Former Australian PM Kevin Rudd reverses anti-marriage equality stance

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The former Prime Minister of Australia and self-described ‘god-botherer’, Kevin Rudd, has stated that after a “re-think” on same-sex marriage he has decided to support it, reversing his previous staunch opposition.

During his time as Prime Minister Mr Rudd opposed same-sex marriage, but said he welcomed debate on the subject.

Writing on his blog today, Mr Rudd said he had rethought the matter after coming across a fellow “god-botherer (aka Christian)” who is both active in his church and gay, and who wanted to get married.

Mr Rudd said he had come to “believe the secular Australian state should be able to recognise same sex marriage”.

He backed up his argument with examples of practices which were supported by the Bible, but were now condemned by the Australian state, such as stoning of adulterers – “which would lead to a veritable boom in the quarrying industry were that still the practice today”.

Mr Rudd said that after much consideration, “the sole remaining obstacle” in his mind was the possibility of “unforeseen consequences for children who would be brought up by parents in a same sex married relationship”.

However, he argued from his own personal experience that, “as someone who was raised for the most important part of his childhood by a single mum, I don’t buy the argument that I was somehow developmentally challenged because I didn’t happen to have a father. The loving nurture of children is a more complex business than that.”

He said he would “not be taking any leadership role on this issue nationally”, but had chosen to reveal his change of view now to be clear ahead of local elections.

“My core interest is to be clear-cut about the change in my position locally on this highly controversial issue before the next election, so that my constituents are fully aware of my position when they next visit the ballot box,” he said.

The current Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, remains opposed to equal marriage.

Last month Australia’s Liberal Party leader, Tony Abbott, said he opposed proposals to hold a public vote on equal marriage during September’s federal election.

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

Despite this, Australia’s Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, said she wouldn’t be dropping her opposition to marriage equality.

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