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Gillard not likely to follow Obama

Date

Stephanie Peatling

BARACK OBAMA'S support for gay marriage is the ultimate political endorsement of the issue. So, if the President of a country with a significant conservative voting base can do so, surely it can happen here?

Not likely. Advocates in Australia are thrilled with Mr Obama's endorsement but say it will only go so far in changing people's thinking.

The Labor MP Stephen Jones, who introduced the bill on same-sex marriage into Parliament this year, says it is a ''recognition that the issue is inevitable''.

''When a world leader of his standing is stepping up, then it shows people here they can reconsider their views on the issue,'' Mr Jones said.

Mr Jones's bill is being examined by a parliamentary committee, which will report back next month.

The bill is expected to be debated in the second half of this year but it is still unlikely it will be passed.

The problem for Julia Gillard is one of credibility.

Tony Abbott has worked hard at painting her as untrustworthy, so if the Prime Minister changed her mind on same-sex marriage it would be another thing the Opposition Leader could use to cement this image in people's minds.

But the interview in which Mr Obama explained how he had moved from supporting civil unions to gay marriage was a lesson in how a politician can - and should be able to - change their mind on an issue.

It showed thoughtful and articulate reasoning and political courage.

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