The Best Of All Possible Splits

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pic by John Elsenschenck

Like a ripened seed pod, AME has burst apart and seeded fresh new life into the battle for equality

It has been apparent for some time that Australian Marriage Equality was an organization divided against itself.

  • Rodney Croome and Brian Grieg are both passionately committed to preventing a plebiscite happen
  • So are Shelley Argent of PFLAG, and Ivan Hinton-Teoh, of just.equal
  • Alex Greenwich and AME are negotiating with the government to try to get the most favourable plebiscite terms and conditions
  • Tom Snow of Australians4Equality is making plans and raising funds to fight for a yes vote if and when the plebiscite happens

A moments thought will show it is all but impossible to do all these things within one organization. Now, instead of fighting amongst themselves within AME over policies and the allocation of resources, each is free to concentrate on their specific task without distraction, on the understanding that if the plebiscite comes to pass, all will pool resources and fight together for a yes vote

What is just-equal?

Ivan (R) and husband Chris (L) Hinton-Teoh

Ivan (R) and husband Chris (L) Hinton-Teoh

Ivan Hinton-Teoh was one of the first to break with AME during the current cycle. He has set up a new body called just.equal, reflecting Ivan’s conviction that there is much more to LGBTI rights than just marriage.

just.equal is an Australian community campaign to advocate for justice and equality for LGBTIQ Australians their families, friends and communities.

just.equal is about inspiring and engaging Australians in a mature conversation about how, as a nation, we will ensure dignity, respect and equality for LGBTIQ Australians, their families, friends and communities.”

Beyond Marriage

just.equal is not just fighting the plebiscite: that’s just the task on hand. It’s looking forward to the battles to come after marriage equality is achieved. They are building for the future.

“If you think marriage equality is our last battle, think again. The lived experiences, opportunities and protections for LGBTIQ differ depending on which state you were born and live in.

Gains have recently been made in several states but others have made no progress. With your help we’ll be raising profile and adding pressure to improve lives across the nation.

Have you joined the campaign yet?” www.equal.org.au

Sign, Join, Lend a Hand

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pic John Lemieux

At the link you can sign their current petition – of which more in a moment – join up, sign up for newsletters, or volunteer.

They consulted openly with the community, asking us what we want to do about the plebiscite, which was rather refreshing! That exercise showed that 85% of us want to continue fighting that beast until it is either abandoned, or finally legislated into existence. So – surprise –  that’s what just.equal will do.

Another urgent task they’ve identified is the cultivation and persuasion of the crossbenchers. And like everyone else, they have started a petition.

“Newly-elected cross benchers have the power to stop a plebiscite on marriage equality and secure a free vote. We could see marriage equality in weeks, not months or years.

With the uncertain election result you can be sure the Coalition is furiously calling the minor parties and independents to get their support for a minority government.

Cross benchers could be critical for ensuring marriage equality is voted on in parliament without a costly, divisive and damaging plebiscite.

Join us in calling on the minor parties and independents to negotiate a free vote as soon as parliament resumes. Cross benchers will have plenty of smarter ways to spend the $160M a plebiscite would cost.

As a forward looking organisation that’s about much more than just marriage, I think they’ve got a great future.

Rodney Croome, Shelley Argent of PFLAG (who has bankrolled much of just.equal work to date) and former Senator Brian Grieg have joined forces with just.equal to try to kill off the plebiscite.

We can too: sign their crossbencher petition, and lend a hand. Click here to get started.

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About the author

Veteran gay writer and speaker, Doug was one of the founders of the UKs pioneering GLBTI newspaper Gay News (1972) , and of the second, Gay Week, and is a former Features Editor of Him International. He presented news and current affairs on JOY 94.9 FM Melbourne for more than ten years.

“Doug is revered, feared and reviled in equal quantities, at times dividing people with his journalistic wrath. Yet there is no doubt this grandpa-esque bear keeps everyone abreast of anything and everything LGBT across the globe.” (Daniel Witthaus, “Beyond Priscilla”, Clouds of Magellan, Melbourne, 2014)