Tomorrow I will join the rally in Sydney Square to speak in support of equal marriage rights.
It will be the seventh rally calling for Equal Marriage Rights that I have supported since I became Lord Mayor in 2004 and the first where I believe there are grounds for hope.
Twelve months ago, federal political leadership across Labor and Liberal insisted that marriage can only be between a man and a woman, with their parties largely falling in behind them. Over the past year, the Australian community has increasingly said it doesn't agree.
During the recent Federal election campaign, people outside the GLBT community began seriously talking about same sex marriage. A Vietnam veteran asked the Opposition leader on national television why his gay son could not marry the man he loved, with the Opposition Leader struggling and failing to provide a reasonable, compassionate answer.
Since the election, politicians, including some cabinet ministers, have expressed their support for same sex marriage. The House of Representatives voted narrowly to ask MPs to seek their electorate's views on the issue. Some MPs are doing that and finding that their constituents are not vehemently opposed.
It is also encouraging that last November the NSW Parliament supported my bill to allow same sex couples to adopt. A few years ago, that change was in the "too hard" basket-along with same sex marriage.
As Lord Mayor and MP I have consistently and actively supported recognition for committed same sex relationships. I am prepared to introduce a private member's Bill to achieve same sex marriage in NSW if I am re-elected as MP for Sydney and if it is constitutionally possible. As a first step I will seek advice on the suggestion by the eminent law professor, George Williams, that the states may not be limited by a narrow definition of marriage and be able to legislate for same sex marriage.
Taking this step would only be an interim measure. The Federal Parliament must ultimately take action to ensure that all Australians can marry the partner of their choice. It should be possible for every Australian who wants to make a life commitment to the person he or she loves-and have it recognised and supported equally by the law.
- Equal Marriage Rights National Day of Action Rally, Saturday 19 March 1pm at Town Hall. For more information phone Cat 0405 770 302 or Ben 0434 082 229.