Marriage Equality - The time to do this is now

The National Rainbow Labor Network is excited to welcome Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and Deputy Leader Tanya Plibersek’s Private Member’s Bill for Marriage Equality to be introduced into the House of Representatives next week.

We are proud that Bill Shorten and Tanya Plibersek are doing this together, it builds on Labor’s legacy of ending discrimination against lesbian, gay and transgender Australians in other areas of law.

After the overwhelming victory in Ireland in favour of Marriage equality Australia is now the only English speaking developed nation that has failed to implement marriage equality and Australians are tired of waiting for Australia’s parliament to act.

Irish born Western Australian Labor MP, Stephen Dawson MLC, who married his partner Dennis Liddelow under the short lived ACT reforms in 2013 and also had a civil ceremony in Ireland under it’s previous laws said, “I have chosen Australia as my home and I am frustrated that in a place that is as inclusive and diverse as Australia that I, my husband and family are still being treated as second class citizens. So I am really happy to see Bill Shorten taking the lead on this issue. I am hopeful we can finally make marriage equality a reality here.”

Co-convenor of the National Rainbow Labor Network, former Senator Louise Pratt, said “There is no doubt this is a popular reform and that Parliamentarians should be lending their support to end marriage discrimination. It is well and truly time to for MPs to come on board with recent polls showing about 72 per cent of Australians support marriage equality.

“The overwhelming majority of Labor MPs already support this reform, now Rainbow Labor will be working hard to build even more support in the Labor ranks. However, what we also know is that we can’t make marriage equality a reality without the Coalition, who have the majority of MPs in our parliament, giving the many among its ranks in favour of equality an opportunity to vote for it.”

Louise Pratt said, “The Coalition said at the last election that their party room would make a decision about whether to allow a conscience vote or not. However, the Prime Minister Tony Abbott has tried to deflect away from the fact that the Coalition will finally have to make a decision on this issue.

“It’s completely disingenuous to for the Prime Minister to have said he would prefer to be talking about the budget and jobs. This is a very simple piece of legislation and it will cost the budget nothing to end this discrimination. In fact marriage equality marriage will be a boost for jobs and the economy as same sex couples will no longer have to take their money and their friends and family overseas to get married.

“This reform is long overdue and means a lot to a great many people. Let’s just get this done. Australian’s are tired of waiting.”