As organisations and leaders of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) communities, we wish to express our gratitude to the many Parliamentarians across the political spectrum who have supported marriage equality for many years, and in particular those who reflected the concerns of LGBTI people, their family members and supporters of marriage equality about the impact of plebiscite. We value your support in continuing to advocate for a Parliamentary vote.
An overwhelming majority of the Australian people, a majority of both houses of parliament and leaders of all major parties support marriage equality. We have never had so much support for achieving this important step towards every Australian having the same opportunities as their neighbour.
The plebiscite bill proposed by government does not have the required numbers to pass the Senate, and appears certain to be rejected by the Senate. We are calling on Parliament to vote down the plebiscite machinery legislation. By rejecting the plebiscite, Parliament will in part acknowledge the potential impact on our communities caused by exposure to the divisive and marginalising language used by a vocal minority who oppose marriage equality. Our concerns about the negative impact of the plebiscite are based on lived experience and supported by research. This impact is also exacerbated by the continued uncertainty around our equal rights, and a continued campaign by those who oppose reform, which further underscores our request for immediate action by the Parliament.
We once again call on the parliamentary representatives and leaders who support reform to come together and deliver a parliamentary path to reform in this term, so that every Australian is able to marry the person they love, in the country they cherish, on equal terms.
Our shared goal is simple – we want marriage equality as soon as possible. The most efficient and effective way of achieving marriage equality is a vote in Parliament, a power confirmed by the High Court in 2013.
We make this call not only on behalf of LGBTI communities and their families who have been waiting for over a decade, but importantly to ensure future generations of LGBTI Australians can grow up knowing they are equal to their peers under the law.
By working together, Parliament can fix this inequality. Therefore we urge Parliament to establish a cross party marriage equality working group now to ensure that the next bill delivered has cross party support, and provides a process and strategy to ensure that the majority of Parliamentarians who support marriage equality will be able to vote in favour of the legislation.
In the meantime, we will continue to build on the growing momentum to achieve marriage equality. We will continue to demonstrate the strong and diverse support for marriage equality across the nation. We will continue until LGBTI people are afforded the dignity and equality they deserve.
List of Signatories (as of 19/10/2016)
Rowena Allen, (Gender & Sexuality Commissioner, Dept of Premier & Cabinet, Victoria)
Ambassadors & Bridge Builders International
Dr Gávi Ansara
Asian Australian Rainbow Alliance (AAuRA)
Australian Catholics for Equality
Australian GLBTIQ Multicultural Council
Australian Lawyers for Human Rights LGBTI Rights Subcommittee
Australian Marriage Equality
Australian Transgender Support Association Queensland
Australians for Equality
Brave Network Melbourne
Brisbane Gay and Lesbian Business Network
Brisbane LGBTI Action Group
Carmen Rupe Memorial Trust
Connect for Life Tasmania
Johann De Joodt
Equal Marriage Rights Australia
Geelong Pride Games
Gender Diversity Alliance South Australia
Gender Help for Parents
Human Rights Law Centre (HRLC)
Lesbians in the Shoalhaven Area
LGBTI Legal Service
Marriage Equality Gilmore
Dr. Ruth McNair
Metropolitan Community Church – Melbourne
Jane Elizabeth Moore
Muslims Against Homophobia
National LGBTI Health Alliance
New South Wales Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby
Northern Territory AIDS and Hepatitis Council
Pride in Diversity
Queer Muslims Sydney
Rosh Pinah: An Affirming Orthodox Jewish Network
Sydney Gay and Lesbian Business Association
Sydney Gay Meditation Group
Transgender Equality Alliance
Victorian AIDS Council
Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby
Rev’d J. Peter Weeks