Olympian Ian Thorpe has joined the marriage equality campaign, ahead of next month’s postal plebiscite on the issue.
Thorpe and his boyfriend Ryan Channing joined advocates from The Equality Campaign at Sydney’s City2Surf event on Sunday to encourage Australians to enrol to vote and update their electoral details before the deadline of August 24.
Thorpe told Fairfax Media: “The reason why it’s personally important for me is the message it sends to a young me – that the way that I felt is equal to the way anyone else feels.
“I think it’s when we have this kind of recognition in marriage equality that young people can feel that and we start to get rid of all of those layers of discrimination the LGBTIQ community can face.”
He also spoke of the importance of promoting acceptance to young LGBTIQ people and their families during the upcoming plebiscite campaign.
“Know that there are a lot of people out there who are supporting you,” he said.
— Alex Greenwich MP (@AlexGreenwich) August 13, 2017
— AU Marriage Equality (@AMEquality) August 12, 2017
Two legal challenges – by PFLAG, Rainbow Families Victoria, the Human Rights Law Centre, Australian Marriage Equality and others – to stop the proposed postal vote will be heard in the High Court on September 5 and 6, just days before the first ballot papers are mailed on September 12.
They argue the government doesn’t have the power to conduct the postal vote without parliamentary approval.
Acting Special Minister of State Mathias Cormann said the government was “very confident that we have the constitutional legal authority to make this happen.”
The Equality Campaign’s Executive Director Tiernan Brady said “every political and legal avenue” will be exhausted to try and stop the “unnecessary and non-binding survey that sets a terrible precedent for Australia.”
“However, we must also be prepared for the very real possibility of a postal plebiscite if our legal challenge is defeated,” he said.
“If we are faced with a postal plebiscite we have a duty to every Australian who supports fairness and equality to win it.”