Australian PM promises gay marriage referendum if re-elected

Sydney, June 20: Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Monday promised a referendum on legalisation of same-sex marriages before the year ends, if he is re-elected. “Of course, if we are successful on July 2, then I have every expectation that the parliament will swiftly legislate for a plebiscite and a plebiscite will be held shortly after parliament resumes, which I would assume to be in August,” Turnbull said during an event in Sydney. “So I would hope that the plebiscite could be held before the end of the year,” said Turnbull. Opposition Labour Party leader Bill Shorten asked Turnbull to legalise same-sex marriage immediately instead of calling a referendum, which he said, will become a “platform for homophobia”. “I intend to win the election. I intend to put forward legislation in the first 100 days,” Shorten said. Australia, which accepts civil marriage in several of its states, has been criticised for failing to legalise same-sex marriages. In December 2013, the High Court overturned a law allowing gay marriages in the Australian Capital Territory on grounds that it contravened the Federal Marriage Law of 1961. (IANS)