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Quotable quotes

Heather Ridout, Australian Industry Group:

I don’t think the issue of gay marriage could hardly be described as a radical, left-wing agenda. This is an issue for many people in Australia and we respect the role of the Greens in making that a major focus of debate. I respect the fact that they’ve drawn attention to this important social issue and I don’t see gay marriage as a radical agenda; it’s very relevant to many Australians.

Chris Berg, Institute of Public Affairs:

Extending the marital franchise to gay and lesbian couples would multiply the number of Australians who can join this crucial social institution, spreading the positive impact of marriage on society.

Adele Horin, Sydney Morning Herald columnist:

Marriage is more than ever a love match between equals, a primarily personal relationship in which partners maintain a level of independence. They organise their partnership on the basis of personal inclination rather than gender roles, although no one says that battle is won; they value the right to decide whether to have children or not. Is it any wonder that gays and lesbians are saying “Hey, that describes us”?

Peter Tatchell, Melbourne-born UK gay rights advocate:

Marriage is the internationally recognised system of relationship recognition. It is the global language of love. When we were young, most of us dreamed of one day getting married. We didn’t dream about having a civil partnership.

Headspace, Australia’s youth mental health foundation:

Marriage equality is primarily about ending social exclusion and giving all Australians the same basic rights. Lack of equality has strong links to mental health issues among same sex attracted young people. We want to see an end to the unnecessary stigma and isolation another generation of young Australians could face because of this inequality.

Prof Kerryn Phelps, fmr President of the Australian Medical Association:

Denying one group within a society the right to marry deliberately cuts right to the core of the emotional world of those individuals. Today, most people can’t imagine a situation where blacks and whites, or Jews and non-Jews would still be banned from marriage, not here in Australia. But some of us do not need to stretch our imaginations because we are living in a state of marriage apartheid… in Australia… right now… in 2011.

Bill Hayden, fmr Governor-General:

Yes, homosexual love is now tolerated by the law, but not marriage. There is a ‘relationship certificate’ available for them in Victoria, Tasmania and the ACT, the short end of the leash, civil partnerships. These offer some protections but do not pass muster as real equality for gays which requires the provision of marriage rights. Full recognition of gay people’s marriage rights…will really establish the depth of Labor’s commitment to the principle of people’s entitlement to be different but still fully valued law-abiding members of our society.

E/Prof Sidney Bloch, Dept of Psychiatry, University of Melbourne:

Scientific knowledge of the mind is expanding all the time. In the past, psychiatry viewed homosexuality as a mental illness. Knowledge of sexuality has improved markedly and we now recognise that homosexuality is not an illness to be cured. Moreover, there is a growing body of research suggesting that gay and lesbian people can experience benefits to their mental health and well-being if their relationships are given the same social and legal recognition as heterosexual relationships. From a mental health standpoint, the benefits of marriage should be made available to all couples regardless of the gender of the partners.

The Burnie Advocate, Editorial 19/11/2010:

Our attitude towards homosexuals and their right to marry needs to change. There is no logical argument against gay marriage. There are many countries that have been progressive enough to allow it and funnily enough the sky hasn’t fallen in. If you think about it, it’s really simple. If two people love each other, why should they not be allowed to marry?

David Cameron, Prime Minister of Britain, Leader of the Conservatives:

Conservatives believe in the ties that bind us; that society is stronger when we make vows to each other and support each other. So I don’t support gay marriage despite being a Conservative. I support gay marriage because I’m a Conservative.