Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011 Marriage Equality Year in Review

In this video, Matt Baume of the American Foundation for Equal Rights—who are leading the fight to have California’s Proposition 8 declared unconstitutional—lays out what was a busy year in the fight for marriage equality. And it certainly was a busy year.

The thing that struck me is how the momentum of the fight has clearly shifted in our direction, further evidence of which can be found in the increasingly shrill and strident tone of our opponents. The fact that polls are now in our favour bodes well for the future, and our success will come sooner, rather than later.

I think the struggle in Australia is a long way from success, however. The move by the Australian Labor Party to endorse marriage equality will go nowhere as long as the anti-gay Julia Gillard is Prime Minister or if Tony Abbott defeats her and the ALP in the next election as everyone expects. It will take a true Labor Prime Minister—or a Greens Prime Minister—for marriage equality to happen in Australia.

Meanwhile, here in New Zealand, we have only one party—the Greens—who have full marriage equality as party policy. In the last election, the New Zealand Labour Party promised a “review” of relationship laws, but only a partisan could see that as being anything other than small movement in the right direction.

So, in a sense, New Zealand is behind Australia on full marriage equality because our Labour Party doesn’t yet back full equality. It’s not yet known if the new Labour Leader, David Shearer, supports equality or not. For progress to be made, both the party and its leader must be pro-equality, and they must be in government. Yes, New Zealand has civil unions and Australia doesn’t, but separate is never equal.

Still, I like the optimism of this video, the assuredness that victory is inevitable. That’s what I believe, too.

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