GetUp and Australian Marriage Equality win charity auction to have same-sex couples dine with the Prime Minister

16 Jun 2011

As part of the Federal Press Gallery's Mid-Winter Ball Charity Auction, GetUp and Australian Marriage Equality bid for and won dinner at The Lodge with Julia Gillard - a prize they intend to give to couples in same-sex relationships, to make the case for marriage equality.

"The face-to-face time with the PM was billed as a 'unique opportunity for corporate Australia', but rather than dining with executives and business leaders Julia Gillard will be forced to make the case as to why these couples cannot have their relationships recognised in the same way other Australians do," GetUp National Director Simon Sheikh said.

"All loving couples, regardless of sexual orientation, should have equal access to legal marriage," Australian Marriage Equality's Alex Greenwich said. "Our hope is that those same-sex partners attending the dinner will help change the PM's mind and bring an end to discrimination, so that one day soon their families will have the recognition and respect that other families have."

Sandy Miller and her fiancée Louise Bucke will be two of the Australians attending the dinner.

Sandy and Louise are in a long-term, committed and loving relationship and have been engaged for the last two years - they have two children from Sandy's previous marriage, Matthew (11) and Dylan (9).

"Our youngest often asks us "Mummies are you going to be engaged forever? Why don't you get married?"," Sandy Miller said. "It has been hard trying to explain that our government won't let us get married and he doesn't understand why everyone else can get married and become a family legally and we can't."

"We don't want to be considered special or better than anyone else, we only want the same rights as every other person and couple in Australia, the right to be legally married," Sandy said. "Until the government legally recognises that same sex couples are no different to heterosexual couples and should have the same and equal rights in every area in life including marriage, this discrimination will never end."

"During the Federal Election a year ago, it became evident that marriage equality was an issue Australians cared about despite the major parties' failure to address it," GetUp National Director Simon Sheikh said. "Our politicians are elected to lead, but are far behind the public on this, it's time they step up to the plate and support equality and fairness for all couples."

Proceeds from the auction go to charities: Big Bangs, Angel Flight, The Click Foundation and Working Wonders.

The Groups were also successful in winning a meal with the 3 Key Independents (Bob Katter, Rob Oakeshott, and Tony Windsor), whose vote will be crucial to the debate. Joining them at that event will be recent Queen's Birthday Honours recipient Prof. Kerryn Phelps, (AM) Snr Queenslander of the Year Shelley Argent (OAM), and former Vietnam Veteran and the proud father who famously questioned Tony Abbott about the issue on Q&A, Geoff Thomas.


(via the Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group)