Following major wins for LGBT gay rights in the United States in June and in Ireland a month before that, supporters of gay marriage...

Following major wins for LGBT gay rights in the United States in June and in Ireland a month before that, supporters of gay marriage may want to look south for their next victory party. It’s hard to believe that Australia hasn’t legalized gay marriage, but the country that gave birth to Kylie Minogue and the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras remains the largest hold out on marriage equality in the English-speaking world. So while Australia may be a great place for a gay honeymoon, be sure to tie the knot before you land. Minogue herself commented on the apparent irony in a 2013 interview, saying “As always, I support gay marriage. I feel it will happen eventually, but wouldn’t it be great if it happened sooner rather than later.” The political tide seems to be turning ever so slowly. Current Australian law spells out that marriage must be between a man and a woman. Gay marriage was legal in the Australian Capital Territory during a three-month window in 2013, but a court struck down the law and the 31 same-sex unions performed were voided. Same-sex marriage has been legal in New Zealand since August 2013. Australia’s conservative government headed by Prime Minister Tony Abbott has blocked a recent gay marriage bill from going up for a vote in the Australian Parliament. That’s despite the bill coming member Abbott’s own party. The more liberal Labor Party backs gay marriage but its members are free to vote as they like. The latest development is Abbott suggesting that the question of gay marriage be put to a nationwide vote, but after and separate from the next federal election. A government estimate put the price of a standalone vote on gay marriage at nearly $160 million in Australian dollars, or roughly $113 million in U.S. dollars. Voting in Australian elections is generally required of its citizens. Polls show that a healthy majority of Australians support gay marriage. This is in a country that despite its carefree party image, still holds on to the macho Outback mentality. It’s unclear how soon the vote could take place. Former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, the first woman to hold the post, has reversed her position on gay marriage and came out as a supporter. Her flip angered many progressives who challenged why Gillard had openly opposed gay marriage while prime minister and was now going public as a supporter when she was in no position of power. “The nature of Australia’s contemporary debate on same-sex marriage has caused me to re-examine some fundamental assumptions I have held,” Gillard said during a university lecture in August. “In my time post-politics, as key countries have moved to embrace same-sex marriage, I have identified that my preferred reform direction was most assuredly not winning hearts and minds.”

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