Married same-sex couple notch up 16 years, call for equality
LOVE doesn't discriminate, and neither should our government.
That's the message from a Fingal Heads same-sex couple whose marriage in the United States wasn't recognised when they returned to Australia.
Rosa Caceres and wife Julie Robinson fronted Labor leader Bill Shorten during his visit to Cudgen's Walter Peate Oval on Sunday, May 15, urging him to make marriage equality a priority.
The couple held a ceremony in Australia almost 16 years ago and were officially married in Orlando, Florida last August.
For this, they received a congratulatory letter signed by United States President and First Lady Barack and Michelle Obama.
Ms Caceres said a plebiscite on marriage equality would be a "waste of money" and urged the Federal Parliament to simply vote on the matter.
"The right wing conservatives who are saying no... there's no reason for it," Ms Caceres said.
"That opportunity should be for everybody in the world. Everybody should be entitled to that here. Why should we be any different?
"All we ask for is fairness."
The couple were appalled their marriage wasn't legally recognised in Australia due to concerns over the sanctity of marriage, yet there was little outcry over a recent reality TV show which filmed people marrying complete strangers.
They also believed legalising same-sex marriage would bring big bucks to Australian businesses.
"It cost us over US$6000 for our wedding," Ms Robinson said. "All that money went to small businesses in the country."
When speaking with them at Cudgen, Mr Shorten promised the couple if elected prime minister, he would send them a congratulatory note as the US president had done.
He slammed the $160 million plebiscite listed in the Federal Budget as a waste of money and reaffirmed a Labor government would put marriage equality before parliament within 100 days.
WHAT THEY SAID:
Justine Elliot MP (Labor):
"It's very important. I support marriage equality and I've supported it in the past. When it came to a vote in Federal Parliament in 2012 I voted to change the Marriage Act. I believe it's really important that we do that and I've been a strong supporter for a long time."
Dawn Walker (Greens):
"I'm very supportive of marriage equality. It's only the Greens that have remained consistent with this. Both major parties have flip-flopped. I think a plebiscite is an unnecessary distraction and I think we've got an opportunity to work together and get marriage equality sorted without having to go to the expense of the plebiscite."
Matthew Fraser (Nationals):
"I support the plebiscite, and I think when it happens the people of Richmond will overwhelmingly support marriage equality. If elected, I would look forward to supporting that in parliament."
Neil Smith (One Nation):
"I would rather confine my comments to issues that are really important to this country. My personal view is the same as most Australians - I couldn't care less! However the One Nation's view is that it should be decided by a referendum (preferably one held simultaneously with an election so it doesn't cost any extra)."