Australian Senator Penny Wong’s Full speech:
Senator Wong’s Statement – The Campaign for Marriage Equality Isn’t Over
Posted on September 20, 2012 at 3:54 pm
This week, the Parliament failed Australians by not supporting marriage equality and voting against the removal of discrimination against individuals on the basis of their sexuality.
It is disappointing on many levels.
But, despite the results in both the House of Representatives and the Senate this week, I believe we have achieved a great deal.
Since the Bill has been in the Parliament, our number of supporters has grown.
We have seen some who previously opposed marriage equality now stand in support of it.
We have had a vote on marriage equality.
Sadly, the Opposition was not allowed a conscience vote on this very important issue and I believe that, had Mr Abbott shown some leadership and allowed a free vote, the result may have been much different.
But where the Federal Parliament has failed, the States are taking big steps towards equality.
Votes will take place in the Tasmanian Parliament next week and in the next sitting session of the South Australian Parliament on legislation to allow same sex marriage. NSW parliamentarians have recently announced they too will be introducing legislation to end the discrimination against gay and lesbian Australians.
And, unlike Tony Abbott, these State Liberal Leaders have indicated they will allow a conscience vote.
To the many supporters of marriage equality, I encourage you to continue to campaign for marriage equality in each state and federally.
To my Parliamentary colleagues who voted in support of the Marriage Equality Bill, thank you for recognising the importance of ending discrimination against gay and lesbian Australians.
To LGBTI Australians, take encouragement from the progress we have made towards marriage equality and from the positive moves in the Australian community.
As I said in my contribution to the Senate on Wednesday, “many steps towards equality in this country were not won the first time, nor even the second. Many were achieved only after years of action and of activism. But the aspiration for equality is persistent, and it cannot be denied forever”.