It used to be impossible to get celebrity supporters for marriage equality – but now they are everywhere, writes Australian Marriage Equality’s Alex Greenwich.
This is a big week for marriage equality. Popular TV shows and well-read magazines like Marie Claire will be declaring support for same-sex marriage rights and many of Australia’s biggest names are donating time from their extremely busy schedules to perform in ‘8’ the play to help Australian Marriage Equality raise funds for our ongoing campaign.
What is even bigger is what that this represents. Same-sex marriage has gone from being outlawed to becoming an aspirational goal of Australians everywhere. As the campaign for reform continues to build momentum, more and more Australians from all walks of life are seeking to be a part of making history.
This isn’t just the household names. This is the everyday Australians who participated in parliamentary inquiries for the first time, as one of the 44,000 people to make a submission to the recent senate inquiry. There are also mum and dads who haven’t protested since the ‘70s, who now regularly join the marriage equality rallies throughout the country.
As someone who has been in the gay marriage trenches for the past four years, this is certainly re-invigorating. Whether it’s a priest, a suburban straight couple, director Stephan Elliot or superstar Madga Szubanski, so many Australians are putting their hand-up to help however they can.
Our big moment is coming when this issue hits Parliament House in a few months. The way Australia values marriage, love, and equality is coming up for a vote, and although we are not part of the 150 MPs or 76 Senators who are voting, we can certainly influence their decision.
What has been so encouraging over the past few months is how rapidly minds are changing and hearts are opening to this reform. The Labor Party changed their policy just over six months ago, Jeff Kennett shocked us all with his powerful support for equality, and over 80 priests have contacted Australian Marriage Equality declaring their support. Last week for the first time, in the NSW Upper House, Coalition MPs not only voted for marriage equality, they spoke advocated passionately for it and called on their federal conservative colleagues to do the same.
This doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy. History and the international experience shows that our opponents, although reducing in numbers, will pull every trick in the book. Whether it’s attempting to generate fear that same-sex relationships will lead a downward social spiral, whether it’s making up lies that heavily protected religious freedoms will be watered down, or labeling the everyday supporters of equality as the “gay mafia”, our opponents will use every opportunity and every ministerial meeting to exact their well-funded and tax-exempt influence.
The most important thing all supporters can do in the coming months is be heard, and be heard by our decision makers. Find out where your MP stands and call, email, or meet with them.
Share your story and share it now. Make sure that when the MPs are sifting through all the scare mongering and prejudice that they will find a story which shows them how this reform will really benefit people like you, and no matter what the outcome you will know you have done your part.