An Open Letter to the Prime Minister
The issues of marriage equality and gay rights have been in the news both at home and abroad in past weeks. I would like to ask you some questions to help me better understand your position on these matters.
Addressing the United Nations in Geneva this week, US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton delivered a landmark speech about gay rights. She declared “gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights”.
My first question is: Do you agree with Hilary Clinton, and therefore believe that gay rights ARE human rights?
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (to which Australia is a signatory) states that “men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and found a family”. There is no “unless they are gay” escape clause. It does not say that a man must marry a woman, any more than it says a man cannot marry a man.
My second question is: Do you accept that the right to marriage is a human right as stated in the UDHR?
I will assume that you answered yes to both questions, which brings me to my third question: If you agree with Hilary Clinton , and accept the validity of the UDHR, how is it possible to view your stated personal opposition to marriage equality as anything less than support of a violation of human rights?
Governments around Australia have made great progress in improving the rights and protections of the LGBT community, to the point where we could say we are almost equal. But “almost equal” is by definition NOT equal. Clinton said to the UN that “progress comes from changes in laws… Laws have a teaching effect. Laws that discriminate validate other kinds of discrimination”.
Backed by your own party’s platform, you have a golden opportunity (some would say an obligation) to lead Australia into a new era of equality. Clinton said “those who advocate for expanding the circle of human rights were and are on the right side of history, and history honours them”.
My final question is: on which side of history will you stand?