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National rallies tell PM Gillard and Tony Abbott it's time for marriage equality

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Sarah Hanson-Young 12 May 2012

Thousands of Australians of all ages and backgrounds have gathered around the country today for a National Day of Action to tell Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott it's time Australia had marriage equality.

"Ordinary Australians are giving the Labor and Coalition leaders a strong but positive message that it's time they removed discrimination from the Marriage Act," Greens' human rights spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said at the rally in Adelaide.

"Cupid doesn't discriminate in love and neither should our laws. It's time for love and marriage to be equal.

"This week history was made with first President Obama and then New Zealand Prime Minister John Key both saying they support marriage equality.

"Their leadership offers an opportunity for Prime Minister Gillard to change her heart and mind on letting same-sex couples publicly mark their love in the country they love.

"New Zealand's Prime Minister Key is a conservative and supports marriage equality, as does Conservative British Prime Minister David Cameron. The least Tony Abbott can do is get on the right side of history and let his conservative Coalition MPs have a conscience vote on this essential reform.

"The Greens have been advocating for marriage equality for many years and it is now not a matter of if but when.

"My marriage equality amendment bill before the Senate would achieve this, while my colleague, Adam Bandt MP, has similar legislation in the House of Representatives.

"A Senate inquiry into my bill, which received 75,000 submissions - the most in parliament's history - must table its report by June 6. A House inquiry into Mr Bandt's bill will report back by June 18.

"At the state level, Greens including Tammy Franks MLC here in South Australia and my colleagues interstate have similar bills to achieve marriage equality.

"Australians of all backgrounds keep telling our parliament that it's time the Marriage Act stopped treating gay and lesbian Australians as second class citizens.

"It's not fair that we can expect gay and lesbian Australians to defend us, teach us, care, cook, clean and entertain us, yet continue to deny same-sex couples the choice of publicly declaring their love and commitment.

"The Greens hope our federal parliament finally lets equal love reign by passing marriage equality legislation in 2012."

Audio of Sarah's door stop in Adelaide at the marriage equality rally

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