Advocates work together to ensure inclusive marriage equality bill
The Human Rights Law Centre has facilitated a meeting between marriage equality and transgender and intersex advocates to ensure inclusivity of transgender and intersex people in the fight for marriage equality.
The meeting discussed how to ensure state and federal marriage equality legislation is inclusive of transgender and intersex people, and how Australian Marriage Equality (AME) can better engage with the transgender and intersex communities.
AME national director, Rodney Croome, described the dialogue as invaluable, allowing AME better understanding of intersex and transgender issues.
"We value dialogue with representatives of the transgender and intersex communities because the marriage equality campaign must be inclusive of all loving committed couples regardless of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or intersex status,” said Croome. "Ultimately, equality means equality for all."
Anna Brown, from the Human Rights Law Centre described the legal and policy issues as complex but suggested it was important to get the legislation right so it was inclusive for transgender and intersex people.
"Marriage highlights the more fundamental problem of lack of recognition before the law. It's important that our legal systems accurately reflect and accommodate the reality of sex and gender diversity that exists in our society," Brown commented.
Morgan Carpenter, President of the Organisation Intersex International (OII) Australia, said, "Some intersex people are heterosexual and already married, but others are unable to marry - because of our intersex status or because of our partner’s status. We need and welcome moves to ensure that all of us can marry, and these discussions with Australian Marriage Equality have helped to identify a way forward, together."
OII Vice President Tony Briffa drew attention to the progress of marriage equality in New Zealand, where intersex status is no barrier to marriage vows.
“The current Marriage Act states marriage is between a man and a woman, but what about people like me who are born biologically not clearly male or female? Who can we marry?" Briffa asked. "Being intersex didn't stop me from being able to marry in New Zealand, and I hope my marriage will be recognised in Australia one day soon."
The Executive Director of Transgender Victoria, Sally Goldner, hoped for the day when federal marraige equality would become a reality, and thus bring about an end to forced trans divorce.
“This is part of creating greater happiness for a greater range of loving couples. Having relevant groups co-operating more effectively is simply a practical step to achieving this better outcome as quickly as possible."
Rebecca Reynolds, Executive Director of the National
LGBTI Health Alliance, highlighted the positive benefits of marriage to people's wellbeing.
“Studies show that because of the enshrinement of marriage within legislation, marriage recognition improves the health and wellbeing of LGBTI people. At present, many intersex, trans and gender diverse Australians have experienced marriage discrimination. We hope that Australian marriage equality efforts will promote better health outcomes by ensuring that no Australian will be denied the opportunity to have their relationship properly recognised due to their intersex status or gender identity.”