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Marriage equality is a human right

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd

OPINION

Time’s up, Kevin! Dragging your feet on all sorts of issues has probably cost you this election, and marriage equality is high on the list.

The key issue of marriage equality in this election, and having a ban in place in 2013, makes Australia look like an international backwater. Western democracies have been resolving this matter all over the globe for ten years now, even with conservative governments.

Australia is being viewed internationally as a bunch of ‘hicks’ while the rest of the world is taking action to end discrimination.

When Mr Rudd declared that he would legislate for marriage rights within 100 days of being re-elected, it became clear to us that our rights are nothing but a political plaything.

If the issue mattered to him so much, why withhold it from us pending his re-election? Why not act to legislate now?

As a marriage rights campaigner, and one of the convenors of Sydney’s regular marriage equality rallies, I think that the ALP’s inaction on this issue is a sign of a weak and stagnant government, and voters are reading that lack of courage as a sign of bad faith.

Six years of campaigning for equality under a Labor government has forced from them a conscience vote, and a whole lot of words, but no action.

We’ve heard plenty about how each politician has to go through a personal journey to reach enlightenment about the issue, and this is supposed to explain why politicians, who themselves voted to ban marriage equality in 2004, are now legislating for it.

Who do they think they’re kidding? I’m tired of hearing stories of personal transformation from politicians; this is about human rights not the consciences of politicians.

This last six years has taught me one thing. The only thing that makes the government act on issues of injustice is relentless campaigning for justice. So, no matter who wins this election, the heat on the street is going to continue until we have justice and an end to discrimination.

By Karl Hand

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