The current Marriage Act of 1961 defines marriage as an exclusive union between a man and a woman. Many relationships fall outside this definition and those in a serious relationship would often desire to solemnise their love for each other. The Marriage Equality Amendment Act 2013 that I would like you to consider only needs some semantic amendments. The objects of this Act are: to remove from the Marriage Act 1961 discrimination against people on the basis of their sex, sexual orientation or gender identity;
to recognise that freedom of sexual orientation and gender identity are fundamental human rights; and to promote acceptance, and celebration, of diversity.
We in Australia pride ourselves on our acceptance of difference and celebration of our varied lifestyles. Isn’t it time we reconsidered our attitude towards marriage in the same way as we consider other differences? Homosexuality was decriminalised in South Australia in 1975 and it then took until 1997 for the last state of Australia, Tasmania, to follow. The Howard government passed a law 10 years ago in 2004 to define marriage as being between a man and a woman. The legal recognition of same-sex partnerships has been on the political agenda of Australia for some years. Public opinion has moved considerably and the reforms of 2009 and 2012 had considerable support. In 2008 and 2009, equal entitlements and responsibilities were given to same-sex couples by the federal parliament in areas such as social security, employment, taxation and superannuation. The one significant difference remaining for same-sex couples is the right to marry. More and more the rules applying to married couples do not differ from those applying to people living together in a de facto relationship. However, a marriage ceremony is still denied gay couples. Some in the community consider same-sex marriage controversial on religious, moral and political grounds and so the apparently simple transition to legalise marriage is...
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