Marriage Equality - Lyndall Ley Osborne

Thursday, 7 September 2017

As Australia waits on the High Court determination on the legal validity of the same-sex marriage postal plebicite, and tens of thousands of people have attended rallies across the country, ALIA Director Lyndall Ley Osborne has these words of support.

"The marriage equality debate, and the proposed Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey — as it is formally known – have the potential to bond or divide families, friends, communities, and work places. For many there are challenges, for others an opportunity to have a say and hopefully lay this issue to bed.  We should expect vigorous, even heated debate, because people hold strong opinions. I urge respectful dialogue from both sides.

Unfortunately it already appears that increased hurtful and harmful public discourse is even more seriously affecting LGBTIQA friends and colleagues.  I think it is sad that even if there is a positive outcome, the moral scrutiny to which the LGBTIQA community is being subjected will likely have long-term negative consequences. To them I offer my full support and encourage others in this wonderful  profession of ours to do the same.

Marriage equality, for me, is very much a human rights issue. The UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights lays out a framework of rights for all based on dignity, equality and mutual respect – regardless of your nationality, your religion or your beliefs.  At their very heart  these rights are about being treated fairly and treating others fairly, and having the ability to make choices about your own life.

I love the first article.  “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”    This has always accorded well with one of ALIA’s core values of the profession -  “respect for the diversity and individuality of all people”. Together, these articulate both foundational human values and principles of how we should engage with each other, particularly in times of fierce debate and divided opinion. I strongly support both statements.

Marriage has had, and still does have, a variety of forms over place and time in human history.  Contemporary marriage practice around the world differs according to cultural, social and religious tenets and is not immutable.  All Australians currently have the right to love whom they choose and to found a family, and are accorded various legal rights in respect of their relationships. Couples who fall outside the legislatively defined Australian marriage context do not have all of those legal rights and safeguards for themselves and their children.   I believe it is their right to do so.  For many marriage has a special place in their lives and I support all those who wish to make it part of theirs.  I will be voting yes."

Lyndall Ley Osborne, ALIA Director

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