Marriage equality's new champion
The failure of our national leaders to support marriage equality has left vacant the position of equality champion. That role has now been taken up by Tasmanian Labor Premier, Lara Giddings.
Thanks to her decision to achieve marriage equality in Tasmania, Giddings has joined a small but growing group of political leaders - New York’s Andrew Cuomo, Britain’s David Cameron, Argentina’s Cristina Kirchner - who believe the time for excuses is over.
Of course opponents of marriage equality say her motives are less than worthy.
One of their silliest criticisms is that she is using marriage equality to distract from Tasmania’s economic woes.
But given the likely $100 million injection that will come from same-sex couples marrying in Tasmania, it is actually their prejudice which is potentially robbing Tasmania of revenue and jobs.
I know Lara Giddings well enough to know this issue really means something to her and that she will do all she can to see it through.
The conviction so many Australians have seen in her frequent TV appearances on the issue is real.
The opponents of marriage equality also want to create the impression Lara Giddings is acting alone without the support of her party or the people.
This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Tasmanian Labor was the first to support marriage equality and has done so repeatedly.
At last week’s conference, as well as taking the unprecedented step of endorsing state same-sex marriage laws, it also passed a less-well publicised motion binding all Tasmanian federal politicians to vote for marriage equality.
This initiative will have a major impact on achieving reform if the other state Labor Parties follow suit.
As for the people, polls taken before Gidding’s announcement show majority support for marriage equality and for Tassie taking the lead.
It’s easy to be sceptical about Australia’s political leaders.
Too often they seem more interested in grabbing and keeping power than in making a difference.
But in Lara Giddings same-sex couples and our families have found what we have been waiting for for too long, a political leader who will do all it takes to ensure we are equal.