Yesterday, Australia’s Governor General, Peter Cosgrove, gave Royal Assent to the same-sex marriage bill and in doing so set the countdown for it to pass into law. At exactly midnight last night, Australia became a less discriminatory and more culturally mature nation. This is a wonderful outcome for all Australians but especially for those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer or questioning.
I can see the scene now, the final plenary session of the 2067 VAHPA Delegates Conference: “…and finally comrades, the union movement, after years in the social justice wilderness, found its voice and did what unions do best, fought alongside our allies in the LGBTIQ+ community to make the world a better place for everyone!” The 784 delegates in attendance (more than a few were unable make it along on the day) rise in solidarity, full of that wonderful feeling that only comes from shared struggle and genuine solidarity and… ahhhh! It’s a bright future for VAHPA…
Hyperbole I hear you cry. Well, maybe. But the point is a serious one. It wasn’t our elected officials in parliament or a team of lawyers somewhere that made same sex marriage possible; this outcome wasn’t delivered from on high. Quite the opposite, this is a win for activists, for grass-roots campaigners and for the brave individuals from the LGBTIQ+ community who stood tall, demanding real change, even at great personal cost. The same sex marriage campaign demonstrates yet again that political activism works.
On behalf of VAHPA and with deep admiration I offer a big thank you to all of the activists that made this happen. You know who you are—good people, one and all.