Sunday, 2 August 2015

Rally for marriage equality and equality for all this Saturday in Brisbane

This Saturday I will be joining other speakers at the marriage equality rally in Brisbane. It is expected that there will be thousands present. The more the merrier! The rally will address the lottery of the law which determines who is and who is not allowed to marry their partner of choice.

I last presented at a marriage equality rally in Brisbane in 2012, the rally where the ABC afterwards tagged me as an activist. It is expected that this time that there will be many more attendees.

A majority of Australians have consistently believed that there should be marriage equality, as has happened in Canada, many countries in Europe, New Zealand, and most recently Ireland and the US.

Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson, an Abbott government appointee, has called for an end to State sanctioned discrimination against LGBTI people, including as to marriage, a call that to date has not been responded to in the affirmative.

Ever since Thomas Paine wrote in the 18th century what was considered to be a revolutionary text, The Rights of Man, human rights have been named, and those traducing those human rights have been shamed. A consistent path since the Age of Enlightenment has been the recognition of new human rights and then action taken to ensure that those rights are available.

It has always been taken for granted in Australia that heterosexual people can marry. To say that it is not a right would be a ridiculous proposition. Yet the very opposite is suggested for those who to wish to marry their beloved - of the same gender.

As the US Supreme Court recognised back in 1968, when dealing with Virginia's laws against interracial marriage, the right to marry is a fundamental human right. In the recent decision of the US Supreme Court, that fundamental human right was extended to same sex couples, as many other court decisions in the US had already done.

The ridiculous state of being that we now possess is that if a couple wish to marry- who present as opposites but are genetically of the same gender, they are allowed to marry, but if they present the same because they remain of the same gender, they cannot.

Those born male, for example, who identify and are now recognised by law as female are allowed to marry a man, but are not allowed to marry a woman- because the latter is not permitted.

Intersex people strike even more difficulties. Depending on how they were treated when growing up, it may be a purely arbitrary thing that they are allocated male or female. Depending on that luck of the draw, and decisions made by their parents and doctors when they were growing up, and who they fall in love with, will then mean in the lottery of the law as to whether they can marry or not.

Bills before the Parliament, including those sponsored by Brisbane MP's Terri Butler and Teresa Gambaro, would cure these problems. No longer will there have to be a judgment call as to whether a couple can marry, depending on their sexual orientation. They will simply be a couple, in love, wishing to live in matrimony for the rest of their lives.

Whether our Federal MP's are given the chance to vote on this issue will remain to be seen. All that we can do is to exercise our people power, let our MP's know how we feel, and turn up at rallies like this one.

The rally is at 1pm, this Saturday 8 August at Queens Park (opposite Treasury Casino).

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