Today marks one year since Australians overwhelmingly voted ‘Yes’ to the question of whether LGBTI Australians can marry the person they love.
Anna Brown, Co-Chair of the Equality Campaign and Director of Legal Advocacy with the Human Rights Law Centre said it was incredible seeing the majority of the nation back marriage equality and a fair go for all LGBTI Australians last year on November 15.
“A year ago the nation celebrated with LGBTI Australians, their friends and families. Since then we’ve had a year where all Australians have had the same opportunities for love, commitment and to be treated equally.”
“It’s been a wonderful year of cake and rainbow flags with LGBTI couples finally being able to say ‘I do’. Marriage equality has taken from no one and given absolute joy to LGBTI Australians, their families and friends,” Anna Brown said.
Earlier this year, following leaks of the 20 recommendations from the Religious Freedom Review many Australians were outraged to learn that under current anti-discrimination laws, schools and other services run by religious bodies are legally able to discriminate against LGBTI children, clients and workers. The inquiry was called following the deeply flawed idea that marriage equality for LGBTIQ people would somehow pose a threat to religious freedom.
“We reject this utterly, and remain concerned that conservative religious forces within the Coalition will be extracting their ‘price’ for marriage equality. There should be no price paid for equality,” Anna Brown said.
“Australians voted for fairness and equality this time last year, not discrimination against LGBT people. Kids in schools should be worrying about classes and their homework, not living in fear of mistreatment because of who they are. Teachers should be able to do their job without having to hide who they are,” Anna Brown said.
Michelle and Rhonda’s story
“It was ironic that we were apart on the day that Australia voted that we could be together, legally. I was in Sydney and Rhonda was in Melbourne. Thanks to Facetime we were ‘virtually’ together as we watched the results announcement for the Marriage Equality survey. After 6 months of never daring to dream that our love and relationship was going to be legally recognised, we were beautifully, joyfully and tearfully surprised at the result.
We said in our joint wedding speech (only 4 months later!) our two reasons to get married were firstly, because we adore one another and secondly, to salute and honour all of the campaigners who have given their lives, time, tears and energy for our right to be considered equal.”
Michelle and Rhonda Redfern (engaged 12/12/17 married 25/3/18 together 18 years and going strong)
Anna Brown is available for interviews this week.
Michelle Bennett: Director of Communications: 0419 100 519