Marriage equality: ‘When we fight, we win’

November 4, 2017
A ‘Western Sydney Says Yes’ rally was held in Parramatta on October 29.

Mia Sanders is a marriage equality activist, a former student at Western Sydney University and a member of Socialist Alliance.

Below is the speech that Sanders gave at the ‘Western Sydney Says Yes’ rally on October 29.


I want to acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land we are on today, pay my respects to their elders past and present and acknowledge their ongoing struggle for justice.

Today I want to make one simple point.

I grew up in western Sydney and I know that we here represent so many more who support marriage equality in the west. And I am glad to be here to celebrate the LGBTI community.

I grew up in Campbelltown but I now live in the inner west where, a few weeks ago, there were No campaigners in Newtown with rainbow signs that said “Straight Pride” and “It’s OK to vote No”.

When my friends confronted them about their signs, they retorted: “Why shouldn’t we have ‘Straight Pride’? What do you people have to be proud of?”

And so the point I want make is about pride and what the LGBTI community has to be proud of.

I believe we’re going to win this postal survey and, probably after some period of delay from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, we will win marriage equality too.

And when we do, Turnbull is going to want us to remember him as the prime minister who gave us marriage equality.

So let’s put something on the record: This community was never given anything by Turnbull and the Coalition.

We have had to fight to change the homophobic policies of both Labor and the Coalition for every right we have ever won. Our history is one of struggle, fighting for our rights and taking to the streets. That is what we have to be proud of.

That is true of all of the rights that the LGBTI community has ever won. It is true of equalising age of consent laws, taking homosexuality off lists of mental illnesses and disorders, winning anti-discrimination laws at work, and it will be true of marriage equality.

All of us here are treading in the footsteps of the 78ers – the veteran gay liberation campaigners present at the first Mardi Gras in 1978 – who originally fought for our rights. We stand in their legacy of struggle.

Today we are taking to the streets to say that we will never stop fighting.

This is the lesson we need to remember going forward, for all of the campaigns we still have yet to win, apart from marriage equality, for the LGBTI community.

When we fight, we win.

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