Rainbow Labor is buckling down to decide its next steps after two incredible wins for gay and lesbian law reform at State and Federal level, and at the top of the agenda is if and how it will campaign for same-sex marriage.

Over the next few months we’re starting that conversation with our membership and the broader ALP membership, particularly what we want to see out of relationship recognition and the future of legislation in this area, the new Rainbow Labor NSW co-convenor Michael Vaughan told Sydney Star Observer.

Nothing is off the table.

The caucus of gay and lesbian ALP members has supported equal marriage rights since before the party officially endorsed state-based relationship registers just last year, but since then Rainbow Labor has kept its profile low. Vaughan said it was now looking for new members.

A lot of people might not join the ALP unless they saw a reason to, like to be part of Rainbow Labor, he said.

Membership is not automatic like any identity politics. You essentially have to stick up your hand and say you want to be part of it.

Vaughan said he joined Rainbow Labor two years ago because it was how the gay and lesbian community could engage directly with the people who count. A number of inner-city MPs regularly attend its events, he said.

At the end of the day those reforms will always be passed by members of Labor, Vaughan said.

It’s not to diminish the role other parts of the community play. The most critical part of the argument takes place in the party.

He looked to the win by women in parliament for access to the RU486 contraceptive drug as an example of how minority groups can achieve big goals through broad powerful coalitions across different political groups.

That’s where the queer community needs to be looking in the next phase of same-sex law reform, Vaughan said.

It’s a slightly different situation with queer politics as opposed to feminist politics, in that there isn’t an established toehold inside all the major parties.

Adoption reform for gay and lesbian couples was also important in NSW, Vaughan said, but everybody in the group had their own list of priorities.

info: Community members interested in the ALP or Rainbow Labor can contact Michael Vaughan at rainbow.labor@gmail.com.

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