Australian polls continue to favour allowing same-sex marriage, including a Nielsen poll released on Monday showing 57 percent of respondents support the concept.
Crowds in Melbourne and Brisbane gathered over the weekend to call for the current ban to be lifted, with a strong pre-election showing of politicians from all stripes.
Although crowd numbers in Melbourne were down on the August rally, a colourful audience gathered at the State Library to hear Education Minister Bronwyn Pike — who has a gay son — reiterate her support for change.
“It is completely unjustifiable and completely unforgivable that I can marry but my gay friends and family members can’t,” Pike told the crowd.
“That is a travesty. I want to do every thing I possibly can to fight it.”
Speaking about her sister’s right to marry her partner, Australian Sex Party convenor Fiona Patten said the current marriage law was outdated and unfair.
“There should be no law that discriminates against someone on the basis of their sexuality,” Patten said. “It’s archaic … we’re in 2010.”
During Patten’s address the Sex Party displayed giant puppet heads of Opposition Leader Ted Baillieu and Premier John Brumby, who posed for a bipartisan puppet pash.
Out comedian Josh Thomas also shared his experiences being bullied as a teen.
“In high school I was often informed by bigger, stupider boys that I was a faggot … and often they’d reinforce that point by pelting coins at my head,” Thomas said.
“The Marriage Act as it stands sides with the bigger, stupider boys that bullied me in high school. The Marriage Act implies that if I love guys I’m a freak, I don’t fit in and my love is not as worthy as other people’s love. The Marriage Act needs to change.”
Thomas had his own take on the latest polling results.
“Latest polls are showing that 60 percent want to change and that 40 percent of Australians are big idiot, douche, f***s,” he said.
Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said the Nielson poll showed Labor and Coalition policy to be out of step, and predicted a change to marriage laws “during this government”.
“We need leadership to end discrimination in the Marriage Act, rather than rigid party lines that deny a group of Australians the right to marry the one they love, because of their sexuality,” Hanson-Young said.
“Australians can’t see reasons to justify our outdated marriage laws, now the only ones left to change are the politicians.”
Grassroots advocacy group GetUp! has again thrown its weight behind the marriage equality campaign, petitioning MPs for change following Greens MP Adam Bandt’s motion requesting parliamentarians canvass their constituents on the issue.
A group of Coalition MPs, however, have told Parliament that reforms to end discrimination against intersex and transgender Australians and older GLBTIs should be achieved before dealing with same-sex marriage.
During debate on Bandts’ motion, Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch said although he supported marriage equality, areas of graver need included, “where some individuals are unable to access the necessary Medicare rebate codes required to provide medical treatment because of the way the government sees their sex”.
Liberal MPs Malcolm Turnbull and Teresa Gambaro also backed Entsch’s sentiment.
Marriage equality campaigners will march in Sydney and Adelaide this weekend. Canberra and Perth marched on November 6.