Every Australian deserves a fair go

Marriage equality is about the values we hold dear. All Australians should be treated equally under the law — and that includes being able to marry the person they love.

2/3 Australians believe everyone should be treated equally by our country's marriage laws.

For Fairness

Fairness and equality are at the heart of Australian society. We believe our laws should reflect these values of which we are most proud. It’s time for all Australians to be treated equally under the law, with the full rights of equal citizenship.

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For Love and Commitment

Marriage is about the commitment shared between two people who love each other and want a secure future together. LGBTI Australians should have the same opportunities for love, commitment and happiness as everyone else.

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For Progress

This is the step we’re ready for: two-thirds of Australians as well as a majority of MPs agree. Marriage equality will not change anything for the vast majority of Australians, but will make a profound difference to the status and dignity of some.

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Marriage equality for Australians like Alex & Paul

Marriage equality means something different to everyone and every couple. Find out what it means for Paul and Alex, and their family.

Meet Alex & Paul

Want to know more? Check out our FAQs

Why is marriage important?

Marriage matters to Australian society. It is the secure foundation for loving, committed couples. Everyone in our families, communities and country should be free to marry on those terms.

Currently, lesbian and gay couples are excluded from marriage — which means their loving, committed relationships are not treated the same as others, and do not have the equal status under the law. Put simply, marriage is important in Australian society and important to LGBTI couples.

Furthermore, winning the freedom to marry will enrich the lives not just of gay people, but of the wider community: Family members, friends, coworkers and fellow citizens. It’s about the father who will be able to walk his lesbian daughter down the aisle. The grandmother who will be able to dance with her gay grandson at his wedding. Australians will be able to celebrate all of their friends’ love and commitment equally.  Businesses and community members will benefit when all families are strengthened, affirmed and included.

Each new generation of Australians does their bit to advance fairness and equality. Affirming all couples’ freedom to marry says that we are a country that believes in treating people equally — that we value love and commitment and believe every Australian has the right to happiness.

Have other countries legalised marriage equality?

Yes! 21 in fact – including South Africa, New Zealand, France, England, Ireland, Argentina and the United States. 

There is growing recognition worldwide across a variety of cultures and religions that everyone benefits from allowing all our citizens to be treated equally, and participate fully in the union of marriage with all of its rights and responsibilities.

Here’s the timeline of progress towards equality worldwide:

  • Netherlands 2001
  • Belgium 2003
  • Canada 2005
  • Spain 2005
  • South Africa 2006
  • Norway 2009
  • Sweden 2009
  • Mexico City (Mexico) 2010
  • Portugal 2010
  • Iceland 2010
  • Argentina 2010
  • Quintana Roo (Mexico) 2011
  • Uruguay 2013
  • New Zealand 2013
  • France 2013
  • Brazil 2013
  • England 2014
  • Wales 2014
  • Scotland 2014
  • Luxembourg 2015
  • Guam 2015
  • Pitcairn Islands 2015
  • Ireland 2015
  • Chihuahua (Mexico) 2015
  • United States 2015
  • Greenland 2015
  • Guerrero (Mexico) 2015
  • Colombia 2016
  • Isle of Man 2016
  • Pueto Rico 2016.

Isn’t it enough that Australia already recognises civil unions and de facto relationships — why do we need marriage equality?

Right now all couples can have their relationship recognised as a ‘de facto’ union under Australian law if they meet certain criteria, namely living together.

However, just like other couples who live together and then choose to marry, marriage is also important to many same-sex couples. Marriage matters to people, regardless of gender.

Both civil unions and same-sex law reform have been positive steps embraced by Australian society and many LGBTI couples. However, they still fall short of full legal equality. Only marriage can achieve that.

Affirming all couples’ freedom to marry says that we are a country that believes in treating people equally — that we value love and commitment and believe every Australian has the right to happiness.

Will marriage for lesbian and gay couples affect children?

No child will be negatively affected because of marriage equality in Australia. In fact, some children will benefit because finally their parents will be able to marry.

LGBTI people have been successfully parenting in Australia for many years. Marriage equality will not change this but will offer stronger protection to all families.

We can look to countries like the US, UK, Ireland and New Zealand where same-sex marriage is already legal. The benefits to millions of people and their families in these countries have been real, while the fears have not been realised. It’s meant more families are included, strengthened and recognised.

Will churches be forced to marry gay and lesbian couples?

Civil marriage is different and distinct from religious marriage. No religious institution can be forced to marry a lesbian or gay couple against their beliefs (in much the same way as certain religious bodies cannot be forced to marry people who are divorced).

While marriage equality will take nothing away from the religious freedom of those who oppose it, it will restore and uphold the religious freedom of those in favour.

In Australia, the Society of Friends (Quakers), some Jewish synagogues and rabbis, the Metropolitan Community Church, and individual congregations and celebrants within the Anglican, Uniting Church and Baptist churches all condone or perform same-sex unions. Over 100 leading Christian ministers have publicly declared their support for marriage equality including several Anglican bishops.

But their religious freedoms and views are being disrespected, because the same-sex ceremonies they perform lack the legal standing of marriage.

What about my faith and religious belief?

Most Australians of faith already support marriage equality – including the majority of Christians (59%) as well as followers of other religions (75%).

