Progressive lobby group GetUp! looks set to rejoin the campaign for GLBTI equality following a meeting with GLBTI rights groups.
The group, which has close to 400,000 members, has not played an active role in the campaign for GLBTI rights since its 2007 Equality Before The Law campaign to remove discrimination against same-sex couples under federal law.
Australian Coalition for Equality spokesman Corey Irlam told Sydney Star Observer the meeting had come about as a result of over a year’s worth of behind-the-scenes communication between the groups.
“ACE had been talking with GetUp! over the past 18 months on a range of topics affecting the GLBTI community as had the NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby and Australian Marriage Equality,” Irlam said. “The meeting in September provided an opportunity for GetUp! to bring those conversations together.”
Irlam said GetUp! had been a largely passive force in the marriage equality campaign since commissioning a poll in 2007 that showed 57 percent of Australians supported same-sex marriage, but he hoped to see GetUp! return to active campaigning on the issue before the next federal election.
“Ultimately that’s a decision for GetUp! and its members, but I’m confident the GLBTI community can encourage them to play a big part in educating middle Australia about why marriage equality is important for all Australians and not just same-sex couples,” Irlam said.
“We’re also making sure GetUp! is aware of our issues regarding the urgent need for federal anti-discrimination laws and hopefully we’ll see GLBTI included in any GetUp! campaign on that broader issue.”
AME national convenor Alex Greenwich said he found GetUp! to be supportive of both marriage equality and a conscience vote on the issue in Parliament.
“It is great to have their interest and involvement,” Greenwich said.
“We are now working together collaboratively to work out how best they can add value to the process.”
GetUp! national director Simon Sheikh said his members were broadly supportive of marriage equality and GetUp! had been looking for opportunities to support GLBTI equality for some time.
“The purpose of the meeting we held with the GLRL, ACE and AME was to find out what work was being done already and where GetUp! could fit in with existing strategies to force change on this issue,” Sheikh said.
“Laws prohibiting people in same-sex relationships from marriage are outdated and unreasonable. It doesn’t make sense to deny anyone, simply on the basis or gender or sexuality, the right to demonstrate their commitment through marriage if they choose to do so.”
Sheikh said the organisation had not yet decided what form its support on the issue of federal anti-discrimination laws might take.
“But we certainly back the [Australian Human Rights] Commission’s call for federal protection from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity and we look forward to seeing the results of that consultation,” Sheikh said.