Julia Gillard, the former Prime Minister of Australia, held a public forum at the Sydney Opera House on September 30 to answer the public’s questions about her defeat by opponent Kevin Rudd.
But one question from a young tow-headed boy surprised everyone. Short enough that he had to be lifted to the podium microphone by his older brother, the boy sweetly asked, “Um, how come you didn’t let gay people get married?”
View video below.
His inquiry was met with uproarious applause from the audience, and Gillard let out a long chuckle as she waited for the noise to subside.
The former prime minister explained that her reasons did not stem from homophobia, but rather from her feminist opposition to marriage in general:
I’m a lot older than you and when I went to university and started forming my political views of the world, we weren’t talking about gay marriage, indeed, as women, as feminists. We were critiquing marriage. And if someone had said to me as a 20-year-old, ‘What about you get into a white dress to symbolize virginity and you get your father to walk you down an aisle and give you away to a man who is waiting at the end of the aisle,’ I would have looked with puzzlement like, ‘What on earth would I do that for?’
Gillard acknowledged that her reasons are vastly different from most other politicians:
I’m conscious that maybe these views have dated…I think that marriage in our society could play its traditional role, and we could come up with other institutions which value partnerships, value love, value lifetime commitment. I have a valuable lifetime commitment, and haven’t felt the need at any point to make that into a marriage. I know that’s a really different reasoning that most people come at these issues, but that’s my reasoning.
While Gillard may not “[feel]the need” to promote her relationship to marriage, it is still an option to her, while it is not to the gay population of Australia.
To hear Gillard’s full response, the ABC News video is available to view on YouTube.