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.
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.