The House of Representatives today voted down one of three Marriage Equality Bills currently under consideration, with 42 votes in favour and 98 against. While this reflects a dramatic increase in parliamentary support for equal rights – up from just nine in support last time a vote was taken – the failure of the bill is nevertheless a shameful denial of civil rights to LGBTI people in Australia.
Equal Love Convener Ali Hogg:
“The voting down of this bill is an insult. It is an indictment of both major parties, neither of which have proven themselves allies of LGBTI people. We might expect nothing better from the Liberals, who have been happy to promote lunatic bigots like Corey Bernadi through their ranks for years, but the fact that the ALP has also failed to throw its weight behind equal rights, and has instead helped to maintain homophobic discrimination as law, is nothing less than shameful.
We continue to call on the ALP to make their policy in support of marriage equality binding. This is the only way in which equal rights can realistically become law. And we call on all other MPs to vote for equality next time they have the opportunity, regardless of the bigotry of their conservative leaders. We consider equality for all of sufficient importance to justify politicians taking this stand and even risking admonishment.
The vote today shows that hoping or relying on the good will or conscience of politicians is not going to be enough to get the law changed. Instead, it’s time to escalate the street campaign for civil rights and show that the public is serious about standing against homophobia. Equal rights activists will not give up until the law is changed.
We want to take this opportunity to send a warning to anti-equality politicians: everywhere you go equality activists will be protesting against you. We will keep speaking out and protesting until the voice of the majority is heard and equality becomes law.”
Equal Love is calling on equal rights supporters to join the next demonstration on Saturday 24 November at 1pm at the State Library of Victoria.