Equal Love Rally Marriage Equality Speech

19 March 2011
Hon Lynn MacLaren MLC

I want to start by acknowledging the Noonygar people, on whose land we meet, and pay respects to their elders past and present.
I also acknowledge the many people who couldn’t be here today – due to work or family commitments. There were many messages of support from those people on the Facebook page.

I want to recognise the many same-sex couples who have gone to extreme lengths, to travel overseas, to be married. Though your marriage is not recognised here, I want to acknowledge you and the commitment you have made.
I also want to acknowledge the children in those families, who also suffer discrimination because their families are not recognised.

The Greens are passionate about removing the barriers to becoming a full member of society. To ending discrimination in all its forms.
Yeah, no matter which political party proposes it, we will support civil unions in this state, it’s a step in the right direction, but it doesn’t remove discrimination, it just gives it another name. The Greens support full marriage equality, and we are taking action in the House and in the Senate to make it happen. Senator Siewert will tell you about that.

Not everybody is passionate about Marriage Equality – not everybody wants to get married. Even many heterosexual people don’t choose to enter into a marriage. But the choice to marry should be one that I make for myself. The state – the government – should not  denying me the choice, by discriminating against me for the sole reason that the one I love is a woman, not a man.

If you want help in explaining to others why this is important, the Equal Love website lists the 10 arguments. I just want to mention a 

  1. Discrimination is not acceptable.
  2. Equality would challenge homophobia
  3. Other countries have marriage equality. Yet, if you live here, your rights are not recognised.
  4. Marriage equality would harm no one.
  5. A majority of Australians support it.

Australians have fought for freedoms before. We won the right for women to vote in WA in 1899 and to run for federal parliament in 1901. Aboriginal men and women achieved full rights to participate in all levels of government and in all states and territories in 1967. We ended discrimination against Australian women on the basis of marital status until the 70’s. We are still fighting for fair pay.

As same-sex attracted people, we already have some freedoms. We are protected in law from discrimination in housing or in our workplace. We are doctors, lawyers, painters, plumbers, teachers, engineers, cleaners and even miners. In my job, you would think I would have many freedoms. As a Greens Member of State Parliament, I can speak out in the media, in the parliament, and in the streets for many issues. I can call for:

  • freedom of speech
  • fair trade
  • solar not nuclear power
  • an end to domestic violence
  • stopping genocide
  • freeing children from detention
  • stopping exports of live sheep or logging of old growth forest
  • saving orangatauns and black cockatoos.

But the 4 words I can’t say in Australia is “Will you marry me?”

Open your hearts, Australia.

Support Marriage Equality.