yet for same-sex marriage, backing the government’s plan for a plebiscite. Courtesy The Project, 6.30pm weekdays on Ten.

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Deputy Liberal leader Julie Bishop has effectively endorsed same-sex marriage, in her strongest comments to date about the landmark social reform.

In an interview with the Ten Network’s The Project, Ms Bishop, who has until now been guarded about her personal view on same-sex marriage, said she supported the government’s plan to put the proposal to a plebiscite.

Julie Bishop says she has no problem with same-sex marriage.

Julie Bishop says she has no problem with same-sex marriage. Photo: Justin McManus

But the popular Foreign Affairs Minister, who only hinted at support for the reform during months of debate earlier this year, finally signalled her personal view.

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“I think the Australian people should have their say. I have absolutely no concerns about it myself, but I know there a lot of people who are deeply concerned about the issue,” she said.

“That’s why I think a plebiscite, where the Australian people get to have a vote on it, on an issue as fundamental as this, that goes to the very composition of our community, the way we feel about each other, how we treat each other, that’s the core of a plebiscite.”

Ms Bishop’s comments will give heart to Liberal moderates who are determined, at the very least, to see the reform enacted following a plebiscite of the Australian people but they will anger conservatives in the Liberal Party.

In August, a more cautious Ms Bishop said that she was philosophically a liberal-minded person but that “I’m yet to see the detail of changes to the Marriage Act that would satisfy me that we should vote for it and I’ve been asking for this for some time”.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has maintained former prime minister Tony Abbott’s pledge to hold a plebiscite after the next election on the issue, despite previously criticising the proposal.

That decision has disappointed progressive voices in the Liberal party room but is designed to reassure conservative MPs who backed Mr Abbott.

Mr Turnbull is himself a supporter of same-sex marriage but he is in the minority in the Coalition party room in holding that view, despite published opinion polling showing overwhelming support for the reform among the electorate.

In June, Mr Turnbull said that momentum for a parliamentary vote on marriage equality was growing, after the US Supreme Court’s landmark ruling on the matter.

But conservative MPs in the Liberal Party, such as Senator Eric Abetz, have criticised a proposal from fellow Liberal MP Warren Entsch to bring forward legislation in this Parliament that would legalise gay marriage but only enable it by public approval at a plebiscite and Mr Turnbull is mindful of maintaining party unity.

Senator Abetz, a vocal opponent of gay marriage, has warned this move would do nothing to heal the wounds caused by the September leadership spill.

Labor has continued to argue the issue should be put to the Parliament in this term, rather than be the subject of a plebiscite.

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