Back to All News

Sydney hearing told Australia should seize moment and achieve marriage equality

Media Release
Sarah Hanson-Young 3 May 2012

The Sydney hearing into Senator Sarah Hanson-Young's marriage equality bill has today heard Australia should seize the moment and change the Marriage Act so same-sex couples can have the same legal recognition as heterosexual couples.

"Prominent Australians to Aussie mums and dads have shown overwhelming support for marriage equality, to allow lesbian and gays Australians to marry the person they love in the country they love," Greens' human rights spokesperson, Sarah Hanson-Young, said.

"Marriage equality is about restoring dignity and respect for the way we treat our fellow Australians under law regardless of a person's sexuality or the gender of the person they love."

"Witnesses to today's hearing, along with the tens of thousands of written submissions, have urged the Australian parliament to seize this chance and remove discrimination from the Marriage Act.

"Parents said while their sons and daughters can fight for our country, they heal us, they teach us, they cook and clean for us and entertain us, they aren't equal under the law.

"Michael Kirby AC told the committee despite being one of our nation's top judges, he is still a second-class citizen under the law. We parliamentarians need to change the law so he and other consenting adults no longer feel second-class purely because they are in a same-sex relationship and want it to be recognised publicly.

"Australians have made 75,000 submissions to my bill - the most in the history of the Australian parliament. Most are in support of marriage equality, showing the depth of feeling among everyday Australians who want their government to act.

"Conservatives such as British Prime Minister David Cameron say achieving marriage equality will strengthen marriage and strengthen families. Indeed, Michael Kirby told us of the great health benefits that stem from stable, loving relationships between two people.

"Religious groups will still be free to decide whether to marry consenting adult couples. My marriage equality amendment bill is for civil marriages, the most popular form of marriage in Australia.

"For these reasons and more, the Greens again urge Tony Abbott to grant a conscience vote to Coalition members, so that the parliament can this year grant marriage equality to same-sex couples.

"Australian gay and lesbians have for decades been told by their government that they are second class. The Greens say the best signal their parliament and government can send to say those days are over is for the Marriage Act to be amended."

Back to All News