I support marriage equality and acknowledge the great work done by Australian Marriage Equality (AME) over the years. I am disappointed however, that they are now pushing legislation in NSW and Tasmania that will exclude some intersex and trans people from marriage. This clearly is not “marriage equality” which is why I am calling on AME to either support amended Bills that are inclusive of all GLBTI people or change their organisation’s name. Equality is equality. We are a community and should not leave anyone behind.
The ACT Legislative Assembly is set to adopt legislation this week that will introduce true marriage equality. This is the kind of legislation we need to push.
My wife and I were married in New Zealand three weeks ago where true marriage equality exists. My sex did not matter for the purpose of marriage because in New Zealand marriage is about a commitment made by two people irrespective of sex. As an intersex person who is open about being born biologically both male and female, this is very important. The current marriage laws in Australia only allow marriage to be between a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others. This means people like me are unable to marry anyone unless we deny our true biological selves and pretend to be one sex and in a heterosexual relationship.
Just as Civil Unions were rejected by the GLBTI community because they would not have provide legal equality to same sex relationships, we should not go down the path of state based laws that exclude sections of our community. Let’s work as a cohesive community to ensure we are all equal and that we can all marry irrespective of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex status. Nothing more, nothing less.
With about 64% of the Australian public supporting marriage equality, and countries like the UK, Spain, France, New Zealand, the Netherlands, and others already introducing marriage equality, this is not too much to ask.
As my wife tweeted yesterday, supporting the current NSW and Tasmanian Bills in their current form are reminiscent of George Orwell’s quote from “Animal Farm” – ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL BUT SOME ANIMALS ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS.
I look forward to working with AME to achieve true marriage equality in Australia.
Cr Tony Briffa JP
Vice-President, Organisation Intersex International Australia Ltd
Vice-President, AIS Support Group Australia Inc
For more information about my wedding in New Zealand – www.briffa.org/wedding-news
Here are some newspaper articles about our wedding:
- “Tony and Manja’s little Kiwi wedding”, SameSame
- “Oz discrimination laws force Melbourne couple to tie the knot in New Zealand”, Q News
- “OII VP Tony Briffa to wed partner in NZ ceremony”, Gay News Network
- “Cr Tony Briffa weds in NZ”, Maribyrnong & Hobsons Bay Weekly
- …and an article on the OII Australia website
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