Australian PM refuses to support equal marriage despite New Zealand victory

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Australia’s Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, says she won’t be dropping her opposition to marriage equality, even though neighbouring New Zealand passed the measure on Wednesday.

Asked by a member of the public about her position in Melbourne, AAP reports Ms Gillard said she would not be changing her mind on the issue.

“I doubt we’re going to end up agreeing,” the PM said.

Gay rights campaigners in Australia have praised New Zealand after it became the 13th country to legalise equal marriage.

On Wednesday, MPs voted in support of New Zealand’s Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill – with a majority of 33.

Seventy seven MPs voted in favour – 44 voted against.

Rodney Croome, national convener of Australian Marriage Equality, said:  “The majority of Australians who support marriage equality will be happy for New Zealand but deeply embarrassing their own country is lagging so far behind.”

“This will be a game changer in Australia because of the close links between our two countries.”

“New Zealand shows how reform can be achieved when national leaders put politics aside and work together, unlike Australia’s leaders who are still playing politics with marriage equality.”

Along with Julia Gillard, Australia’s opposition leader Tony Abbott continues to oppose equal marriage and refuses to allow his MPs a conscience vote.

Efforts to legalise the measure failed in the Australian Parliament last year.