Eight years of marriage discrimination
The eighth anniversary of the Howard Government’s changes to the Marriage Act will be marked by protest across the country including an Equal Love rally on the steps of South Australia’s Parliament House.
James Vigus of Equal Love Adelaide told blaze the campaign for marriage equality has continued to grow since the Marriage Act changed in 2004 to be only between one man and one woman.
“Since 2009, it is hard to find any issues in Australian life that has mobilised as many people on the streets of our cities and towns time and again as that around the issue of same-sex marriage rights,” he said.
“The campaign which started as a response to the homophobic actions of the Federal Government has won over majority public support and changed the views and positions of many in the political establishment including the Australian Labor Party's formal position.
“It is a real testament to the campaign that despite many people being won over to supporting marriage equality, the campaign has never eased up in terms of political action, showing a high level of commitment to this issue in large sections of the LGBTI community and well beyond.”
Vigus added that despite the growth in public support for marriage equality there is yet to be any changes in the law.
“It is very important for everyone that supports marriage equality to remember, that yes we have won battles in our campaign, but the cold hard truth is, in terms of the Marriage Act nothing has changed since the ban was put in place in 2004.”
South Australian Greens MLC Tammy Franks agreed that support for same-sex marriage has been growing with two-thirds of Australians now in favour of the move.
“The main game of course is the looming vote in federal parliament. Should they not succeed this time, however, SA is well placed to make history and is neck and neck with Tasmania in the race for marriage equality,” she said.
Last weekend the race for state-based marriage equality saw Tasmanian Premier Lara Giddings promise to introduce legislation for same-sex marriage in Tasmania should the laws fail federally.
The announcement at the Tasmanian ALP conference makes Giddings the first state Premier to pledge same-sex marriage legislation.
“Marriage equality would boost our reputation as a state that truly values, recognises and respects the contribution of all of our citizens, regardless of their sexual orientation. It would improve mental health outcomes, especially in young people and would be an economic boon,” Franks added.
“The Williams Institute estimate the first state to legislate for marriage equality would benefit to the tune of $96 million in the first three years alone! Small businesses catering to the wedding market are big winners, but when honeymoons and other tourism benefits are added, that figure rises to as much as $170 million, at least three times as much as SA makes from the Clipsal car race each year.”
Franks added that any legislation that places same-sex marriages on equal grounds would be beneficial to the community.
“Irrespective of whether reform happens first at federal or state level, any legislation that validates and values same-sex relationships would have a positive impact on the incidence of anxiety disorders, depression and substance abuse amongst many in our community,” she said.
The Equal Love rally will start at 1pm on Saturday August 11 and includes a mass illegal wedding.