Australia’s Foreign Minister: I have no concerns about same-sex marriage

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop has become one of the most senior Liberal figures to suggest her support for same-sex marriage.

Current Liberal Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has backed plans for a plebiscite (public vote) on same-sex marriage slated for 2017, but has resisted plans to introduce it sooner.

Given overwhelming public support suggesting a public vote would be redundant, activists have called on the government to back equality in Parliament instead to allow the issue to be addressed sooner.

Speaking to Network Ten, Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop – the deputy leader of the Liberal party – defended the need for the plebiscite but appeared to indicate her support for equality.

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

“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 treat each other, the way we feel about each other, I think that’s an important issue for a plebiscite.

“That’s why I support it and look forward to the Australian people having their say.”

It comes after government minister Concetta Fierravanti-Wells spoke out to claim that equality might cost the Liberals seats – despite the fact that the main opposition party is also in favour of equal marriage.

The Liberal Senator had claimed: “A coalition policy that directly supports same-sex marriage could place under threat some of our most marginal seats which have disproportionately high religious and migrant communities.”