Marriage equality in Australia… are we nearly there?

Australia is one of the last English speaking countries to still prohibit same-sex marriage. But momentum is growing in Australia for the Government to remove discrimination from the Marriage Act. The recent victories in Ireland and America have spurred debate around marriage equality and public opinion polls show a majority of Australians support the cause.

This week Parliament returns from its winter break and there are several bills proposing to legalise same-sex marriage being presented. At least one of these is co-sponsored by members of the governing party and the opposition.

While Labor members will be allowed a conscience vote on the issue, the Coalition party room has voted against allowing Liberal and National MPs a free vote on marriage equality. The Coalition will instead continue to support the traditional ‘existing position’ that marriage is between a man and a woman. Prime Minister Tony Abbott has committed to allowing a free vote for Coalition MPs or a plebiscite after the next election.

Analysts say that the numbers on each side of the debate are almost equally matched, and to ensure its passage through parliament, both major parties would have to allow its members a conscience vote.

So while it seems that marriage equality in Australia may not be achieved during the current Federal Parliament, there is certainly hope and opportunity for change during the next one.

Keen to show support for marriage equality in Australia?

There are plenty of ways to do so, one of which is to check out Australian Marriage Equality (AME). They’re an advocacy group that partners with a range of organisations, supporters and volunteers to end the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage in Australia. There are many ways individuals and organisations can get involved and support AME and marriage equality, from volunteering to speaking with your local member of parliament.

Visit AME’s website for more details.

Getting hitched soon? You can still share your views on marriage equality in the ceremony.

Unfortunately until this law is changed, marriage ceremonies need to legally include the monitum – the part where the celebrant says marriage is between a man and a woman. If you disagree with this, check out Secret #56 in the book Sixty Secrets for a Happy Bride for some ideas on how you and your partner can address this in your ceremony, and make your views known.