Another marriage equality inquiry? Fine, but let’s get on with it

The announcement of a cross-party inquiry into marriage equality feels a bit like history repeating, but any progress towards change is welcomed by the New South Wales Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby.

Politicians from Labor, the Greens and the crossbench on Tuesday announced plans for a motion for a Senate committee inquiry into proposed amendments to the Marriage Act, put forward in anticipation of the failed plebiscite.

The NSW GLRL is cautiously optimistic of another step forward but awaits more information, including the inquiry’s terms of reference.

“It’s less than 18 months since the last inquiry into marriage equality,” NSW GLRL co-convenor Lauren Foy said.

“We welcome efforts to keep the push for equality alive in Parliament and we understand that victories often come in small steps, but we hope this move leads to meaningful progress.”

The prominent state-based group will monitor this new development on behalf of the community it represents and in particular the extent of proposed religious and commercial exemptions, Ms Foy said.

“Our position has always been that permitted exemptions undermine the inclusive spirit in which this fight has been fought,” Ms Foy said. “Allowing businesses to turn away LGBTI people getting married isn’t fair. Any form of discrimination should not be enshrined in law.”

Along with countless other LGBTI community groups, the GLRL remains committed to the belief that the most appropriate way of moving forward is with a vote in Parliament, Ms Foy said.

“We will continue the meaningful discussions with MPs from all parties that have been underway for some time, in order to achieve marriage equality as soon as possible.

“We look forward to continuing to working with all members of Parliament to make equality a reality at long last in the very near future.”

Momentum for progress is strong, with community support for marriage equality at all-time high levels, Ms Foy said.

“LGBTI groups across the country have united and with them, we are confident that equality is on the horizon,” she said.

Since 1988, the Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby has been leading the fight for substantive equality and social justice for lesbians, gay men and their families in NSW.