After big turnouts at the National Day of Action we deserve to give ourselves a pat on the back. The Labor Party does not.
Across the country close to 10,000 marched in nine cities. Melbourne had the biggest turnout with nearly 5000 attending after The Age published the event’s details alongside an opinion piece by Equal Love’s Tim Wright, showing what can happen when we call for support through mainstream media.
Despite fighting behind the scenes for a compromise, the best the Labor Left could get was a tiny change of wording, removing explicit exclusion of gays from anything that smells like marriage from the ALP platform and replacing it with a direct reference to an Act of Parliament that does the same.
We still don’t have a promise of an opt-in model under Federal law, and no states have announced they will honour the promise made at 2007’s ALP conference for nationally consistent state-based schemes.
Member for Grayndler Anthony Albanese evoked the Rolling Stones for his take on the changes: you can’t always get what you want but you get what you need.
Sorry Anthony -” it’s old soap with a new slogan, and we need a lot more than that.
He is right, though, when he says this campaign is unstoppable and if he and others in the ALP Left can’t convince their Right brethren to let them speak out more they may find themselves passed by at the next Federal election.
And Julia Gillard is looking worse for wear as an alternative leader after telling Sky News that marriage is between a man and a woman.
To go forward from here there are things we must do.
We must put our money where our mouth is through a national print, radio and TV advertising campaign. The time of lobbyists quietly talking to politicians behind closed doors is over -” we need to take our argument to the people.
We must actively court the involvement of heterosexuals in this campaign.
And we must reach out to progressive people of faith and treat them with less hostility. When gay-accepting faiths add their names to the cause of marriage equality, religious arguments against it crumble.