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Not us, not here, not now

By Rodney Croome - posted Friday, 1 November 2013


The Australian marriage equality debate will be remembered as a litany of ever weaker excuses for inaction.

NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell has given us one of the weakest of all: "national consistency".

O'Farrell, an in-principle supporter of marriage equality, has said he will not support a NSW Same-Sex Marriage Bill because "I don't want to see a return to the patchwork quilt of marriage laws that existed in the 1950s".

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He believes "true equality" for all Australian couples can only be delivered by the federal government.

He's right that marriage equality at a national level will cover all couples.

But the federal government is at best indifferent to progressing the reform, with some key government figures deeply antagonistic.

In this situation the states have a moral responsibility to take action instead.

To put "national consistency" and "true equality" ahead of the inclusion, protection and dignity that comes with allowing same-sex couples to marry verges on callous.

It traps same-sex couples in a cul-de-sac of non-recognition built in the name of their best interest.

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It's tantamount to saying "not us, not here, not now".

It also shows a profound misunderstanding of the purpose and history of Australian federalism.

The reason we are a federal nation is so power is decentralised.

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About the Author

Rodney Croome is the National Convenor of Australian Marriage Equality and was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2003 for his gay rights advocacy. He is co-author of Why vs Why: Gay Marriage.

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