Tuesday, 30 April 2013 12:21
Equal Love Melbourne convenor Ali Hogg:
“A referendum to extend full marriage rights to all couples regardless of gender is something every equal rights activist should fully get behind. It would be an exciting opportunity for the great majority of people in Australia to show their support for equality, and to demonstrate just how out of step the two major parties are with public opinion on this issue. Just as the 1967 referendum accorded civil rights and equality before the law to Aboriginal people, we are confident a referendum on equal rights for LGBTI people would result in a similar step forward for civil rights today.”
In response to the concerns of some in the marriage equality movement who have argued that a referendum would mobilise bigotry and that legislation is preferable, Hogg argues:
“We are not afraid of the homophobic scare campaign that anti-gay groups like the Australian Christian Lobby are sure to wage. That all people should be treated equally before the law, regardless of who they choose to love, is a democratic principle upheld by the majority of Australians, and no amount of Bible quoting and homophobic ranting can change that. We strongly believe that the message of equality and civil rights will win out in any public debate on marriage rights.”
“We have waited too long for the major parties to change the law. They have shown nothing but contempt for LGBTI people and the Australian public by refusing to end discrimination in line with public attitudes and wishes. A referendum represents our chance to compel them to do the right thing, and so we welcome it. Of course, it is not counter-posed to legislation change – that should continue to be something we fight for – but a referendum could well provide a direct route to equal rights, which would be fantastic.”
Equal Love will be holding a public rally for marriage equality at 1pm on Saturday 11 May outside the State Library.