A year on from the result of Australia’s marriage equality postal survey, Rachel Evans takes a look at the grassroots campaign that made this historic victory possible, and some of the remaining challenges ahead for the LGBTI community.
Community Action Against Homophobia
The history of the 13-year campaign for marriage equality in Australia is an incredible underdog story, but you would not know that if you got your news from the mainstream media.
Throughout the period of the postal survey, the implication has been that marriage equality activists are powerful bullies stomping around the political playground and kicking over the sandcastles of defenseless No campaigners, such as the Australian Christian Lobby (the tax-exempt lobby group that receives millions of dollars each year in corporate funding).
Since the High Court challenge to the federal government’s marriage equality survey was dismissed and the survey received the green light, streets have been painted all the colours of the rainbow as historically large protests and displays of solidarity sweep the country.
The campaign for marriage equality has been fighting the delaying tactics and homophobic policies of Labor and Liberal governments for the past 13 years.
Mardi Gras — now the largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, (LGBTQI) pride march in the world — started in June 1978 when New South Wales police viciously assaulted queer people dancing through Oxford Street.
Just as in the 21 countries where marriage equality has been won, we will have to win this democratic right on the streets here too. This is the resounding conclusion supporters of equality must draw if we are to push back an emerging tide of conservatism unleashed by this latest round of major party politicking over the plebiscite.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott's blocking of a conscience vote for marriage equality in a six-hour Coalition party room meeting has angered supporters of equal marriage.
The grassroots movement for marriage equality, a defining feature of Australian politics over the last 11 years, has been reinvigorated over the last two months.
Rallies are being organised by Equal Love in Melbourne and Adelaide on August 15 and 16. Liberal MP Warren Entsch's cross party bill will be put on August 17.
On August 8 and 9, rallies took place in Sydney, Perth and Brisbane.