Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young will today introduce a private member’s bill to grant same-sex couples equal marriage rights in Australia, and table along with it a 30,000-strong petition in support of legalising same-sex marriage.
The Marriage Act was amended under the Howard Government in 2004 to specify that marriage could be only a union between a man and a woman. Results of a Galaxy poll commissioned by Australian Marriage Equality released last week showed 60 per cent of Australians agree that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry in Australia.
“The Greens’ Marriage Equality Amendment Bill can bring Australia into the league of other forward-thinking nations who recognise that all couples should enjoy the right to marry,” said Senator Hanson-Young, Greens spokesperson on sexuality and gender identity.
“While last year we saw some historic leaps and bounds in removing discrimination against same-sex couples within this country’s federal laws, there was a glaring omission from that suite of legislation: marriage.
“It’s well and truly time our parliament rights this wrong and legislates for true equality.”
The Greens’ Bill will also repeal the prohibition of the recognition of same-sex marriages entered into overseas.
“It’s ridiculous that a same-sex couple married in Canada, for example, can step off the plane at Sydney International Airport and have their marriage considered invalid,” she said.
Senator Hanson-Young said the Australian community was broadly supportive of equal marriage, citing polls, petitions, and community attitudes
“I’ll be tabling a petition of over 30,000 signatures in support of equal marriage rights this afternoon when I introduce the Bill,” she said.
“The Rudd Government can no longer hide behind the lame excuse of the community not being ready for same-sex marriages happening in Australia – it’s the Rudd Government who needs to catch up with public understanding.
“Australia cannot truly hold its head up high while exhorting the virtue of acceptance and celebrating diversity without equal marriage laws.”