Victory in sight for equal marriage rights

Photo by Alex Bainbridge.

The success of Greens MP Adam Bandt's marriage equality motion in federal parliament, which called on MPs to take the issue back to their electorates, shows how successful our grassroots movement has been.

We've forced the Gillard Labor government to back away from its ridiculous discriminatory policy of denying equal marriage rights.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard now says the official ALP policy, which says marriage can only be between a man and a woman, should be looked at again at Labor’s next national conference. She wants to bring the conference forward to December 2011.

ALP policy is totally out of touch with most views in Australia.

An October 22 Galaxy poll, commissioned by Australian Marriage Equality (AME) and Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), found a rise in support for marriage equality. Sixty-two percent of Australians supported the reform, up from 60% last year. Seventy-eight percent supported a conscience vote on the issue.

A Herald/Nielson poll released on November 22 showed 57% of those polled "support the legalisation of same-sex marriage" and only 37% opposed it.

Resisting the calls for marriage equality is like trying to hold back the tide of history.

This is a democratic right that should have been recognised by government and the law a long time ago. Ten other countries have recognised this right already.

Even Labor right-wing faction leader Mark Arbib said in an interview with the November 6 Weekend Australian: "If I was the parent of a gay son or daughter I don’t know how I could tell them they didn’t have the same rights as I do."

The vote in parliament is an advance, but we haven't won the fight yet. Our battle is still not over, but victory is in sight.

Full marriage equality is within reach of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex couples if we keep on rallying and agitating.

This is why the movement is continuing to mobilise. We need to ramp up the pressure. We need bigger and bigger turnouts than ever at these rallies.

[Rachel Evans is a leading activist in the movement for equal marriage rights and a Socialist Alliance Legislative Council candidate in the March 2011 NSW elections. Evans was a founding member of Community Action Against Homophobia, the group that has organised many of the equal marriage rights rallies in Sydney, including the large rally outside the last ALP national conference in July 2009.]

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