In fairy tales, marriage is the ending. In reality, it’s just the beginning. That’s when the real work starts.
With the Liberals coming round to the idea of a conscience vote on marriage equality – after the election – we need to put the brakes on the idea that equal marriage will end the campaign for LGTBI Equality.
Marriage equality is necessary – but it’s not the only thing we need. Not want – need. And pretty urgently too. Here’s some of them:
We can start – even before we legalise marriage – by recognising overseas same sex marriages and other forms of same-sex union, as marriages, in Australia.
We must win employment protections for every stripe in the rainbow, regardless of employer. We must end the special privileges of all those who wish to discriminate against us, while feeding on our taxes.
We must have free and equal access to all goods and services, regardless of who provides them.
We must secure trans and intersex brothers and sisters full control of their own bodies.
We must protect our youth. Too many are thrown out by their parents and become homeless. Too many become socially isolated, bullied, depressed and even suicidal. The key here is better education: of teachers and parents.
We must equip them to protect themselves. That means fully inclusive sex, health, and relationship education, appropriately designed, for all children, from primary school onwards.
We must care for our elders. No-one should be allowed to deny them a place to live and be cared for, or help staying in their own homes, just because of who they are.
We must win a clear and fair path to citizenship for LGBT migrants and their partners and families, especially those who claim refuge with us on the grounds of sexuality and gender identity. We must stop returning people to countries where to be openly gay is a death sentence.
There is no ‘happily ever after’, in real life. Life is constant struggle, constant change. And for a minority like us, we have to be especially watchful for those who would take away our gains. So . . .
We need recognition as full and equal citizens written into the Australian Constitution.