Marriage equality ramps up
Close to 4000 people turned out for the National Day of Action for Marriage Equality on Saturday, May 12.
Several celebrity speakers spoke at the event including Magda Szubanski, broadcaster Charlie Pickering and comedian Tommy Little.
Magda Szubanski told the Melbourne rally that marriage rights were an important symbol in gaining wider community acceptance.
“As human beings we understand the importance of symbols. They mean something,” she said.
“They are rites of passage and they also express the way we are included in society. Or excluded.”
Pickering, host of The Project on Network Ten, said future generations of Australians would look back on the current situation with shame.
“If civil unions are enough [for same sex couples], then why don't we just ban marriage altogether?” he said.
Greens MP Adam Bandt, who has tabled one of the three marriage equality bills currently before Federal Parliament, told the crowd outside Victoria’s State Library that US President Barack Obama’s personal shift on the issue was a sign attitudes were changing around the world.
“If it’s good enough for the leader of the free world, it should be good enough for the leaders of the political parties in Australia,” Bandt said.
Talking to MCV, Equal Love convener Ali Hogg echoed Bandt’s statements:
“It’s fantastic to see how many people turned out,” Hogg said. “It was our first rally for 2012 and it shows that people are embarrassed at our being so far behind on the issue, particularly when the President of the USA supports marriage equality and we’ve seen others countries follow suit such as New Zealand and the newly elected government in France.”
Meanwhile, marriage equality advocates have applauded former Victorian ex-premier Jeff Kennett, for an article he wrote in favour of same-sex marriage.
Writing in Melbourne's Herald Sun newspaper, Kennett called on the Catholic Church to “review its position on marriage”.
"I changed my view [on gay marriage] because of the way discrimination against so many in the gay and lesbian community has caused so much stress, anxiety, depression and suicide," Kennett wrote.
"Again, this issue risks dividing communities, and that I guess is understandable. But it is an issue that reflects the changing society in which we live.
"It is time the Marriage Act was changed to reflect the desires of law-abiding citizens," Kennett said.