There’s mood for change, political consensus on both sides of the aisle, dozens of community groups are in agreement about the framework of legislation.
Now it’s time for one final push to make marriage equality a reality, the New South Wales Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby says.
The release today of a groundbreaking joint statement from various LGBTIQ groups about a recent Senate Committee’s conclusion on proposed same-sex marriage legislation signals another step forward in a long and hard journey.
“Progress is achieved in small steps but we’ve just taken a big one forward in achieving marriage equality,” NSW GLRL co-convenor Lauren Foy said.
However what’s important to acknowledge is that the Senate Committee outcome isn’t perfect.
“We have always been opposed to legislated exemptions, which we feel are unnecessary and deeply unfair,” Ms Foy said. “This position has been formed through extensive consultation with our members and the wider LGBTIQ community. It is our responsibility to make those views heard.
“We have recently engaged in our largest ever consultation on marriage equality, and the LGBTIQ community has resoundingly told us how they want to proceed on this issue.
“We have waited far too long for marriage equality. The time for Parliament to act is now and so we stand united with our community in pushing forward.”
If a vote were to be held in Parliament today, it’s expected that marriage equality would pass both houses. There is no valid reason for any further delay, Ms Foy said.
“We’ve held extensive discussions with MPs from all parties and momentum is greater than ever. Many, like us, agree that this issue should be resolved as soon as possible.
“We like to take this opportunity to thank all MPs we’ve engaged with over long periods of time on this issue, including those in the Liberal Party who’ve shown they are committed allies of our community.”
Community support for marriage equality is at all-time high levels, Ms Foy said. Recent studies on the mental health benefits of ending marriage discrimination also shows the need for urgency.
“We stand on the edge of history,” Ms Foy said. “All it takes is one more step to be on the right side of it, to do what is fundamentally right and fair, and to make marriage equal.”
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.