Soon, the men and women we have elected to lead us will be asked to vote on two different bills in the House of Representatives to amend the Marriage Act 1961.
The new bills call for the right of two people to marry regardless of their sexual orientation to be enshrined in Australian law. A vote is expected after the findings from inquiries into the bills are tabled in Parliament on June 18. We encourage all MPs to vote in favour of reform – even if it means crossing the floor of the parliament.
In December 2011, it became Australian Labor Party policy to advocate for same-sex marriage. But rather than adopt it as an official platform, Julia Gillard’s government has chosen to allow MPs to vote according to their conscience.
Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has refused to allow Coalition members a conscience vote, ordering that they instead vote along the party line, which opposes same-sex marriage. Even so, some Coalition MPs have indicated they’d be willing to cross the floor and support the bills.
Recently, US President Barack Obama endorsed same-sex marriage; New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said he doesn’t oppose it; and Cristina Kirchner, president of Argentina – where same-sex marriage is legal – vowed to write to Ms Gillard to encourage her to change her position.
This is an historic opportunity and it’s important that our elected officials seize it. You, too, can play an important role by lobbying them at this junction in our development as a fair, tolerant and inclusive society. If you believe people have the right to marry their partner regardless of their sexual orientation, we invite you to join marie claire and GetUp! in campaigning for change.
Sign GetUp's petition to help demand marriage equality here: http://www.getup.org.au/campaigns/marriage-equality/petition/sign-and-shareFollow marie claire on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news on the campaign.