Read what some religious leaders have to say:

Anglican

The Very Rev’d Dr Peter Catt, Dean of St John’s Cathedral, QLD

“The shape and character of marriage has been evolving for thousands of years. In the middle of the last century, marriage was seen as a social institution and women were still handed over to their husbands. People often got married because they had to.

Over the last thirty years or so heterosexual couples have transformed the shape of marriage. Today, a marriage ceremony is a public declaration of love by two people who wish to dedicate their lives to each other.

As a result LGBTI people now recognise marriage as something that describes the hopes and dreams they hold for their relationships. I have enjoyed the friendship of LGBTI people for most of my life. I have been privileged to observe the dedication and love they express in their relationships.

The marriage service in the Anglican Church commences with a quote from the Bible, ‘God is love, and those who live in love, live in God, and God lives in them’. Marriage equality will allow our community to celebrate a wider range of loving relationships and will therefore strengthen our common life.”


Baptist

Rev’d Rowland Croucher, Baptist Minister, Sydney

“How can I, a heterosexual who’s been very happily married for 50 years, tell anyone else they don’t have the right to form a loving, committed, lifelong union and enjoy the fruits of marriage as I have done? Marriage is not a club to be restricted to some. Like the Gospel, it is a blessing to be shared.”


Buddhist

Venerable Bhante Sujato, Federation of Australian Buddhist Councils, 12 April 2012

"We believe that marriage should be a commitment between people and that it's irrelevant whether it's a man and a woman, two women or two men. And that it's about the love and the sharing that the two people have for each other." (More)


Hindu

Australian Council of Hindu Clergy, 2016

"We totally support human rights and equality of gender within the secular Australian society in which we live, and have no opposition whatsoever to any changes in the law and the legal definition of marriage that the democratic society deems necessary for the well-being and happiness of all citizens whatever be their gender."(More)


Jewish

Steve Denenberg, Executive Director, Union for Progressive Judaism, 19 April 2012

“Based on our beliefs that each person is created in the image of God, the way that person expresses his or her sexuality, each person is equal. Therefore, their rights for full participation in society should be equal, including the right to marry. Equality would dictate that same-gender couples should be able to marry.” (More)


Religious Society of Friends (Quakers in Australia)

Julian Robertson, Presiding Clerk, Australia Yearly Meeting, 6 August 2015

“Our views on marriage arise out of the testimony on equality and justice. Quakers regard marriage and commitment as a fundamentally spiritual matter… In recent years, as a result of our consistently held belief in the equal worth of all people, Australian Quakers have recognised that committed, same-sex relationships are as valuable as other committed and loving relationships. We have celebrated same-sex commitment ceremonies within our Meetings… "

"We are aware that some other denominations oppose making marriage available to same-sex couples, but ask you to note that those views are not representative of all Christians in Australia.” (More)


Uniting Church

Rev’d Bill Crews, Uniting Church Minister, Sydney

“Today in Australia we all live in a secular non-discriminatory society. Churches and other spiritual institutions exist within this society. It seems to me that in a secular and non-discriminatory society gay couples should be as free to marry as any other human couple. If people wish to be married within a religious or spiritual institution’s framework then they should accept the rites and rules of that institution. However, it is the state that legitimises all marriages.”

I don’t know any gay people, so why should I support marriage equality?

You may not think you know gay people but chances are you know someone who does. You probably do too.

Many parents realise that they may have lesbian or gay children or grandchildren in the future, and want all their children to grow up in a country where they can have the same aspirations in life. They do not want second best for their child.

LGBTI people are our sons and daughters, uncles and aunts, colleagues, neighbours and friends. Until now they’ve been allowed to be mothers and fathers, but not husband and wives. It’s time to end this discrimination and move forward as a nation, in accordance with Australia’s deep respect for fairness and equality.

How can I help?

Achieving marriage equality gives us the chance to shape the Australia we want to live in. If you believe in a fair and equal Australia where all people are treated the same, then you can show your support in a variety of meaningful ways.

  1. The first step is to have open, friendly and respectful conversations with the people in your own networks. Your influence over your own family, friends, colleagues, church community and neighbours is likely to be far stronger than anything they could hear from a third party. The research shows that personal conversations are incredibly important and effective: this is what changes hearts and minds.

    The research also shows that most Australians are already in favour of marriage equality, but for some that support is very ‘soft’ and easily swayed. Some assume they don’t know any LGBTI people, or they might feel uncomfortable asking questions. Again, what makes all the difference is talking to real people they know and respect. This is not a movement that aims to ‘beat’ anyone, but rather win over everyone.

    Download these toolkits for more on how to help advance support for marriage equality in your own community – including your workplace, religious and cultural networks.


  2. Sign up to stay in the loop. Get the latest insider information along with new opportunities to make a difference by joining the community of supporters nationwide. Marriage equality supporters live in every corner of the country, and we’re as broad and diverse as Australia itself. Sign up now and encourage your friends and family to do the same.


  3. Donate to fund the campaign. Individual donations from everyday people are critical to getting the word out, supporting volunteers around Australia and running strategic media advertising. Every dollar helps! Chip in a one-off donation or choose to give a bit each month to help power this historic campaign.

All Australians should be able to get married

Catherine believes in fairness
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Michelle believes in fairness
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