One Unbelievable Photo Captures Why Australia Has Yet to Pass Marriage Equality

One Unbelievable Photo Captures Why Australia Has Yet to Pass Marriage Equality
Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

The referendum vote that legalized same-sex marriage in Ireland last week has inspired nations around the world to pick up the fight for marriage equality. Greenland's Parliament, for example, approved a same-sex marriage bill late last week, which will go into effect October 1. 

Yet in Australia, home to a massive annual LGBT festival and a nation with a constitutional separation of church and state, the fight for marriage equality has hit a major stumbling block: the ruling, politically conservative party called the Liberal Party. On Monday, when Labour Party Opposition Leader Bill Shorten introduced a bill to establish same-sex marriage rights, the entire Liberal Party, save five open-minded MPs, refused to attend Shorten's speech.

The shocking turnout of conservative MPs reflects how out of touch politicians are with current public opinion. According to a 2014 poll, a whopping 72% of Australians support the legalization of same-sex marriage, as reported by the Sydney Morning Herald. While thousands rally in the streets of Sydney for marriage equality, their chants land on deaf — here, literally absent — ears.

Source: Facebook

The rising momentum: Even though conservatives dismissed the bill's introduction, marriage equality in Australia appears inevitable. Constitutional history is on the side of the pro-same-sex marriage movement; prior to 2004, when then-Prime Minister John Howard passed a law banning same-sex marriage, there was no legal definition of marriage (as being between a man and a woman) in Australia. Public opinion is overwhelmingly in favor of same-sex marriage, and dozens of corporations and businesses have taken out ads in support — Bloomberg reported that marriage equality could bring $161 million of revenue to Australia in the first three years. Even conservative ranks are crumbling: Australia's answer to Rush Limbaugh, conservative radio host Alan Jones, came out in support of gay marriage in a moving speech last week. 

Even right-wing Prime Minister Tony Abbott can't deny the rapidly changing tide. He probably can't stop hearing about it, either, since his sister is a lesbian who is constantly putting public pressure on him to address the issue.

Source: Twitter

Shorten's bill also marks the first time same-sex marriage legislation has been proposed in Parliament. Conservatives can hide for only so long before a parliamentary vote is taken, or the vote goes to the people. 

Source: YouTube

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Marcie Bianco

Dr. Marcie Bianco is a Staff Writer at Mic, a Contributing Editor at Curve Magazine, and an adjunct associate professor at Hunter College. She has contributed to AfterEllen, Feministing, The Feminist Wire, The Huffington Post, Lambda Literary, XO Jane, and The Women’s Review of Books. She writes and lectures about ethics, from feminism to race relations. Her current writing projects include a manuscript about lesbian academic affairs and a collection of feminist essays.

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