Marriage Equality Wins in Australia!
“Now Australia can be a beacon of hope for other countries that have yet to pass marriage equality.”
Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC) leaders celebrate with MCC churches and everyone in Australia following Parliament’s vote Thursday to allow same-sex marriage across the nation.
“Our prayers have been answered! Today, Parliament voted to support marriage equality for same-sex couples. This historic vote allows the LGBTQI community to legally marry and receive the legal benefits that accompany a marriage certificate,” said Rev. Elder Rachelle Brown, Global Interim Moderator, Metropolitan Community Churches.
“It’s JUST been legalised! I remember over 16 years ago, when I told my folks that my partner and I were getting married, (via an MCC Holy Union), I had to concede, ‘no Mum, you’re right, it won’t be legal, but it will be in the eyes of those that love me.’ Today, when this final piece of legislation passed, I know that, should I ever choose to get married, it will now be legal in the eyes of everyone. I finally count. Now that’s a good reason to cry,” said Sarah de Rooy from MCC Sydney.
“For only four members [out of 150 members in the House of Representatives] to vote “no” was a huge victory, and a sign of Australia’s solidarity with LGBT people. When the vote went through, people were weeping, and cheering, and the public gallery erupted in a chorus of “We Are Australian.” Our pride as a nation has been restored,” said Rev. Karl Hand, Pastor at Crave MCC, Sydney.
“My husband [John Plank] and I were married in New Zealand nearly four years ago. Today means that our certificate is now recognised as a legal document [in Australia]. More importantly, our 10 year relationship is finally affirmed in our home country. No longer can our “next of kin” status be questioned; we are guaranteed that in medical emergencies, we can be by each other’s side; and can make important decisions on behalf of each other. We are finally relieved of the cloud that has hung over us for over a decade, and we can move on to enjoy the happiness, legal certainty and financial security that our country provides. We feel like newly-weds again, dizzy with delight,” said MCC Brisbane Pastor David Coltheart.
“Speaking for myself this means a lot. Speaking as a single person, who in my mid-40s, is yet to find the one, this gives me renewed optimism. Speaking as a gay man who came out 25 years ago, this represents many many conversations about why being able to marry matters. I cannot thank each person enough for playing their part in getting this done,” said Pj Dwyer, MCC Sydney.
“Each of us stands on the shoulders of so many pioneers who worked for our rights. It was MCC faith leaders in Canada who were able to make marriage a reality for all Canadians and launched the world into a new era of growing respect for the rights of all people. Now, Australia can be a beacon of hope for other countries that have yet to pass marriage equality,” Rev. Brown said.
“It has been an amazing journey eventuating into a fantastic day,” said Rev. Robert Clark, Pastor at MCC Good Shepherd Western Sydney Inc. “All Australian LBGTI couples who married overseas will also have their marriages recognised here in Australia.”
“This is the first time in my life as a gay woman that I have felt affirmed as an equal by my country, Australia,” said Lee from MCC Sydney.
“I am glad that Australia has decided to move towards Marriage Equality,” said Dr. Mark Dalgleish, MCC Governing Board member. “As an immigrant here, being excluded from being allowed my voice in a survey that sought to validate my rights and religious freedom only by consent of the dominant majority, I was very wary about this whole process. I am hesitant to celebrate too loudly, lest I reinforce the idea that this was an appropriate exercise of heteronormative power, but at the end of the day, I am relieved and heartened that after all the trauma, we are one more step closer to justice.”
As Rev. Hand said, “This vote brings a dawn for rainbow families.”
“This is a time when we might dare to believe that Australia belongs to us just as much as it does to anyone. The danger will be to forget that there is a long way to go for many minorities of sexuality and gender. But this victory shows us what we can do when we keep on struggling, so I believe we will keep going forward,” Rev. Hand said.