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2014 will be an important year for marriage equality

By Rodney Croome - posted Tuesday, 31 December 2013


A pessimist might see 2013 as an average year for marriage equality in Australia.

The reform moved forward in three of the countries most similar to us, Britain, New Zealand and the US. Even Utah now has marriage equality!

Meanwhile, Australians elected a new federal government that is anything but keen on the marriage equality.

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At the same time the reform was voted down in three Australian state parliaments and overturned by the federal government in the ACT.

But marriage equality has never been achieved by pessimism. Every set back for the reform in 2013 has been accompanied by a step forward.

The federal election returned more out marriage equality supporters to federal parliament than ever before. At the end of the year supporters in all three parties joined in a cross-party group to ensure their efforts are co-ordinated.

The state initiatives also showed the way forward with state same-sex marriage bills advanced by cross-party co-operation, with Liberal and National MPs allowed a conscience vote and with more conservative MPs supporting reform than ever before.

Meanwhile, the High Court's decision to overturn marriage equality in the ACT was the most successful defeat we could have wished for.

The High Court cleared the path to federal reform by removing lingering concerns about the power of the federal government to enact laws for same-sex marriages. It left the door open to states passing same-sex marriage laws that are framed differently to the ACT's defunct statute.

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Most of all, it allowed same-sex couples to marry for five days, showing the nation it has nothing to fear and a lot to gain from such marriages.

2013 was a much more successful year for marriage equality than appearances suggest.

But 2014 will be the year that counts.

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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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All articles by Rodney Croome

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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