Marriage equality

At an Ordinary Meeting on 12 September 2017, Council voted to endorse a position statement in support of marriage equality.

We believe all of our residents, staff, community members and their families deserve to be treated equally before the law. We see same-sex relationships as being equal to heterosexual relationships, and we believe our marriage laws should reflect this. 

Our endorsed statement

The statement reads:

Moonee Valley City Council supports Marriage Equality. We believe that no one should face violence or discrimination because of who they are or who they love.

Moonee Valley City Council is committed to creating a safe, secure and inclusive community in which all LGBTIQA+1 people can live their lives free from any form of discrimination, stigma, prejudice or violence.

We believe that the Marriage Act 1961 is discriminatory and should be changed to allow all adults to marry who they love, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or intersex status.

We affirm our commitment to ensuring that the human rights of all people residing, working or visiting the City of Moonee Valley are universally protected.

We ask all community members to stand up against prejudice, discrimination and work towards eliminating it where it exists.

We call upon the community to join us in defending the rights and freedoms of our LGBTIQA+ community members in ensuring they are given the dignity, respect and freedom to live their lives free from discrimination.

Why does Council have an endorsed position on this matter?

In 2015, Council endorsed an LGBTIQ Action Plan 2015-17 which aims to improve access and equity, acknowledge and celebrate, and promote participation for our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) community members and their families.

This action plan is one of several to fall under our Diversity, Access and Equity Policy.

Under Theme 4 of the LGBTIQ Action Plan ‘Leadership and representation - Advocacy’, we commit to establishing a position on marriage equality and promoting this to the community. The timing for this action is Year 2 of the action plan – i.e. 2017.

What are the reasons for our endorsed position?

We believe allowing same-sex marriage will:

  • promote human rights and dignity for all
  • provide greater inclusion and equitable outcomes for our LGBTIQA+ community
  • improve mental health outcomes for our LGBTIQA+ community (in particular young people aged 12 to 25 who experience high rates of mental health issues and suicide)
  • encourage greater acceptance and understanding of same-sex relationships in the broader community
  • create social stability, enabling stronger family and community ties
  • have great economic benefits for our local economy, especially for suppliers in Moonee Valley who provide services for engagement parties and weddings
  • foster a more harmonious society where everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, can love and have that love celebrated.

Have other Victorian councils expressed support?

We join a list of other Victorian councils who support same-sex marriage:

  • Banyule City Council
  • Cardinia Shire Council
  • Campaspe Shire Council
  • City of Melbourne
  • City of Yarra
  • Darebin City Council
  • Geelong City Council
  • Hepburn Shite Council
  • Hobsons Bay City Council
  • Port Philip City Council
  • Macedon Ranges Shire Council
  • Moreland City Council
  • Monash City Council
  • Maribyrnong City Council
  • Warrnambool City Council

What if I don’t agree with Council’s position on same-sex marriage?

As an organisation, we believe a supportive position aligns with our values of inclusion, participation and equity, however we understand that not everyone in our community may be in support of changes to the Marriage Act 1961, and we respect their right to this opinion.

What is Council doing to promote its statement?

Across the next two months, we will:

  • light the Clocktower Centre with colours at night
  • fly rainbow flags at intersections, our Civic Centre and Transfer Station
  • colour our logo and spread the message through social media

The Marriage Law Postal Survey

What is the Marriage Law Postal Survey?

The Federal Government is surveying the Australian community to determine the level of support for a change to the Marriage Act, which would allow same-sex couples to marry under Australian law. This will be conducted via a non-compulsory postal survey, sent out to enrolled voters on the Australian Electoral Roll.

What is the background?

In 2004, the Howard Government legislated changes to the Marriage Act 1961 to explicitly define marriage as being between a man and a woman. Since this change, there has been a strong community movement championing same-sex marriage, and polls have continually shown a growth in community support for it to be legalised.

Since 2001, countries across the world have amended their laws to legalise same-sex marriage. These include Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Finland, France, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United States and Uruguay. Germany, Malta and Taiwan are also soon to implement same-sex marriage.

What is the process for the Marriage Law Postal Survey?

You must be enrolled on the Australian Electoral Roll to take part in this survey – the deadline for ensuring you are on the roll and that your details are up to date closed on 24 August 2017.
Commencing 12 September, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) will begin sending out postal surveys.

The survey will ask voters if they believe the Marriage Act should be amended to allow same-sex couples to marry. A voter will provide a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer.

Ballots must be received by the ABS by 6pm on 7 November in order to be successfully processed. The survey results are set to be announced on 15 November. If a ‘yes’ majority occurs, a free vote will take place in the Parliament.

Key dates:

Date (2017) Milestone 
Thursday, 24 August

Electoral Roll closes for new enrolments or changes to enrolments (midnight local time)

Tuesday, 12 September Commencement of mailing of forms and collection period
Wednesday, 18 October  Requests for replacement material closes (6pm local time)
Friday, 27 October The date all eligible Australians will be strongly encouraged to return their form by
Tuesday, 7 November (6pm EST) Responses received after this date will not be processed
Wednesday, 15 November  Statistics released

For more information on the process – including strategies for participation for people with disability, living overseas or people with other needs, visit the ABS website.

You can also call the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey Information Line on 1800 572 113. This line is available seven days a week, 8am to 8pm (local time).

How can we ensure respectful debate during this time?

Regardless of your position on this matter, we encourage community members to be respectful and civil towards each other at all times, when engaging in discussions on the marriage law survey. Please be mindful that vulnerable sections of our community (including young people) may overhear or read commentary on public social media spaces regarding this matter, and that commentary which is not respectful can be damaging to one’s mental health.

We do not condone the spreading of false or misleading information, and any actions or commentary which vilifies, stigmatises or harasses individuals or a particular group of people.

Support services

If you find this debate is getting you down, or impacting on your mental health, here are some ideas:

  • Talk to a friend or family member with whom you feel most comfortable opening up with.
  • Take a break from social media – you may come across some negativity on Facebook and Twitter and this can get overwhelming. Sometimes it’s good to just switch it all off when it gets too much.
  • Reach out and speak to a support service:
  • Switchboard Victoria (LGBTIQ+ specific support) – 1800 184 527 (3pm-midnight, every day of the week)
  • Lifeline – 13 11 14 (24 hours)
  • Kid’s Help Line – 1800 55 1800 (24 hours)
  • You can seek a referral from your GP to access counselling support services.
  • If you’re a young person, aged 12 to 25, our Valley Youth team run a youth counselling service as well as a Queer Youth Group. Contact youth@mvcc.vic.gov.au or 9243 8888.
Last updated: Wednesday, 20 September 2017, 12:24 PM