Australian PM Julia Gillard faces gay marriage grilling

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Australian prime minister Julia Gillard is to be pressed on her views on gay marriage when she hosts a dinner for three gay couples.

As part of a charity auction, the prime minister offered to host a dinner for six guests at her official residence in Canberra.

The auction, targeted at corporations, was won by gay rights group GetUp!, which bid AUS$31,000

GetUp! announced that the tickets would go to six gay couples who are angry at Ms Gillard’s refusal to support gay marriage.

The auction was billed as a “unique opportunity for corporate Australia”, GetUp! director Simon Sheikh told AFP.

“But rather than dining with executives and business leaders, Julia Gillard will be forced to make the case as to why these couples cannot have their relationships recognised in the same way other Australians do,” he said.

Sydney lesbians Sandy Miller and Louise Bucke have been named by GetUp! as the first couple to join the dinner. The other two will be announced in the next few days.

Ms Gillard’s office has not commented.

The activist group also won dinners with three independent MPs considered ‘kingmakers’ in Ms Gillard’s government.

Ms Gillard has consistently said she is against gay marriage, calling herself a “cultural traditionalist”.

However, she is to allow her party a conscience vote on the issue at this year’s conference.

Last November, the Green Party won a motion calling on MPs to ask their constituents about the issue.