National marriage equality conference planned for Australia

August 11, 2011

The organising collective for December’s “1Love: equality, marriage, freedom” conference in Sydney released the statement below on August 11.

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The first national conference to discuss the future and direction of the marriage equality campaign has been announced.

The grassroots campaign for marriage rights has been a great success to date — we have won civil unions in the ACT, three registration schemes and recognition of international same-sex marriages in Tasmania.

Same-sex loving couples and Sex and/or Gender Diverse people are still second-class citizens in Australia. We have not yet won marriage equality.

While the fight for marriage equality has been waged intensely in the last seven years in particular, there has not been a time at which the various individuals, groups and organisations involved have come together in a large open forum.

The conference, titled “1Love: equality, marriage, freedom”, will be held at the University of Sydney on December 4, one day after the Australian Labor Party national conference will decide its position on marriage equality.

An organiser of 1Love, Bryn Hutchinson, said: “The weekend of the ALP conference is a really good opportunity to hold the 1love conference.

“We already know there will be people coming in from all over Australia to make their voice heard, and of course the vibe of the whole weekend, all the energy associated with the ALP meeting, it just seems the time is ripe to actually sit down, think and talk about where we are going together.

“Also in terms of lobbying and campaign work, it doesn’t stop even if the ALP comes out in support of full marriage equality, because the prime minister has made some very strong statements saying she will ignore the resolutions of her party.”

While the conference focuses on marriage equality, space is open for a broad discussion of issues including sex and/or gender diverse and same sex-attracted youth, events and campaigns on the world stage, refugees, sex and/or gender diverse perspectives, sex workers and other topics.

Another 1Love organiser, Conor Montgomery, said: “The conference is free to attend, but we are getting people to register so we can manage numbers and catering.

“Our venue has a capacity of 500 people so obviously we are working to get as many people participating as possible. Even if you’ve never attended an event like this before we would love to see you along. We are committed to creating a safe and respectful space for all people to engage in the issues.

“1Love organisers are not acting as community representatives or as spokespeople, we are a task-focused committee and that task is to get 1Love launched as a broad community space.”

The program details will be finalised in the coming weeks. 1Love organisers are in discussion with several key speakers to be a part of the event, and a number of groups have added their name to the list of supporters.

If you wish to speak at the conference or present on a workshop topic please contact the 1love organisers. If your group or organisation would like to be added to the list of formal supporters please contact the 1Love organising collective.

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