The hotbed issue of amending Marriage Acts across the states of Australia to allow people who identify as gay, lesbian, queer, transgender or intersex the same access to legal marriage as the heterosexual norm continues to simmer at the surface of public discourse. The US state of Alabama – traditionally a hyper-conservative state – recently saw an overturn on same-sex marriage via a Federal Judge ruling, who then ordered officials to comply in issuing marriage licenses within the state.
And with Sydney‘s annual Gay & Lesbian Mardis Gras festival approaching at the end of the month, now is as good a time as any to refresh our memories on the statistics.
- As much as 72% of Australians support same-sex marriage.
- A majority – 53% – of people who identify as Christian support marriage equality.
- 76% of Coalition voters want Prime Minister Tony Abbott to allow a conscience vote in Parliament.
- 75% of people believe reform to the Marriage Act to include same-sex marriage is inevitable.
- A whopping 81% of Australia’s youth (aged 18-24 years) support marriage equality.
But despite this, politicians appear to either not hear the voice of the masses, or are simply ignoring it outright.
Fortunately, a really neat new installation will allow you to make your voices heard directly. Australian Marriage Equality and long-time supporter of equal rights, Ben & Jerry’s are teaming up to unveil the #EqualityCalling campaign – a response to Politicians’ claims that the issue isn’t important to their constituents due to a lack of phone calls on the matter.
The initiative will allow voters who vehemently support marriage equality to record a message for their local MP, which will then be delivered en masse to Politicians offices.
The centrepiece of the campaign is a London-style Phone Booth that, in keeping with true Mardis Gras style, has been glittered and rainbow’d up spectacularly. The booth will be placed in Sydney’s Victoria Park during Mardis Gras’ famous Fair Day, and will allow people to record messages that will be directly communicated to politicians. The voice of much beloved Australian comic Wendy Harmer will guide people through the recording process, and her voice will then introduce the calls to political offices in a light-hearted, humorous fashion.
The campaign is a part of Ben & Jerry’s long-standing “Say I DOugh” initiative, which will again this year see the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough flavoured ice cream rebranded as I DOugh, I DOugh in support of the on-going push for marriage equality.
Rodney Croome, the National Director of Australian Marriage Equality, stated that “Equality Calling gives marriage equality supporters a quick and easy way to reach all their Federal representatives, and it gives us a way to publicly highlight the substantial number of contacts politicians are receiving from constituents.“
Meanwhile Kalli Swaik from Ben & Jerry’s chimed in as well. “As a social justice company, we’re immensely proud to support an issue that embodies so many of our core values. We champion equality above all else, believing that everyone in a loving relationship should be able to celebrate their commitment to each other in marriage, regardless of gender or sexual orientation.”
“To make marriage equality a reality in Australia, we need to make our collective community’s voices heard, and that is exactly what our Equality Calling hotline will do. We hope that MPs will listen to their constituents on the importance of marriage equality when the Marriage Equality conscience vote is called later this year. We believe 2015 is the year we can create change.“
The Equality Calling phone booth will be available to the public at Fair Day during Mardis Gras, on Sunday February 22nd.
But if you can’t make it there, don’t worry! You can still have your say and record a message of support by calling 1300 663 679.
Enough is enough, and it’s time for a change.