When asked for her opinion on gay marriage on the ABC’s Q and A program last week, openly lesbian Senator Penny Wong said that the Australian community felt that marriage should only be between a man and a woman.

However poll after poll has found that there is majority support for equal marriage rights for gays and lesbians. The GetUp! poll prior to last year’s federal election found that 54 percent supported same-sex marriage, while others have put the number as high as 78 percent. Is this government already out of touch?

In an age when we have openly gay and lesbian politicians in state and federal parliaments, it seems ridiculous that the federal government would so consistently and persistently speak out against marriage equality for lesbians and gay men. It is insulting to our relationships and our sense of decency.

Before the Federal Government made its apology to the Indigenous peoples of Australia earlier this year, support for the issue was found to be around 55 percent -” the same level that currently exists for same-sex marriage. After the apology was made, polls showed that support had jumped to almost 70 percent. There is a strong message here: when government leads on issues of social justice, the community responds with support.

When we spoke at the Same-Sex Marriage National Day of Action on Sunday, the message from our community was loud and clear -” we want formal relationship recognition and we want it now.

While the current reforms to provide de facto recognition for same-sex couples at a federal level will provide much of the financial and legal equality that our relationships deserve, they are nowhere near enough.

Our community has told us that it believes gays and lesbians should be able to have their relationships formally recognised through civil unions and marriage. We deserve nothing less than full equality -” no excuses.

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