The legalisation of same sex marriage in Australia has been under discussion since quite some time now. The country has been flooded with polls and opinions regarding this new possibility. According to recent studies, the public’s response shows an inclination towards the acceptance of gay marriage.
A recent poll that was conducted by Alternative Census in mid July 2011 revealed that 7 out of 10 people in Australia support same sex marriages. The vote was fairly constant throughout the country and same-sex marriage had the strongest support in Tasmania and Canberra. What’s astounding is that even the least enthusiastic states, namely Queensland, Northern territory, and South Australia, had two-thirds of the voting party in favour of giving same sex couples a chance to engage in holy matrimony.
Roy Morgan Research also conducted a poll in early August 2011, in an effort to contribute to this hot national topic. The poll asked a group of 543 people if gay people should have the right to get married. Almost 68% of the group responded positively which clearly reflects that Australia is ready to accept same-sex marriages. This is a drastic change in opinion from the 2004 figures, when an SBS commissioned News poll revealed that only 38% of the Australian population supported this stance .
The matter has become a topic of interest among celebrities and sport stars as well. Rugby Union star David Pocock has refused to tie the knot with Emma Palindri until the government legalises same sex marriages. According to him, “It comes down to equal love. I don’t think it’s the government’s role to tell people that their love is right or wrong”.
Although the topic is still under discussion, the Australian Labour party (ALP) is facing international pressure, from human rights and Labour figures, in favour of the legalisation of this controversial issue. According to the Australian Marriage Equality National Convener, Alex Greenwich, “Labour parties and human rights organizations around the world will be watching the ALP National Conference and hoping the ALP upholds its fundamental values and by supporting equality”. Moreover, the ALP’s national president Jenny McAllister has also said yes to the legalisation of this clause.
According to psychologists and sociologists, the non-legalisation of same sex marriages makes gay couples feel alienated from the rest of the society. They feel frustrated because they aren’t entitled to the basic right of marriage merely because of a difference in sexual preference.
Currently, Australia allows gay couples to enter into civil unions in Tasmania, New South Wales, Victoria and Australian Capital Territory. Although this gives gay couples the right to access most relationship entitlements, it isn’t a fully legal status. This limited status makes the couples feel like second class citizens in their own homeland.
This growing urgency among same sex couples for the legalisation is evident from the reported polls and a very popular new marriage equality video that concludes with a very powerful statement: End marriage discrimination (see video below). Different political parties have different stances regarding this issue but the public is apparently supporting this legalisation of this fundamental right to marry by choice with great zeal and enthusiasm.
Watch the video below made by the Australian organisation www.GetUp.org.au that has become viral around the world and re-ingnited the marriage discrimination debate here and overseas.
What are your thoughts about the gay marriage debate in Australia? Leave your comments below.