Civil celebrants vote for marriage equality
Australia’s largest professional association for civil celebrants have voted to support marriage equality.
At a meeting in Hobart, the Australian Federation of Civil Celebrants (AFCC) National Committee ratified a new policy to support same-sex marriage both at the federal and state level.
“AFCC member celebrants have for many years been conducting commitment ceremonies for couples unable to legally wed and are aware of their desire to be accorded equal rights under the law,” AFCC president Lance Tapsell said.
“As the leading professional association for celebrants in Australia, the AFCC, therefore, is committed to Marriage Equality and keenly awaits changes in legislation which will see the end of discrimination for couples not currently legally afforded the right to be married.
“Our preference is for reform at a national level, but if this doesn’t happen we support states like Tasmania taking the lead.”
In a statement the AFCC enumerated the benefits of marriage equality which will:
• remove legally-entrenched discrimination against couples currently unable to marry;
• normalise LGBTI relationships;
• allow for all couples in a committed, loving relationship to officially declare their love and commitment before family and friends;
• strengthen the institution of marriage by re-affirming its core values of love and commitment, rather than defining marriage by who it excludes.
Australian Marriage Equality’s Rodney Croome, who also heads up the Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group, welcomed the news.
“Civil celebrants see the pain that is caused by discriminatory marriage laws, both to same-sex couples whose solemn vows have no legal standing and to heterosexual couples who are ambivalent about marrying while their gay friends and relatives can’t,” Croome said.
“Celebrants have a deep appreciation of the true value and meaning of marriage as a vow of lifelong commitment between two loving partners, so naturally they will be concerned when the law does not reflect this true meaning and but entrenches discrimination and exclusion instead.”
Recently a bill passed Tasmania’s lower house which if it succeeds would legalise same-sex marriage in that state.
Similar bills are currently being considered by the state governments of South Australia and Victoria.
There are currently four separate equal marriage bills before federal parliament as well.
FEDERAL BILL UNDER DEBATE
One of those federal bills, from backbencher Stephen Jones, was under debate earlier today (Monday, September 10).
Liberal frontbencher Malcolm Turnbull reiterated his call for civil unions because he didn't believe gay marriage was achievable in the current parliament.
Attorney-General Nicola Roxon also expressed doubt that marriage equality would be passed any time soon, but said that it was "inevitable".
She added she did not believe marriage would be "undermined" by allowing same-sex couples to wed.
"I, for one, cannot and would not say that my love for my husband is stronger or better or more worthy of government recognition than the commitment of our gay friends who want to take this step," she said.
"And I certainly can't see how their marriage would in any way diminish or affect ours.
"This change would actually strengthen and encourage commitment. It would say that Australia promotes monogamous relationships. It's saying that we promote commitment, love and family. Ultimately, these are values that strengthen our nation's cultural fabric."