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Monday 08 November 2010

A victory, of sorts, for same-sex marriage?

Posted in: Features
By - 23rd August 2010

Coalition leader Tony Abbott and Labour leader Julia Gillard

Australian marriage equality advocates are hopeful that the hung election will move the nation "a huge step closer" to allowing same-sex marriages.

The result is simply too close to call and the final numbers will not be known for days. As it stands, the Coalition has 72 seats, Labor has 70, the Greens one and the independents two, with five seats in doubt.

Australian Marriage Equality spokesperson Alex Greenwich says now the balance of power is held by independents in the Lower House and the Greens in the Senate, the chances of reform havedramatically increased.

"If a major party can be persuaded by the Greens and/or independents to have a conscience vote, it's game on" he says.

Mr Greenwich says the election campaign saw marriage equality move to the centre of the political stage, and now the result has seen achieving marriage equality move into the realms of real possibility.

He agrees with Greens' leader Bob Brown and Greens' marriage equality spokesperson Sarah Hanson-Young that the national swing against Labor to the Greens was, in part, due to the issue of same-sex marriage.

"The overall national swing away from the Labor Party to the Greens is partly because Labor betrayed its own principles by opposing marriage equality while the Greens have been the only party representing the 60 percent of Australians who support marriage equality."

"In forum after forum, during the last two weeks of the election campaign, we saw people from a wide variety of backgrounds expressing disbelief and anger about the two major parties' opposition to marriage equality, and yesterday we saw that anger expressed in the polling booths across the nation."

Australian Marriage Equality carried out wide-scale leafletting against Labor's stance in key inner-urban seats and believes the high gay populations contributed to the higher-than-average swing against Labor and to the Greens in these seats.

"The swing against Labor and to the Greens is particularly pronounced in the three Labor-held, inner-city seats of Grayndler, Sydney and Melbourne where we distributed 75,000 leaflets highlighting Labor's anti-equality stance."

"Labor lost Melbourne, may still lose Grayndler and suffered a surprising loss of support in Sydney, in part because it opposed the overwhelming demand in those electorates full legal equality for same-sex couples."

"The message is clear: Labor must stop opposing marriage equality if it is to win back the trust and support of the Australian community and the Greens have a clear mandate to achieve marriage equality." - 23rd August 2010

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