In a landmark speech, the Governor-General of Australia on Friday publicly endorsed same-sex marriage.
Quentin Bryce said she hoped Australia might become a nation where “people are free to love and marry whom they choose.”
“The Governor-General’s dignified support for marriage equality will be welcomed by the many millions of Australians who support the reform,” Australian Marriage Equality national director, Rodney Croome, said in a statement. “In particular, it will send a message to older Australians that this is a reform they can embrace because it strengthens relationships, families and marriage.”
“It is the role of the Governor-General to reflect community values, and by supporting marriage equality Quentin Bryce is reflecting the fact that a majority of Australians want same-sex couples to be able to marry,” Croome said.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott, a staunch Catholic and monarchist who opposes same-sex marriage, said “it’s more than appropriate for the governor-general approaching the end of her term to express a personal view.”
Abbot declined to answer whether Bryce’s comments had any influence on his view of marriage equality, and said only, “Different people have different views on these subjects. She was expressing her view, others express their views.”
Bryce was appointed as Australia’s first female governor-general in 2008 by then prime minister Kevin Rudd. The Governor-General is the representative in the Australia for Queen Elizabeth II according to the country’s Constitution, is President of the Federal Executive Council and Commander-in-Chief of the Australian Defense Forces.
While there is no set length for the appointment, most last around five years.