Prime Minister Tony Abbott and his sister are at logger heads over her intended marriage to her partner of 10 years.
Crushing an attempt to re-open the gay marriage debate in Australia, Abbott infuriated his sister, Christine Forester, who has been involved in a gay relationship for 10 years.
Forester, who is desperate to marry her finance, Virginia Edwards, can under Australia law not legally do so. Thought to be one of the most archaic laws in the world Australia is yet to legalize same-sex unions while Liberal Party leader Abbott remains opposed to gay marriages.
Earlier this week Abbott made sure a private member’s bill brought forward by leader of the Labour, Party Bill Shorten, did not get the support it needed – a move which is likely to contribute to tensions between the prime minister and his sister Christine Forster.
In a recent address to the crowd at a rally, organized by Shorten, Forester asked, “Why wouldn’t I want to marry this beautiful woman as soon as I possibly could?”
Many have been calling for a referendum on the issue but Mr Abbott believes gay marriage should remain a matter for the federal parliament rather than a popular vote.
“Tony’s position has been well stated, and it’s on the record that he doesn’t support any changes to the marriage act,” said his sister, adding, “But I hope the party room tells him that they very firmly believe it’s a conscience issue, and he will abide by what they tell him.”
Earlier this week Abbott ensured that no MP from the ruling Liberal party would co-sponsor the private member’s bill brought forward by Mr Shorten.
Only five of Mr Abbott’s MPs turned up to see the bill introduced by Shorten and none would support it.
The opposition leader had no doubt hoped his bill would have been better received after Ireland’s ‘yes’ vote on the issue in May.
Speaking about the issue Shorten said, “I don’t want us to delay any longer, this can be a historic step forward. Millions of Australians have waited long enough for this moment of justice and inclusion.”
Speaking to reporters in Sydney, the prime minister have stated that the issue of gay marriage is not high on his agenda while he was pushing the new budget, “I’ve made it very clear that, while this is an important issue, the government has an absolute focus right now on getting the budget measures through parliament.”
Speaking on The Feed, Ms Forster, a mother of four, said her brother was the most supportive of their family when she left her husband of 20 years after falling in love with a woman yet said Forester, “Of course it hurts and that’s why Christine and I stood our ground,” Virginia said.
I think he’s wrong but he’s entitled to his view and it would be great if he turned around tomorrow and said ‘I’ve had a change of heart’,” Christine added.
Christine has also defended her brother’s view on the divisive issue stating, “He’s not saying that he doesn’t see my relationship with Virginia as valid.
“He’s just saying that he doesn’t believe that we should come under this umbrella of the institution of marriage because as he sees marriage…. he sees it as that it has to be between a man and a woman.”