One Year On From Marriage Equality In Australia, What's Left To Achieve

Over 5,000 same-sex marriages have taken place since the bill was introduced on November 15 2017 but with reports of conversion therapy and LGBT+ teachers living in fear, what's next for equal rights in Australia?

Australia Marriage Equality

This day last year, the results of the marriage equality postal survey were announced in Australia. It showed 61.6 per cent were in favour of marriage equality.

Graphic showing the results of the postal vote poll held on the 15th of Novemeber. 61.6% voted yes and 38.4% voted no with a 79.5% turnout
Results of Australian marriage equality postal vote held earlier in November

There was a 79.5% turnout which is considered quite high, meaning the cross-party bill could be passed without amendments by both the Senate and the Houses of Representatives who together make up the Parliament.

Less than a month later, the bill was passed in Australian parliament and since then over 5,000 same-sex marriages have taken place across Australia.

To mark the momentous occasion today key figures from the yes campaign gathered in Prince Alfred Park in Sydney to celebrate the day Australia became a “fairer and more equal place”. The park is soon to be renamed Equality Green.

MP Alex Greenwich said “we have seen 5,000 happy couples get married” since the survey results came out.

“A year ago the nation celebrated with LGBTI Australians, their friends and families,” said yes campaigner Anna Brown. “Since then we’ve had a year where all Australians have had the same opportunities for love, commitment and to be treated equally”.

Hugh Lane

Progress Still Needed In Australia

A recent study found that up to 10% of Australian LGBT+ people risk being subjected to the harmful pseudoscientific practice of gay conversion therapy.

The report found that up to 10% of LGBT+ Australians are at risk of being subjected to gay conversion therapy, which can at times, amount to physical torture.

The Australian report urges legislators to ban gay conversion therapy.

In the same week, as this report was released, Australian politicians promised to protect LGBT+ children from discrimination in religious schools, though teachers may still be at risk.

Politicians and legislators in Australia confirmed that religious schools would no longer be able to expel LGBT+ students on the grounds of their sexuality alone.

Today in the Australian parliament, an Australian senator read out a heartbreaking letter she received from a closeted gay teacher working in a Christian school.

The letter “For weeks, I and many like me, have been nervously watching the headlines – wondering what, or if any changes will be made to the Sex Discrimination Act.

“Why do I care? Because I’m a teacher at a Christian school and I’m gay.

“I go to work each day – eager to impart knowledge on my pupils, but each day I am terrified.

“Currently, if my employers found out I’m in a same-sex relationship, they could legally fire me.

“I know you’re wondering why I don’t just leave and teach at a school where I am welcome. At the end of the day, I am still a Christian and I want to be here.

“My Christianity is a choice, my sexuality is not.

“Just imagine for a minute that the people you are with nine hours a day, five days a week, do not know that the person you love even exists,” she said.

Hear the full letter here:

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