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Marriage Equality Fight in Australia Receives Fresh Momentum

The prolonged fight for marriage equality in Australia gained fresh momentum last month thanks to a series of public campaigns and political efforts.

The Equality Campaign recently-launched a campaign of TV commercials, billboards and digital advertisements featuring everyday Australians, including doctors and firefighters, who express pride in their country but are prevented from marrying the person they love. Marriage equality campaigners are also sending faxes to encourage their elected representatives at the federal parliament in Canberra to support marriage equality, BuzzFeed reports.

Australia is seeing ramped up political efforts pushing for marriage equality. Members of Parliament (MPs) from the opposition Labor Party have found common cause with some pro-marriage equality dissenters from the ruling Liberal Party, which is conservative in its ideology.

The Liberal Party government, led by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, has consistently resisted calls to introduce marriage equality-enabling legislation in Parliament despite support from a majority of MPs, openly LGBTQ lawmakers and an overwhelming majority of the public.

A 2004 amendment to the country’s Marriage Act bars same-sex marriage. Efforts to adopt marriage equality in some jurisdictions, such as a 2013 effort in the Australian Capital Territory, have been short-lived and unsuccessful.

The Turnbull government attempted to hold an expensive, contentious and non-binding plebiscite on marriage equality. LGBTQ rights groups and the opposition opposed the move, and the country’s Senate voted to reject the plebiscite last November.

HRC supports the efforts of Australian LGBTQ advocates and allies to achieve marriage equality in their country and has partnered with Australian Marriage Equality (AME), the preeminent national organization working on the issue. HRC Global staff visited Australia in July 2015 and in February 2016 to share strategic advice from the successful campaign for marriage equality in the U.S.

Learn more about HRC Global’s work around the world here.