The Equality Campaign on Sunday launched what they’re touting as the largest marriage equality campaign in Australian history.
A nurse, a firefighter, a lifesaver and a soldier feature in a new TV ad and on billboards that will be put up around the country calling for the government to allow all MPs a free vote on marriage equality.
In the ad, the workers ask: “We can leap to your rescue. We can hold a life in our hands We can put our lives on the line. We can stand the heat. We can nurse you back to health. So why can’t we get married?
“We do our jobs. It’s about time politicians did theirs.”
The Equality Campaign’s director Tiernan Brady said the “It’s Only Fair” campaign features “real people from across Australia who make this country better”.
“Our soldiers, doctors, nurses, lifesavers and firefighters are people who Australians are proud of but at the same time cannot marry the person they love in the country they serve,” he said.
“Our campaign is not going away, and will only get stronger, until federal parliament delivers this straightforward and strongly-supported reform that is all about fairness.”
Australian Marriage Equality spokesperson Shirleene Robinson said two thirds of Australians and a majority of politicians support the reform.
“Marriage equality will not change anything for the vast majority of Australians, but will make a profound difference to the status and dignity of many,” she said.
Fairfax Media reported on Saturday that a group of Liberal MPs who support marriage equality are pushing for a free vote in the parliament in the hopes a vote on the reform could be held this year.
But Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull poured cold water on the news on Sunday night, blaming Labor opposition leader Bill Shorten for the delayed reform in an interview with 60 Minutes on Sunday night.
“The only reason gay couples will not be able to get married is because of Bill Shorten’s totally political approach,” he told 60 Minutes on Sunday night.
“We took the plebiscite position to the election that is our policy and we are calling on Bill Shorten to rethink his position and if he supports the plebiscite then it will pass through the Senate and it will be held. Every Australian will have a say,” he said.
Labor MP Terri Butler said on Sunday talk of a plebiscite was now irrelevant, because the legislation had been voted down.
“We can get this done now. We can have marriage equality before Mardis Gras,” she said.
“All it will take is a free vote on the floor of the parliament on a bill to amend the Marriage Act.”
— 60 Minutes Australia (@60Mins) February 5, 2017