Equal rights for LGBTI people
Finally -- we have marriage equality in Australia
Thursday 7 December, 2017, was a historic day for Australia’s LGBTI community - legislation passed through Parliament to amend the Marriage Act to include all couples.
Less than one month earlier, tens of thousands of Sydneysiders gathered at beautiful Prince Alfred Park to hear the results -- a resounding YES!
Of those who participated in the federal government’s postal survey, 61.6% said yes to marriage equality (and 83.7% of Sydneysiders).
I know that these amendments to the marriage act are far from the last hurdle for our LGBTI community. As I have done for decades – I will continue to march arm-in-arm with you.
Many members of the LGBTI community still face discrimination in the workplace, at school and in their families.
In Sydney, we have more LGBTI people than any other council in Australia, and for more than 30 years, I have been fighting against the discrimination of our community – from my 1993 Homosexual Anti-Vilification Bill in 1993, which made it illegal to incite hatred of gay men and lesbians, and my 2010 Adoption Amendment (Same Sex Couples) Bill, which passed in a nail-biting conscience vote. Now, children can be adopted by both their parents if they are in a same sex relationship.
I held forums in Parliament to discuss discrimination of people living with HIV/AIDS and the availability of drugs. In 1992 I lobbied the Health Minister, St Vincent's Hospital Board and finally the Premier to achieve six new AIDS beds at St Vincent’s as patients were suffering in the overcrowded casualty ward.
I saw my friends die from AIDS and suffer discrimination even in death when family members failed to honour their wishes over their estate or their request to be buried with their partner.
I introduced my Significant Personal Relationships Bill in 1997 to protect all relationships. While it did not pass this Parliament, it became a model for Tasmanian and Victorian legislation, and was the basis for a register in New South Wales introduced by the former Government.
As Lord Mayor, I established a dedicated LGBTI community program officer role at the City of Sydney. Since 2010 we have flown the rainbow flag above Sydney Town Hall to mark the beginning of the Mardi Gras Festival. Two hundred rainbow banners have also been flown along Oxford and Flinders Streets since 2005. And the City of Sydney Council unanimously voted to support the Yes Campaign through our beautiful Vote Yes banners and an accommodation grant to Australian Marriage Equality for The Equality Shop on Oxford Street. We’ll also waive venue hire fees on parks and venues in the City of Sydney for same-sex couples for a period of 100 days after amendments to the Marriage Act become law and we’re working with the Sydney Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages to host a same-sex wedding celebration in Sydney Town Hall as soon as practicable after the Marriage Act is amended.
Will you sign and stand with me so we can continue to advocate for LGBTI people?