British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has thrown his support behind same sex marriage, criticising Australia for lagging behind its Commonwealth counterparts. The 42-year-old father-of-five told News Corp Australia he hoped that Australia’s young voting population would ensure the controversial $122 million plebiscite would return a result in favour of legalising same-sex marriage in November.
“Love is love, and Australia is quite far behind the rest of the world,” Mr Oliver said. “Much of the world has already made it legal for same sex couples to be married”.
While he understood that the non-binding postal survey was “quite divisive” in Australia, Mr Oliver said he was confident the government would “act with the best will” and pass the legislation. “I think there are enough younger voters to contribute to the plebiscite, but personally, I don’t know why you need a plebiscite to get this done,” he said.
Mr Oliver said he had always supported the rights of people to marry who they love and that the issue is too often complicated by “church, religion and politics”. “It’s a generational thing … I’ve grown up around all kinds of people from all kinds of sexualities and I’ve had deep and meaningful friendships with all sorts of people,” he said.
“I’ve seen that a lot of my Aussie friends on social media are going nuts for this … at the end of the day good parenting is good parenting, happiness is happiness and love is love”.
With the deadline just two weeks away, celebrities including Ellen DeGeneres , who is married to Australian actor Portia de Rossi, have encouraged people to lodge their vote as soon as possible. Music icon Sir Elton John took to social media this week to speak about the importance of legalising same sex marriage, following his union to sound engineer Renate Blauel in 1984, which lasted just four years.
It wasn’t until the 70-year-old singer met and married David Furnish decades later that he said he could truly be himself. “I wanted more than anything to be a good husband, but I denied who I really was, which caused my wife sadness and caused me huge guilt and regret,” Elton John said. “I love Australia. I love its spirit, its lack of pretence, it’s passion, “I hope it can embrace the honesty and courage that seeks gay marriage as an expression not of desire but of love”.
Even the 26-year-old daughter of former Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Frances Abbott shared her ‘Yes’ vote with her social media followers overnight, despite her father’s widely publicised opposition of same sex marriage.
“…I am so so so excited it’s here. Ripped the envelope open, ticked the yes box and running straight back down stairs,” Ms Abbott said. “Power walking to the post office and posting this baby right now”. If a majority yes vote is returned by the Australian public, legislation to allow same sex marriage will be put before the Parliament for a vote, where it would have the numbers to pass.