Earlier today, opposition leader Bill Shorten used a speech to the Australian Christian Lobby as an opportunity to defend same sex marriage, and warn against using religion as “an instrument for bigotry and exclusion.”

The Sydney Morning Herald report that during his speech, the opposition leader said that “I believe in God and I believe in marriage equality. I’m a Christian and a supporter of marriage equality under the law.” 

“I believe our current law does exclude some individuals,” he continued. “[It] says to them that your relationship is not equally valued by the state, that your love is less equal under the law.” 

“We currently have a law that discriminates against adult couples on the basis of who they love.”

Shorten continued, saying that he couldn’t remain silent about those who “hide behind the Bible” to demonise sexuality, and say that marriage equality is the “first step” towards things like bestiality.

This was presumably a swipe at the ever-reasonable and delightful Cory Bernardi, who resigned as Tony Abbott‘s parliamentary secretary in 2012 after making just such comments.

 

In the past, the ACL has petitioned strongly against marriage equality. In today’s speech, Shorten acknowledged that his position might not be popular among all party members, but maintained that discrimination can not be justified by faith. 

Liberal Democrats Senator David Leyonhjelm, who has called on Tony Abbott to allow his MPs a conscience vote on same-sex unions, is presently working on a new bill to allow them.

This, of course, does not mean that marriage equality will be a reality in Australia any time soon, but it’s always refreshing as hell to see people in federal politics standing up for it and trying to push forward.

Photo: Vince Caligiuri via Getty Images