Alice Shaw

Opinion

“I want a Prime Minister who will allow gay marriage”
The very young daughter of a friend of mine recently said “I want a Prime Minister who will allow gay marriage.” Little does she know, there are many of us who are hoping for the same thing.
In the recent past, PM Julia Gillard has made no apologies for the outrageously discriminatory stance held by the Labour Party in regard to same-sex marriage. As if the very public neglect of the Prime Minister to recognise the GLBTI community as equal citizens has not been insult enough, Gillard and her disciples against equality continue to disappoint by being outspoken about their archaic opinions.
The most recent offence has come in the form of statement from the openly homosexual Minster for Climate Change, Penny Wong. Wong voiced her support of her party’s policy to deny same-sex marriage rights. For a variety of reasons, I personally don’t believe in the institution of marriage regardless of the sex of the parties involved. Despite this, the denial of equality to all citizens of Australia is what most outrages me most. Encouraging and allowing such unjust discrimination greatly opposes the ethics of modern Australia. By failing to show the population that equal rights are paramount, Gillard and her cowardly party are perpetuating the notion that homosexual couples are of less contributory importance than their heterosexual counterparts. Labour thought that we in the GLBTI community would be appeased by legislative reform allowing same-sex couples similar legal rights to heterosexual couples. Although the implemented changes were by all means positive, need Gillard be reminded that the issue at hand is equal rights? The decision to grant some rights to same-sex couples only deepens the resolve to achieve true equal rights.
As a young doctor in training, I am constantly in awe at the sheer volume of unjust and unnecessary suffering experienced by people from every walk of life. When living in a country that prides itself on recognising and protecting social and civil liberties, values and welfare, human decency surely demands that we reduce suffering and inequality to our greatest potential within the moral and ethical construct of our time. We are lucky enough to live in a country that, at least in theory, has positive change within it’s grasp. Legal reform of the Marriage Act to join Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, Norway, South Africa, Spain, Sweden and most recently Argentina in recognising the importance of granting equal rights to all citizens is one such positive change.
I openly admit that at times I struggle to remain optimistic about the fight for equal marriage rights in Australia, especially given Gillard and Wong’s opinions on same-sex marriage. It shouldn’t really come as any surprise though that a governmental team that is so reluctant to act on climate change is equally as reluctant to act on providing and protecting civil liberties for all citizens. The thing that keeps me going is the knowledge that marriage reform will come, just as climate change action will come. If anyone possesses uncertainty as to when this will occur, simply look to the USA. The Australian government will inevitably, and predictably, trail the USA in these decisions.
If readers have the resolve to campaign for equal marriage rights, please join a peaceful demonstration (with MC Wil Anderson) to commemorate the 6th anniversary of the ban on same-sex marriage rights in Australia – August 14th, 1:00pm, Sydney Town Hall.
By:  Tom Morley
         t.o.morley@gmail.com
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  1. It’s nothing other than surprising how everyone keeps on praising countries like Australia for their “progressivism” whilst the rest of the world moves on and they, Aussies, remain there watching, without moving a finger.
    As an Argentinian, I still cannot believe we ended up having the equality marriage law approved (way) before Australia.

    (It’s a matter of words and ways, hey: saying “gay” marriage won’t help much with perception of full acceptance… someone started using “equality marriage” here and it actually worked way better. No more distinctions).

  2. Hey Tom, a beautifully written piece. I felt ashamed when Julia Gillard so vocally and vehemently opposed the right for the Gay Community to choose to marry if they so wish. I am shocked that in 2010 there is STILL a caveman mentality, in this day and age it is truly appalling. I also hope that one day soon it will all change and equality will be afforded to ALL of society. I’m in Perth, so won’t be able to attend August’s ‘peaceful demonstration’ – but I will be there in Spirit.

    • Thanks sugarkane!

      August 14th, 1:00pm, Forrest Place – Murray Street Mall, Perth CBD.

      Be there!

  3. Excellent news! I WILL be there, thank YOU Tom x

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