A Year Following The Yes Vote, The LGBTQI Community Celebrate And Continue To Fight

The vote on same-sex marriage, held by Aussies a year ago, had crowds gathering in front of screens to see the results of a two-month campaign, with either ending showing something to the country about itself.

The LGBTQI community, the majority of Aussies, and the wedding industry, like Caterers in Sydney¸ celebrated the vote, when the results were revealed. All in all, 61.6% of Aussies voted in favour of same-sex marriage, which included a majority in all of the country’s states and territories.

Following the vote, Australia saw 5365 same-sex marriages, with NSW seeing 1916 of them, while Victoria saw 1331 of them.

Following the legalisation of same-sex marriage, the LGBTQI community still had to deal with religious institutions.

For more progressive Christian denominations and religions, like the AU’s Uniting Church, they mulled over the Aussie decision to change the definition of marriage, before opting to allow their ministers to conduct same-sex weddings later in July of 2018. The church approved two ‘equal yet distinct’ definitions of marriage; one for heterosexual couples, one for homosexual couples.

According to Uniting Church President Deidre Palmer, the decision was mad following years of reflection, prayer and discernment on the matter.

Other churches haven’t followed the legislation though, like the Sydney Anglican Synod, which voted to ban gay weddings on all of its owned properties on October, which also includes any events which the church says promotes expressions of human sexuality that is contrary to the church’s doctrine of marriage.

The Catholic Church have also stood against same-sex unions, same with the small, conservative circles of Islam in the AU.

Director of the Forum on Australia’s Islamic Relations, KurandaSeyit, the matter of same-sex marriages isn’t even a discussion in the Muslim community, as it’s taboo subject. He expects that that is set to change soon.

Seyit says that they simply cannot bury their head in the sand and ignore the issue, and that it’s inevitable that imams will have to deal with the issue in the future.

The churches across the AU are also dealing with a result of a vote in 2017; Philip Ruddock’s review into religious freedom. The review highlighted the long list of special privileges enjoyed by religious organisations in the AU.

Many Aussies are even shocked to learn that religious schools in the country have wide-ranging exceptions to anti-discrimination laws, which allow them to, among other things, expel gay students, fire gay teachers, as well as refusing to hire staff based on their gender or sexuality.

The fight for complete acceptance for the LGBTQI community continues, even as the AU celebrates its “Yes” vote, on November 15. Executive Director of the Equality Campaign, Tiernan Brady, who led Ireland’s referendum on the matter, says that the review, which revealed the discriminations that existed across the system, will backfire on the people who hoped it would secure their attempts to unwind marriage equality.