ALA lauds NZ in voting to acknowledge same sex marriage under law

18th Apr 2013

The Australian Lawyers Alliance today congratulated New Zealanders on their leadership and humanity in acknowledging same sex unions as legitimate marriages under law.

“It should give Australian parliamentarians pause for thought, particularly as the same right was vetoed in this country’s federal parliament in September, despite overwhelming community support,” ALA NSW President, Jnana Gumbert, said.

The Australian Lawyers Alliance made a submission to a NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into the issue in March, stating it supported the introduction of any NSW laws that allowed for greater inclusion of all citizens, regardless of their sexual orientation.

Ms Gumbert said the full and proper recognition of gay unions in Australia would be a huge step in the right direction both for the health and well being of Australia’s same sex couples and for Australia’s declining international human rights reputation.

“Australia continues to labour under a yoke of oppressive policies that target some of society’s most marginalised groups including: asylum seekers, Indigenous people, and, in NSW, with the poor treatment of injured workers,” Ms Gumbert said.

“In NSW, the Miscellaneous Acts Amendment (Same Sex Relationships) Bill 2008 was a step forward to greater legal recognition of same sex couples with an extension of financial rights to those in gay relationships – but the psychological need for full marital recognition continues to be withheld for no valid reason,” Ms Gumbert said.

“It is high time politicians – on both sides of politics – properly considered the implications of their actions. This shows how desperately Australia needs a protective federal human rights document.

"The Federal Government spent a huge amount of money canvassing the nation to see whether Australians felt they needed such protection and, despite overwhelming support for such an initiative, ignored the wishes of the people and decided not to adopt one.”

Ms Gumbert said the New Zealand vote acknowledging gay marriage sets an example for both Australia and the Asia Pacific region, being the first country in the area to acknowledge such a fundamental human right.

“Hopefully, New Zealand’s lead may be the impetus needed to do the right thing in this country.”

Tags: Human rights NSW Equality