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Gay marriage: Why it’s better to be a U.S. Republican than an Australian Liberal

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Behind closed doors Liberal Party strategists must be wishing they were in a similar position to the Republican Party in America.

The Culture Wars in the United States have been a rampant one sided victory for the left on a host of key issues. Olympian Bruce Jenner became Caitlyn Jenner, the most prominent moment for transgender people. The Charleston slaying of nine defenseless black parishioners kicked off a movement to bring down the Confederate flag. While the legalisation of same-sex marriage nationwide elevated a community that’s been pushed to the background of American life for centuries.

Publicly, conservative presidential candidates and religious leaders are venting like crazy. However, behind closed doors Republican strategists are viewing the "Liberal Spring" as a gift leading up to the 2016 race for the White House.

When the Supreme Court outlawed state prohibitions on same sex marriage, not only did they remove this unwanted issue from republican candidate necks. It allowed them to do something all hard conservatives like to do, bash the courts.

GOP strategists see recent events as a great unburdening on key social issues the Democrats were hoping to wield.

As Tim Pawlenty, the former Republican governor of Minnesota put it:

“Whether the presidential candidates agree or disagree with the results of all this, it allows them to say these issues have been settled and move on to things that offer more of a political home-field advantage."

Such as conservative strong points like economics and national security.

Tony Abbott is in a sticky situation.

The majority of Australians support marriage equality. While corporations including Google, Qantas, Optus, and ANZ have put their names to a list of Australian businesses backing its support.

The majority of the coalition don’t support marriage equality. Including Senate leader Eric Abetz who sent out a blunt message to Liberal moderates who want change: "I have no hesitation in supporting the long established Liberal Party policy to preserve and protect the institution of marriage, just as we did at the last election.”

A cross-party bill is set to be introduced on 11 August. Abbott has said the decision on whether or not Liberal MP’s should have a free vote on this issue would be decided in a party room debate.

Liberal supporters of same-sex marriage want Liberal MPs to be permitted a free vote on the cross-party bill. However, If Abbott allows this, he will in all likelihood be making the first decisive move to make gay marriage legal. While going against the wishes of the majority of the government he leads — and much of his supporter base.

Right now Abbott must be wishing Australia’s highest court had taken this decision out of his hands like it did for Republicans.

Gerard May is an Australian political freelance writer living in New York City. He can be followed on Twitter @GerardMay5.

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