Equal Love – the Time is Now
Written by Ally Oliver-Perham
Last weekend Ireland became the first country is the world to vote ‘yes’ as a nation, in favour of same-sex marriage!
This means that Ireland will join New Zealand, Britain, Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Iceland, Argentina, Denmark, France, Brazil, Uruguay, New Zealand, Britain, Luxembourg and Finland in granting same-sex couples the freedom to marry, if they so choose.
Australia is not on that happy list – but it should be. Especially when we consider the fact that 78% of all Australians agree that “marriage is a beneficial institution and should be accessible to everyone” (Crosby|Textor Research 2014). Should the Australian public collectively vote on the subject, the answer would be a resounding yes. This says that Australians aren’t dragging the chain on same-sex marriage – our legislation is.
Personally, I think marriage isn’t necessarily a “must” in life, but everyone should have the opportunity to make that choice. By excluding same-sex couples from forming marital unions, we are essentially saying – your love is not valid and you are less important than traditional heterosexual couples. Which is bullshit.
(And if you still (!) need any convincing that same-sex couples deserve the right to marry, check out this clip by GetUp. Definitely pulls at them heartstrings.)
This week the Australian Labor Party has announced that it will table a bill to legalise same-sex marriage in Australia.
But in order to do that, the ALP, Greens and other supporting members will need to convince Tony Abbott to allow a conscious vote on the issue (which means politicians will be able to vote according to their own beliefs, rather than toeing the party line. It’s a very rare thing). And right now, as more and more politicians (from all different parties) are publicly supporting gay marriage, a conscious vote has a really strong chance of being successful.
While there are many Liberal parliamentarians who do support this move, however, our Liberal Prime Minister Tony Abbott is a longtime naysayer. As a conservative Catholic, he believes marriage to be a sacred institution only between a man and a woman, and is unlikely to allow a conscious vote at all. *rolls eyes*
Abbott has noted that he is probably the last member of his family to hold such rigid views – indeed, his own sister is publicly gay. It’s kind of brutal that a man with such close-minded views heads up our nation, especially when his personal beliefs affect so many people (including members of his own family).
As a democracy, it’s important for our laws to uphold human rights and reflect the values of the people, not a minority. As Tony Abbott has said, ‘If our parliament were to make a big decision on a matter such as this it ought to be owned by the parliament and no particular party’. [Slash person]
We sincerely hope this new bill sways the conservative vote – as so many of us know, this legislation is long overdue. It’s high time we made love equal in Australia.
As one of the co-founders of Rosie, a designer and arts educator, Ally is passionate about youth and creativity. She is constantly making, designing and writing things for Rosie. Ally is addicted to podcasts, wasabi peas and red lipstick. Her dog Scout is widely acknowledged as her spirit animal.
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