ACT bill is a key win but the fight for full equality is not over

The Socialist Alliance statement The passing of the ACT assembly's bill to allow same-sex marriages on October 22 is a significant win and a step towards full, federal marriage equality. The win is a result of long, hard-fought, grassroots campaigning. The federal government's bid to quash it with a High Court challenge is testimony to its bigotry and hostility to equality. We must defend the bill against the federal government's attack. However, we note the campaign still has a long way to go. First, state and territory bills, such as the one passed in the ACT, are not the same as full marriage equality, recognised and guaranteed federally. Such bills remain a separate seat on a separate bus. Second, we strongly reject any discrimination in such bills against trans, intersex, and sex-and-gender-diverse (SGD) people. All marriage bills, on a state, territory and federal level should grant full marriage equality to all sexes and genders. Where state and territory laws disadvantage and discriminate against trans, intersex and SGD people (such as non-recognition of trans people if they do not have expensive sex reaffirmation surgery), the Socialist Alliance calls on governments to amend laws to end this unacceptable discrimination. Free sex reaffirmation surgery should also be provided for trans people who require it. We call on state, territory and federal governments to recognise people who are gender and sex non-specific. There should be full sex/gender recognition for people who identify as a combination of male and female, or on the continuum in between. It is testament to the strong marriage equality campaign that NSW and Tasmanian state governments are also planning to pass state marriage bills. But we must not end the campaign until full, federal marriage equality is won for all. Over the past nine years, the movement for marriage equality has challenged homophobia, changed millions of people's minds to support full equality for the rainbow community, and created conditions for rainbow youth to feel confident to come out. The Socialist Alliance is proud to have been part of the campaign, along with many others, from the start. The passage of the ACT bill is testament to the stance taken by millions of people against bigoted governments that seek to divide ordinary people. But the fight goes on — against Abbott's attacks on the ACT bill and for full equality. The Socialist Alliance calls on people to join in another National Day of Action for marriage equality on Saturday November 23. Nationwide rallies are demanding “Hands off ACT marriages, and full marriage equality”. See Facebook event: