I have resided in the USA for nearly six years and I am happy to say that I live in one of the states, New York, where same-sex marriage is now legal. It wasn’t always that way, however. When I first arrived in New York in 2007, marriage equality seemed like a distant dream and same-sex marriage had only been legalised in one state, Massachusetts (2004). It took years of advocacy work to achieve the goal of marriage equality in New York, the culmination of which was the successful passage of legislation in 2011. It was indeed an amazing experience to have been present in this state during such an historic change.
But throughout it all, there was a sense of sadness that my native country, Australia, wasn’t making any progress on the issue. Frustratingly, the marriage equality ‘debate’ in Australia and the entire effort to bring about change there has in recent years been hijacked by two people: Julia Gillard, the Prime Minister and leader of the Australian Labor Party (centre-left), and her opponent, Tony Abbott, leader of the Liberal Party of Australia (centre-right) and the Liberal-National coalition.
While the number of countries which have legalised same-sex marriage grows by the year, the addition of Australia to that honourable list is being hampered by Gillard and Abbott who are each, ironically, immigrants from Wales and England respectively where marriage equality is on track to soon become law.