News & Comment
There's nothing inevitable about marriage equality
The NSW ALP has failed to join its counterparts in other states by endorsing marriage equality.
Instead, it has hand-balled the issue to the National Conference later in the year.
It's some compensation that leading Labour figures like Anthony Albanese and Paul Howes gave strong speeches in favour of equality.
But most people already know or assume they support equality.
Be under no illusion, this is a set back with important implications for the National Conference.
I understand the marriage equality motion was deferred because the small minority of delegates strongly against equality did deals with the much larger proportion who support it, but not enough.
It's easy to see something similar happening at National Conference.
For example, the issue could be sent off to a Labor caucus committee for further discussion.
Alex Greenwich from Australian Marriage Equality is right that this is a wake-up call.
There is nothing inevitable about the ALP endorsing marriage equality.
It is essential that supporters of equality contact their local MPs immediately.
The NSW outcome is also a wake-up call for equality advocates inside and outside the ALP.
In recent days concern has grown about the possibility that Labor is trying to control community-based advocacy groups to dampen down the debate and ease pressure on the Party.
Today's outcome sends a message to equality supporters within the Labor Party that they can't achieve reform without the support of a vigorous, independent, community-based equality movement.
It's also a reminder to community-based advocates, including skeptics like me, that we need supporters within the Labor Party more than ever before.
No one group is strong enough to do the heavy lifting on marriage equality. The weight of prejudice, indifference and vested interest is too great.
Only with respect, trust and co-operation can marriage equality occur.
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