same-sex mar­riage in Aus­tralia?

Se­ri­ously though, it’s a fair ques­tion. More than 62% of Aus­tralians be­lieve same-sex cou­ples should be al­lowed to get mar­ried, yet the peo­ple who run our coun­try still aren’t here for it.

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did you know we’re the only English-speak­ing democracy that doesn’t al­low same-sex cou­ples to get mar­ried? Yep, it’s true! In fact, 23 coun­tries across the world have passed a mar­riage equal­ity bill – but Aus­tralia? No. And the cur­rent gov­ern­ment doesn’t re­ally seem to be do­ing any­thing con­struc­tive to make it hap­pen. Got a zil­lion ques­tions? Yep, so do we…

Why is this is­sue tak­ing so damn long to sort?

The cur­rent gov­ern­ment’s stance on the mat­ter is to al­low the pub­lic to cast their vote and the MPs could then choose to go with the re­sults or ig­nore them, a pol­icy known as a plebiscite. But un­for­tu­nately, the no­tion didn’t pass the Se­nate in 2016, bring­ing ev­ery­thing to a screech­ing halt.

What’s our PM’s stance on this sitch?

Mal­colm Turn­bull is in a bit of an awks po­si­tion. In the past, he has shown his sup­port for gay rights (he even at­tends the an­nual Syd­ney Mardi Gras), but when he took over as PM af­ter Tony Ab­bott, he agreed to the plebiscite. Mean­ing that if he de­cides he’s all for a vote for same-sex mar­riage with­out the plebiscite, he risks los­ing the sup­port of the con­ser­va­tive side of his party. Crit­ics ac­cuse him of mak­ing a show of sup­port­ing gay rights, but be­ing weak when it comes to tak­ing ac­tion.

So what about Aus­tralia’s Op­po­si­tion Leader?

Op­po­si­tion Leader Bill Shorten an­nounced that he’s all for a vote for same-sex mar­riage as well. “If we get the chance to vote up mar­riage equal­ity and have a vote on it in the Par­lia­ment, a fair dinkum vote, we are ab­so­lutely up for that,” Mr Shorten told ABC’s 7.30 pro­gram. But will the bill be brought for­ward? Well, that re­quires four Lib­eral MPs to cross the floor. So here’s look­ing at you, MPs!

What was the point of that emer­gency meet­ing held in Au­gust?

You might have heard about the PM call­ing a meet­ing to dis­cuss the Lib­eral gov­ern­ment’s plans re­gard­ing same-sex mar­riage. The re­sult was to staunchly com­mit to the plebiscite plan, which seems doomed to fail.

Where are we now?

Know­ing that, Mr Turn­bull has an­nounced a vol­un­tary postal vote that could com­mence as soon as September 12, with the votes due back by Novem­ber 7. The re­sult will be is­sued on Novem­ber 25.

The Prime Min­is­ter has said he wants this re­solved by Christ­mas, but Par­lia­ment shuts down on

De­cem­ber 8, which only gives a very brief amount of time in which to re­solve it.

It’s a lengthy process that will cost more than $120 mil­lion and the gov­ern­ment is not ob­li­gated to hon­our the ma­jor­ity vote, which is why ev­ery­one is so frus­trated.

There­fore, the gov­ern­ment holds all the cards and the is­sue very well may not be re­solved in 2017.

What can you do?

At this point, you’re probz think­ing, ‘I’m not even old enough to vote yet. There’s noth­ing I can do!’ But that’s SO not true! Show your sup­port on so­cial me­dia by us­ing the hash­tags #TeamEqual­ity, #LoveWins and #Mar­riageEqual­ity.

Also, head to the mar­riage equal­ity web­site (aus­tralian­mar­riagee­qual­ity.org) and: • Type in your post­code and, if your Fed­eral Mem­ber is op­posed, write them a pow­er­ful email urg­ing them to sup­port a free vote.

• Sign the equal­ity cam­paign pe­ti­tion to sup­port same-sex mar­riage.

• Suss out the fact sheets and sta­tis­tics to be armed with knowl­edge when speak­ing with anti-mar­riage equal­ity peeps.

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