PHOTO: There are three bills before the Parliament on same-sex marriage. (Reuters Andrew Burton, file photo)
Federal politicians say the United States Supreme Court ruling that same-sex couples have a fundamental right to marry could influence the debate in Australia.
Education Minister Christopher Pyne said the ruling, which stops US states from banning same-sex marriage, could not be replicated here.
“It’s not something the High Court could decide on its own,” he said.
But Mr Pyne said it would affect public and political sentiment.
“There appears to be momentum growing worldwide towards marriage equality,” he said.
Mr Pyne said he expects the Parliament will debate the issue of gay marriage before the next election.
“When we come back in spring, there’s every possibility that will be back on the agenda and there’ll be a vote on it and Parliament will either own it or defeat it,” he said.
There are three bills before the Parliament on same-sex marriage: from Labor, the Greens and Liberal Democratic Senator David Leyonhjelm.
But Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the US decision would have little impact on the Government’s approach to the issue.
“What happens in the United States is obviously a matter for the United States, just as what happened in Ireland a few weeks ago is a matter for the Irish,” he said.
“As for our own country, obviously there’s a community debate going on.
“I have views on this subject which are pretty well known and they haven’t changed.”
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said the decision should spur change within the Liberal Party.
“I invite Mr Abbott again, if the Parliament resumes, to take up the promise that he made and we’ve extended, to have a free vote in the Liberal Party on marriage equality,” he said.
Greens Senator Janet Rice said the US decision gave same-sex marriage advocates within the Coalition more negotiating power.
“I know there are people within the Liberal Party who want to see the Liberal Party have a conscience vote on the issue and I’m sure that the US Supreme Court decision is going to strengthen their hand in their discussions with their Liberal Party colleagues,” she said.