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We need to legislate now for marriage equality

Published: 10 August 2017

“The government must take meaningful action and end the lack of legal recognition for same-sex couples as it is having devastating consequences on Australians,” the Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Association of Social Workers, Cindy Smith, said today.

The AASW and other major human rights, human services and health bodies have long-argued that the lack of legal recognition for same-sex couples leads to negative psychosocial and physical health outcomes for same-sex attracted individuals, couples, parents, and their children.

“Marriage is a human right yet Australia continues to have polices that are discriminatory and in breach of its international commitments,” Ms Smith said.

“The AASW considers a conscience vote in parliament the only way to deal with marriage equality, not a plebiscite.”

Ms Smith says the HILDA survey shows that most Australians want marriage equality and this government was elected to make the decision.

“There needs to be a policy change in favour of a conscience vote because a non-binding, non-compulsory postal vote is an expensive, unnecessary and therefore redundant exercise,” she said.

“To be on the right side of history, the government needs to get on with the job of aligning the Marriage Act with community attitudes.

“Money for a plebiscite could be much better spent on family violence, housing and numerous other social services, which desperately need more funding,” Ms Smith said.

The AASW represents more than 10,000 professional social workers who are committed to working with communities and individuals to promote wellbeing, human rights and social justice.

To interview Cindy Smith, please contact Ruby Dubash on 03 9320 1026.

AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers