Australian PM faces interrogation at a charity dinner

Julia Gillard June 17th, 2011 by Lucy.Brown

Three gay couples will have dinner with Julia Gillard after a campaign group successfully bid on the opportunity to have a meal with her.

The charity auction was aimed at corporations and it was envisioned that Gillard would spend the meal with executives from some of the biggest businesses in the country. However, the gay rights group GetUp! bid AUS$31,000 for the dinner meaning that Gillard will be forced to discuss her opposition to gay marriage. GetUP! director Simon Sheikh explained to AFP that, “Julia Gillard will be forced to make the case as to why these couples cannot have their relationships recognised in the same way other Australians do.”

The first couple attending has been named as Sandy Miller and Louise Bucke, a lesbian couple from Sydney. They are engaged and are raising two children together from Miller’s previous relationship. Miller told the Sydney Morning Herald that she goes to weddings of friends and is happy for them but it upsets her: “But I’m so often saddened by the fact we’re so in love, we’re so committed, wouldn’t it be great for us to be able to get married in front of our friends and for my children to be able to see it happen?”

Two other couples will be chosen in the coming days. Julia Gillard has consistently opposed gay marriage since her election last year, saying that marriage should be between a man and a woman. However, she is to allow a conscience vote at her party conference later this year.

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