On August 13 2004 the Marriage Amendment Bill 2004 was passed by the Senate of the federal parliament. The Marriage Amendment Act 2004, as it became known, now includes the following definitions:
Marriage means the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.
Certain unions are not marriages. A union solemnised in a foreign country between: (a) a man and another man; or (b) a woman and another woman; must not be recognised as a marriage in Australia.
Since then individuals and communities around Australia have rallied, protested and lobbied in favour of marriage equality for same sex couples.
Rainbow Families Council actively supports and endorses the call for marriage equality.
Council Committee members have spoken at Equal Love rallies, attended meetings with Members of Parliament in Canberra and lobbied politicians from all parties on behalf of Rainbow Families Council. In 2009 the Council wrote a RFC Senate Marriage submission 2009 (PDF)
Rainbow Families Council believes that discrimination in marriage law should be removed because:
- Marriage equality would grant same-sex couples and our children real equality, and an equal chance to participate in Australian society.
- Marriage equality upholds the rights and best interests of children -– our children, of whom there are many – in that it gives them the affirming message that society considers their parents and family worthy of recognition and celebration, and to be equal in status to those of their married grandparents, aunts, uncles, parents of schools friends and family friends.
- Marriage equality will achieve what changing 85 other areas of federal law can never achieve – better acceptance and understanding of same-sex relationships and rainbow families within the broader Australian society, by placing same-sex relationships on par with heterosexual relationships.
- Marriage equality will provide same-sex couples with the dignity of choosing to celebrate the commitment of their significant relationship in a way that is acknowledged and understood throughout the world.
Rainbow Families Council asks that the federal government:
- Immediately amend the Marriage Amendment Act 2004 to remove all discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender.
- Provide recognition of international same-sex marriages – including to those married couples who wed overseas prior to law reform by repealing the prohibition of the recognition of same-sex marriages entered into overseas.
Rainbow Families Councils supports the following campaigns, websites and blogs and encourages our members to participate in letter writing activities, workshops, rallies and other events in support of marriage equality.