Australian Senator Penny Wong with partner Sophie Allouache
What a great day!
Yet another state branch of the Australian Labor Party backs gay marriage - this time South Australia, birthplace of Australia’s gay rights movement in the 1960s. So much for the nonsense that supporting gay marriage is about this government being run by the Greens; no, it is finally a case of the Government being run by the people.
Most newsworthy of course is not the motion backing marriage, but the fact that the much vilified Penny Wong spoke in support of it.
Wong said: “There has been some commentary which has confused my position of not commenting publicly on this issue with my position on the actual issue itself … I have had the opportunity to advocate for equality at the highest levels of our party and within our party processes, as I do today. And I will do so again at the next national conference.” She then pointedly added: ” Talking about change is not the same as delivering it.”
Yes, she should have done this ages ago, but this is a very welcome move. And it should put all the sniping and vilifiers back in their place. Wong faced a backlash several months back that went beyond criticism and verged into racism and stupidity – now she is out and proud on the side of equality and this will really shift the debate inside the Labor party.
The motion reads: “This convention calls upon the ALP national conference to amend the platform to support the legal right of all adult couples in Australia to be married if they so choose, and for that marriage to be recognised and registered by law in Australia, regardless of the sexual orientation, or gender, of the parties to the marriage.”
What does this mean? We probably won’t be getting marriage equality before 2012 – but this might change – but we will almost certainly be getting it in 2012 at the latest. That does not apply if there is an early election and the Government is wiped out. But it probably isn’t going to do much worse than in August 2010 and any loss of support will probably go to the Greens anyway.