Last Sunday I was honoured to be a guest speaker, alongside the Member for Brisbane Central Rob Cavallucci and Greens candidate for the Federal seat of Brisbane Rachel Jacobs at the launch of a new community organisation, DIGS. DIGS stands for Diversity in Gender and Sexuality, and is named that way to avoid the alphabet soup that we have seen for so long with LGBTIQ. It is an organisation intended to be non-partisan, and to campaign for equality for LGBTIQ people.
When I spoke, I said how I had helped the then Queensland Association for Gay and Lesbian Law Reform (QAGLR) in drafting, advice and training and that in 1990 it didn't look like there would be much law reform happening. Then one day there was but a glimmer- an industrial award which recognised a same sex relationship. Then followed the flood- 1992 changes in Queensland when almost all State based discriminatory laws went. Similar changes happened Federally in 2008/2009.
Unfortunately, true equality is still not there. There are still laws that discriminate against those in LGBTIQ relationships- the most prominent one of which was that of marriage.
Both Rob Cavallucci and Rachel Jacobs spoke passionately. Cavallucci spoke about how in Italian heritage he had been to many big weddings, and that it was just plain wrong not to allow people to marry, based on their sexuality and gender. Jacobs said that it was a sign of our society that our laws are such that they do not allow same sex couples to marry- one of the most fundamental rights that we take for granted.
Probably the most surprising speaker was an impromptu speaker, Jenner Cram. Cram is a civil celebrant. She said that there had been a fundamental shift in society as to the attitude of gay marriage, and that politicians as a general rule were out of touch. Fully two thirds of those heterosexual couples seeking her services to get married take objection to the required words of the Marriage Act being said- namely the union of one man and one woman- and raise it with her first! And the reason for their objection- because gay and lesbian people cannot marry. As they say to Jennifer- why should the law be unfair?