Marriage equality advocates have welcomed support for same-sex marriage from high-profile Australian Stuart Diver.
“it’s hard enough to find true love in the world without putting up more barriers. If two people love each other then they should be granted the same rights as everyone else in the community,” Diver said in a statement provided to Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG).
“If you believe, as I do, that marriage is an extremely meaningful way to show your love and commitment to a partner then it should be available to all in our community regardless of gender or sexuality.”
Diver was the sole survivor of the 1997 Thredbo disaster that killed 18 others including his wife. He survived for 67 hours in sub zero temperatures before being rescued and is now the face public of the Salvation Army’s charity work.
PFLAG national spokesperson Shelley Argent said Diver was someone who knows better than most how precarious life is.
“[He has ]a valuable perspective on the pettiness of laws which put up barriers to love and happiness,” Argent said.
“The parents and friends of same-sex attracted Australians thank Stuart for making a public stance on this important issue of equality.”
Argent called on Tony Abbott to allow a Coalition conscience vote on marriage equality to match Julia Gillard’s support for a Labor conscience vote.
“A true conscience vote is a one that isn’t guided by party politics but applies across the whole Parliament”, she said.
“Julia Gillard’s support for a Labor conscience vote isn’t credible, and neither is her continued opposition to marriage equality on the basis of tradition given she is in an unconventional defacto relationship.
“Parents and friends of same-sex attracted Australians are angry that our loved ones’ relationships continue to be used as a political football by the major parties.”