New Zealand has finished 13th in the global marathon to legalise gay marriage. But while many of our New Zealand cousins are celebrating their victory, Australia seems to have stopped at a rest area on the side of the road with no finish line in sight.
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard remains unmoved from her stance against gay marriage remarking point-blank, that she would not be changing her mind on the issue.
Any voters looking for opposition to Labours anti-gay marriage stance will not find it in Opposition leader Tony Abbot, whose stance against gay marriage appears to be as firm as ever. ”We had a parliamentary vote on this just a few months ago and it was fairly decisively rejected. That’s what this parliament had done,” Mr Abbott said.
However in the parliamentary vote that Mr Abbott was referring to, Liberal MP’s were not permitted a conscience vote forcing all Liberal members to fall in with the ‘anti-gay marriage’ party line, disregarding their own beliefs on the issue. Labour MP’s were entitled to a conscience vote however the bid to legalise same sex marriage was ultimately unsuccessful. While many gay and lesbian Australian couples are thrilled with the news that their dreams of tying the knot is only a three hour flight away, many have also expressed their discontent that they would wed in New Zealand only to ”leave their marriage at the customs gate” when they return to Australia.
Greens member, Senator Hanson-Young said ”We are happy for our New Zealand cousins but we want to see it here.” While legalising same-sex marriage looks less than promising in Australia’s near future, many Australians including Tony Abbott’s daughters believe gay marriage is only a matter of time.
”I believe it is inevitable,” Frances Abbott, 21, told the weekend’s Daily Telegraph. ”I believe by the time our generation gets into power, I hope and pray something is done about marriage equality and gay rights.” Bridget Abbot agreed with her sister’s views stating that “being gay is a lot more accepted and open for our generation.”
Rodney Croome, Australian Marriage Equality national director said Mr Abbott’s daughters were ”typical of their generation”. Their support in spite of their father’s views, showed same-sex marriage was inevitable. Mr Croome stressed however, that gay and lesbian couples should not have to wait a generation for marriage equality.
Nevertheless at the rate that the Australian government is progressing on the issue, that is exactly what gay and lesbian couples may have to do. If gay marriage really is inevitable it seems archaic and limiting to hold onto the views of yesterday. It may sadly however, be up to future generations to take the lead and finish the global marathon for gay marriage equality. But until that time Australia looks like it will be sitting on the side of the road to change, for a little bit longer.