Australia took an important step, on 15th November, for LGBTQ rights globally; in the Same-Sex Marriage postal survey in Australia, 61.6% voted Yes while 38.4% voted No.
However, the fight for equality in Australia does not end; in fact, this was probably the easiest part of the process. Several conservative political groups seek to protect religious freedoms within any Act legalising same-sex marriage. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s target of passing the Act by Christmas looks unrealistic.
The objectors are likely to demand legal protection for businesses who refuse to serve LGBTQ customers, and for the right of parents to remove their children from classes if the content is inconsistent with a ‘relevant belief’.
While the UK has achieved more than Australia in LGBTQ equality, we have further to go. Labour championed abolishing the infamous Section 28 and equalised the age of consent. But we must make LGBTQ hate crimes aggravated offences, change the wording in laws protecting LGBTQ people, from ‘gender assignment’ to ‘gender identity’ and ensure that sex and relationships education is LGBTQ inclusive. PrEP drugs should be readily available, to prevent people from developing HIV after being exposed to the virus.
Ludlow Labour are committed to supporting LGBTQ communities across Shropshire. Our friends at the newly formed Telford LGBT (Twitter @Telfordlgbt), said, “The result was good to see but was a referendum necessary? Very sad that almost 40% are still against equality. Equality law should be like any other, decided by elected representatives – otherwise, why have governments?”