Around 11 months ago, as Opposition leader, Daniel Andrews said Labor would put equality back on the agenda.
And he’s kept his word.
The Andrews government has appointed Australia’s first Minister for Equality and Victoria’s first Gender and Sexuality Commissioner.
Last week the Andrews government took another step to remove discrimination against gay and lesbian couples.
The Victorian Parliament debated a law that would allow same sex couples to adopt a child.
I strongly support this step, as I support ending other forms of discrimination against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex people.
Anyone who is a parent knows that it can be a very difficult job.
There are challenges every day.
One thing I'm certain of is that a same sex couple is as well-equipped to tackle the challenges of being a parent as any other couple.
A same sex couple is able to make decisions in the interest of a child as well as any other couple.
All kids deserve to grow up in the care of a loving family.
And as any parent knows, the most important thing a parent can have is love for their child.
I know that gay and lesbian couples have the same capacity to love a child as straight couples.
I know that gay and lesbian couples have the same love for each other as straight couples.
I know that all love is equal.
But same sex couples in Australia are still treated as if their love for each other is less than the love felt by straight couples.
This is both wrong and unfair.
For as long as same sex couples are denied the chance to marry, these couples are being told their commitment to each other is less than the commitment straight couples have for each other.
Same sex couples are being told their decision to build a life together has less weight than the same decision made by a straight couple.
And most hurtful of all – they are being told that in society’s eyes their love for each other is not the same as the love felt by a straight couple.
A few weeks ago I got engaged. I know what it’s like for a relationship to grow and for a couple to decide to get married.
And many same sex couples know what this is like too.
But unlike straight couples, same sex couples are denied the chance to stand before their friends and family and declare their love for each other through marriage.
I think this is wrong and the federal government should immediately act to end this discrimination against same sex couples.
I am confident this will happen one day. However that day cannot come quick enough.
Each day that marriage remains unavailable to same sex couples is a day where those couples are being told their love is less than that felt by others.
This weekend I will be joining members of our community who feel as I do – that it is time for marriage equity in Australia – to push for marriage equity.
We will be gathering in Bridge Mall at 2pm for the Equal Love Rally to make a clear and collective statement that all love is equal.
- The rally will head up Sturt Street before arriving in Camp Street for a “speak out”.