July 02, 2016
Imagine heading down to your local scoop shop and not being able to order exactly what you want, let’s say, two scoops of chocolate in a waffle cone, because the person behind the counter doesn’t think two of the same flavors should go together.
You’d be outright furious. But that silly metaphor rings too true for loving couples in same-sex relationships here in Australia.
Our woefully dated federal Marriage Act (1961), as amended in 2004, doesn’t recognise same-sex marriages, and goes further to remind us that even weddings taking place in foreign countries “must not be recognised as a marriage in Australia”, closing the door for any same-sex couples hoping to marry overseas and return home as a happy couple.
Thankfully, much has changed in the 12 years since. Support for marriage equality has risen from 38 percent at the time of the amendment in 2004 to as much as 72 percent in 2014, and three out of four Australians believe reform is inevitable.
The time has come to set things right and bring full equality Down Under. Pass the double Sweet Cream & Cookies waffle cone and be quick about it!
The Path Forward
Luckily, the newly elected Labor Party (ALP) seems on track to make it happen.
New Prime Minister Bill Shorten and his Labor Party long have supported marriage equality. Last summer, it was Shorten who introduced a bill to legalise same-sex marriage, saying, “Our laws should be a mirror reflecting our great and generous country and our free, inclusive society,” despite knowing full well that the then-Coalition government would refuse to allow its members to vote their conscience on the matter.
He and the ALP have vowed as part of their party platform to move forward with a parliamentary vote on same-sex marriage within 100 days of taking the governmental reins. A parliamentary conscience vote is supported overwhelmingly by the Australian people.
For the ALP and Shorten, it’s as simple as that. Just the government doing its job, without the mess or expense of the plebiscite proposed by the Coalition Party.
Act Now for Equality!
So, the clock is already ticking, and we must not be complacent. It’s on us to hold the new government to their promise to get the job done.
Contact your MP and urge him or her to support marriage equality the most effective way possible: by putting it to a vote as soon as possible! The fight for equality has not been won until the recognition that love is love is written into our Constitution.