At a National Marriage Coalition forum held in Canberra on August 4, federal Labor shadow attorney-general Nicola Roxon said the ALP would pass the Howard government's gay marriage ban during the current sitting of parliament.
The August 4 Sydney Morning Herald reported that Roxon, speaking at the forum immediately after Prime Minister John Howard, said it was "cheeky" to suggest Labor's views differed to the government's. "The major parties do not support gay marriage", Roxon said to thunderous applause.
Labor had previously sent the bill to a Senate inquiry, the findings of which were due to be released on October 7. However, Roxon said Labor had "no intention now, after the inquiry finishes or after the election, of advocating for gay marriage".
Rodney Croome, Equal Rights Network spokesperson, responded by saying: "The Labor Party promised that all the legal, constitutional and social impacts of this legislation would be thoroughly investigated by a Senate inquiry. By breaking that promise, they have shown themselves to be completely untrustworthy on gay and lesbian rights. They have also abdicated any claim they may have had to being a party of social justice and inclusion."
Kylie Moon, the Socialist Alliance's lead NSW Senate candidate, told Green Left Weekly: "It is not surprising that the ALP, which is in power in every Australian state and territory and still presides over 20-plus discriminatory state laws, intends to pass this bill. This is just further evidence of the bankruptcy of this so-called opposition."
Moon, who is also a Community Action Against Homophobia (CAAH) activist, added: "What we need now is united action by all supporters of full democratic rights for gay men and lesbians. There can be no equivocation. We must take loud, angry, united street action."
A press release from Rainbow Labor, a gay and lesbian group within the Labor Party, stated: "The ALP has ensured that discrimination against lesbians and gay men will be forever entrenched in the legislation of Australia. While we still believe that the ALP is the best option for the future of Australia, we are deeply angry and disappointed at this decision."
According to Croome, the bill could be passed as soon as August 12.
In Hobart, a rally has been called for 12.30pm on August 11 at federal Labor MP Duncan Kerr's office on the corner of Collins and Harrington streets. For more information phone Martine Delaney on 0417 530 621.
In Sydney, the CAAH is holding a same-sex kiss-in on August 10 in Martin Place, starting at 1pm. A protest rally will also be held in Taylor Square at 1.30pm on August 14, with a march to the Family Court and the NSW ALP headquarters. For more information phone Emelia on 0418 496 084.
From Green Left Weekly, August 11, 2004.
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