In Australia, cohabiting same-sex couples are recognised as de factocouples and have the same rights as cohabiting heterosexual couples under state law, such as taxation, aged care and health. However rights to adoption, surrogacy and IVF are inconsistent in all states.
In South Australia, same-sex couples are recognised under the Domestic Partnership Agreementand the only state in Australia to ban altruistic surrogacy for singles and same-sex couples under theStatutes Amendment (Surrogacy) Act 2009.
Partners for 18 years, Cora Costa and David Roberts attended the rally Saturday to fight for their right to be a married couple.
“There have been some good changes over the years. We live a happy life and contribute [to the society],” said Cora Costa.
“But marriage is a package of rights. We just want those (laws) that make us unequal to disappear.”
A national poll conducted by Galaxy Research in May 2011 found that 75% of Australians believe marriage equality is inevitable and among them 80% are women. The poll also showed that support for same-sex marriages has risen from 38% in 2004 to 62% in 2010.
From the poll results, 80% of young people under 24 years of age support marriage equality and this was clear at Saturday’s rally, where the majority in attendance were young people.
One of the rally organisers, Gemma Weedall, said that young people are more open to change and thus the there is much greater support from the younger generation.
“Public opinion has change over the years and the support for equality in marriage is growing,” she said.
“We are at the stage of mobilising people for the support of equal marriage rights.”
Ms Weedall said the next step is to push the government in the form of a big rally during the ALP National Conference this December in Sydney.
One of the speakers at the rally, Heather, represents the transgender community. She spoke to the crowd about her experience as she sought to be legally her preferred gender of choice, but found out the law requires her to be divorced from her partner first.
“I may be transgendered. I may have been identified as a gay male in a previous life. But most of all I am meand I am worthy of respect and I will not be ignored, crushed, trodden on or totally discounted like some second-class citizen by our country’s marriage laws,” Heather said to the crowd.
“I pray that one day Australians will not use the words ‘us’ and ‘them’ as if we were at odds, but instead stand with if in a spirit of solidarity,” she said.
“I hope that we, as a country, embrace diversity in all its forms, including same-sex marriage.”
A small group of Christian representatives who oppose same-sex marriage also held a rally on Saturday next to the pro-marriage rally at Parliament House.
Danniielle O’Connor, 40, was a lesbian and described herself as a “born-again Christian”.
To support marriage equality in South Australia, join Equal Love Adelaide herehttp://equalloveadelaide.org/