No matter who wins the August 21 federal election, the Australian Human Rights Commission will call for Australia to allow same-sex couples to marry at a United Nations meeting.
A commission report lodged with the UN reads, “The Commission recommends that … the Government take all possible steps to enable equal recognition of same-sex marriage.”
The submission will be considered during the Universal Periodic Review of Australia’s human rights in January.
The Commission also notes, “There is no federal law prohibiting discrimin-ation on the ground of sexuality”, in Australia, calling for reform.
It also found GLBTI people “experience significant levels of violence, harassment and bullying in the workplace and the community”, calling on the government to be more attentive when it comes to tackling violence against GLBTI people and other vulnerable minorities.
NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby policy coordinator Senthorun Raj said he was pleased the Commission had recognised the need for a range of GLBTI reforms, but that the Lobby had wished for a recommendation for same-sex adoption.
“We’re very pleased the Commission has not only acknowledged the necessity for federal protection for people on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, but also included a further step in advocating that same-sex couples have the right to marry,” Raj told Sydney Star Observer.
“These two pieces of federal reform would greatly enhance the status of same-sex couples and gay and lesbian individuals in Australia.
“However, while the Commission at least acknowledged our position in a footnote, further steps are needed to ensure that all states and territories across Australia amend their adoption laws to permit same sex couples to be eligible to adopt.”
The lack of anti-discrimination protection for persons who are intersex or sex and gender diverse, and that sex and gender diverse Australians may have difficulty obtaining documents that reflect their sex or gender status, were other areas of concern raised by the Commission.
“The Commission recommends that sex or gender diversity be included as grounds of discrimination in federal laws, and that the Sex Files report be implemented.”
Raj said the lobby had made its own submission to the Universal Periodic Review focusing on adoption, in partnership with the Sexual Rights Initiative, an international coalition of GLBTI groups.
It is understood the Australian Coalition for Equality and Australian Marriage Equality have partnered with other organisations to do the same.