Marriage Equality Rally

(1.30pm 11 August 2012, Town Hall Square)

I acknowledge the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, the traditional custodians of our land, and to pay my respects to their Elders, and also to acknowledge the 200 nationalities who live in our city. I also acknowledge that the largest GLBT community in Australia is living in our city.

Eight months ago I spoke at your marriage equality rally.

In those eight months:

  • Three marriage equality bills now before the federal parliament.
  • Two parliamentary inquiries have revealed the support for recognising same sex marriage.
  • A quarter million people took part in the House of Representatives online survey, with 64% supporting legalisation of same sex marriage.
  • The Senate inquiry got 59% support for the Marriage Equality Bill and recommended in favour of same sex marriage!
  • The NSW Legislative Council supported marriage equality and last weekend the Tasmanian Premier announced she would introduce a marriage equality bill.
  • Recent opinions polls show support for marriage equality is over 60%, and rising.

It is clear it is time for the national parliament to legislate marriage equality for all Australians.

Tony Abbott should allow Liberals to have a conscience vote.

He should vote to enable a new sister-in-law to become part of his family because legislating for marriage equality will bring families together.

I know what difference legal recognition can make to loving couples and loving families.

My same-sex adoption legislation showed us that.

One couple said the passage of the legislation was the happiest day of their lives - they and their two boys could become a "proper family".

This Bill passed 10 years after I first attempted to enable same sex adoption. The lesson from this, and the many other campaigns is, keep up the fight!

It took three attempts in Parliament to legalise consensual homosexual sex and another 19 years to achieve an equal age of consent. The lesson is, don't give up!

If Tony Abbott causes Marriage Equality to fail this time, New South Wales must follow Tasmania's lead. But only as an interim measure.

Because marriage equality law must be a national law.

Social change is hard, but social change does happen. With marriage equality, history is on our side!