Australia’s Push For Marriage Equality

By Danielle Pope

(Photo by Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images)
(Photo by Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images)
The marriage equality debate looks set to re-enter parliament

New figures show that more and more Australians want marriage equality.

As Australia’s longest-running annual lifestyle survey, the University of Melbourne’s Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia report (HILDA) has found Australian attitudes were becoming more progressive. The HILDA report found that 67 per cent of women and 59 per cent of men believed that homosexual couples should have the same marriage, parenting and employment rights as heterosexual couples.

Report author Professor Roger Wilkins says that the results mark a “profound shift in attitudes”, as in 2005 only 43 per cent of women and 32 per cent of men agreed to the statement. “It’s quite clear that community sentiment has shifted in favour of marriage equality,” Professor Wilkins said.

The report’s findings come as the Federal Government grapples with an internal push for a Parliamentary vote on marriage equality, rather than the party-favoured plebiscite. Liberal senator Dean Smith is drafting a private member’s bill to legalise same-sex marriage, and some Liberal MPs are reportedly leaving open the possibility of crossing the floor to vote in support of the bill.

Meanwhile, same-sex relationships can now be legally recognised in South Australia by signing onto a special register. This will provide couples with legal certainty in areas such as entitlements and medical care.

Members of Parliament are expecting a party-room debate on the issue when Parliament returns next week.

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