Curtin signs up for mar­riage equal­ity

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - Street Watch -

BENT­LEY CURTIN Univer­sity has shown its sup­port for equal rights by sign­ing an open let­ter of­fi­cially en­dors­ing its po­si­tion on mar­riage equal­ity in Aus­tralia.

The Bent­ley-based Univer­sity signed an open let­ter via na­tional or­gan­i­sa­tion Aus­tralian Mar­riage Equal­ity’s web­site.

Curtin Stu­dent Guild queer of­fi­cers Sarah Franz (21) and Rey Jabonero (20) both wel­comed the move.

Mr Jabonero has been cam­paign­ing for equal rights since com­ing out as gay at the age of 15.

“The push for mar­riage equal­ity has been a long and ar­du­ous fight for the civil rights of peo­ple to love whomever they want, no mat­ter their gen­der iden­tity,” he said.

“When Curtin be­came the sec­ond univer­sity to en­dorse mar­riage equal­ity, I felt proud to be a stu­dent and a mem­ber of the univer­sity.

“To me it was not only an endorsement, it was a state­ment of ac­cep­tance.”

Ms Franz said she joined the fight be­cause peo­ple should have the right to marry whomever they loved, re­gard­less of gen­der.

“When con­ser­va­tive coun­tries like Ire­land pass a ref­er­en­dum for mar­riage equal­ity, you know you are be­hind the times,” she said.

“It’s some­thing that most English-speak­ing coun­tries have al­ready dealt with and moved on; it’s time we did the same.”

Curtin cor­po­rate re­la­tions and de­vel­op­ment vice-pres­i­dent Val Rauben­heimer said Pride in Di­ver­sity had recog­nised Curtin as the high­est-ranked univer­sity for gay, les­bian, bi­sex­ual, trans­gen­der and in­ter­sex (GLBTI) in­clu­sion for three con­sec­u­tive years.

“Sign­ing up to the open let­ter sends a clear mes­sage to stu­dents, staff and the com­mu­nity that Curtin is pre­pared to act in ac­cor­dance with its com­mit­ment to valu­ing di­ver­sity, eq­uity and in­clu­sion, and to show lead­er­ship in pro­mot­ing so­cial jus­tice in the broader com­mu­nity,” Ms Rauben­heimer said.

“Aus­tralian univer­si­ties have an im­por­tant role to play in pro­mot­ing in­clu­sion and tol­er­ance.

“We sup­port di­ver­sity in the higher ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor and recog­nise the rights of our GLBTI stu­dents and em­ploy­ees to learn, live and work, free of prej­u­dice and dis­crim­i­na­tion.” NINE­TEEN coun­tries have passed laws to al­low same-sex mar­riage, in­clud­ing New Zealand and Great Bri­tain.

Last month, the Re­pub­lic of Ire­land held a ref­er­en­dum on same-sex mar­riage, with the ma­jor­ity vot­ing yes to mar­riage equal­ity. Curtin cor­po­rate re­la­tions and de­vel­op­ment vi­cepres­i­dent Val Rauben­heimer said com­mu­nity polling in­di­cated that Aus­tralians were in­creas­ingly sup­port­ive of mar­riage equal­ity.­mu­ni­ d439213

She said a re­cent Crosby Tex­tor sur­vey showed 72 per cent of Aus­tralians were in favour of same-sex mar­riage. “We be­lieve this over­whelm­ing level of sup­port should be re­flected with leg­isla­tive change,” Ms Rauben­heimer said.

Pic­ture: Matt Jelonek

Curtin Univer­sity Guild 2015 queer of­fi­cer Sarah Franz.

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