Senator Rachel Siewert: The time is now

Rachel-Siewert-13 low resAhead of the Love in Perth: Rally for Marriage Equality on Sunday, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert shares her thoughts on the campaign for marriage equality.


There is a saying about campaigning that the hardest bit is just before you win, remember the Berlin Wall (well I’m sure some of you do) and the intensity just before it fell? It feels like that now.

It doesn’t matter if it has run six months or a decade or more. When you have poured your heart and resources into a cause and it finally turns the corner towards possibility, exhilaration kicks in and gives you the strength and inspiration to see the campaign through.

People show up at countless rallies and actions, and hand out countless leaflets, they write petitions and countless letters to their MP, and national perspective begins to shift. Now that seismic shift is beginning.

But it is not just individual action alone that has achieved this, it is a broader collective that have all worked towards this mutual outcome.

When it comes to the campaign for marriage equality, this broader collective is particularly special. It is hugely diverse, and it is global. This worldwide movement has seeded legislative reality in rapid succession as marriage equality became a tenable reality across the Western World.

Many thought we in Australia were far more ahead of the game than ultra conservative Ireland and the United States, but the recent move towards marriage equality in both those places has surged the Australian movement to an all-time high.

Rallies across the country have jumped from a few hundred to thousands. Across Sydney and Canberra in the last month the streets have packed out with the LBGTI community and allies calling for everyone to be considered equal when entering into a lifetime commitment recognised before the law.

Sydney was huge, Canberra was bigger. Currently the attendee list for the Perth rally is sitting at just under 16,000.

This is hardly surprising, the WA LGBTI community is large, well established, vibrant and diverse.

Queers and friends, mums, dad, aunties and uncles, will all stand together and call on our Prime Minster to stop avoiding the inevitable.

As an Australian Greens Senator, I will proudly stand and speak at the rally on Sunday in Perth. The Greens have supported the LGBTI community since the start. We have supported marriage equality every vote, every MP, every time.

As my colleague Australian Greens Leader Richard Di Natale said, ‘I am confident we will win this. It may not be tonight, it may not be in the coming weeks, but we will win it. Before we get there we have to name what is at the heart of this resistance to this reform, and that is prejudice’.

This is not a fringe issue, despite Tony Abbott and his colleagues insistently trying to paint it as such. How can anyone consider loving someone and wanting to spend the rest of your life with that person as marginal and offensive?

This is a movement that represents a mainstream progressive Australia. We are not homophobic and we do not wish to deny two adults in a committed and consented relationship the right to marry.

The time is now, I am proud to be on the right side of history during this huge social justice movement. This is a time we will reflect on in the future, the resistance will be perplexing, but justice will have prevailed. Love always wins.

Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert will be speaking at the Love in Perth: Rally for Marriage Equality at Russel Square, Perth. This Sunday at 1pm.

 

 

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