Marriage Equality Rally at ALP National Conference, Sydney, 3rd December 2011

OII Australia members were inside the ALP National Conference at Darling Harbour and were supporting the marriage equality rally outside the conference venue on Saturday December 3 2011.

Intersex Australians lost the clear right to marriage when the Howard Liberal federal government amended the Marriage Act 1961, changing the definition of marriage as between two people into between a man and a woman and no others.

The marriages and families of thousands of intersex Australians remain under threat of forcible dissolution and prosecution of the perpetrators, two people who innocently fell in love and then married each other as the expression of that love. Intersex people wishing to marry can do so if they can get away with being seen as “a man and a woman”, though such marriages can be challenged and prosecuted if discovered.

The conference voted to add marriage equality to Labor’s party platform, as well as a number of other world-first LGBTI intersex-inclusive resolutions. In a measure apparently designed to counter marriage equality, though, a small majority of delegates voted in favour of a conscience vote on the issue when it comes to federal parliament.

Human rights must never be subjected to conscience votes, most especially given how the consciences of many law makers seem to convince them that some human beings are more equal than others.

… So that intersex people might never have to fight a battle where we have to argue ourselves into the sex binary of male or female, full marriage equality is the only solution. To achieve that, all references to sex or gender should be removed from theMarriage Act.
Most intersex people find themselves living in financially constrained circumstances if those around them know their differences. Social opprobrium means we are often employed well below our capacity and renumerated less favourably than those in identical employment. There is no provision in anti-discrimination law to prevent this.
Any legal challenge to an intersex person’s right to marry or be provided with services would, in most cases, financially ruin the individual in question just as it financially ruined April Ashley when her transition from male to female was challenged….

Photos by Karin.

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