Marriage equality - it's seems like such a simple concept; that every loving relationship, no matter the sexuality of the people involved, should be recognised and of equal worth. Why is it that a person should be discriminated against, simply because of their sexual orientation? But that's exactly what is happening in Australia. Same-sex couples are denied the right to celebrate their love through the act of marriage, a right that all heterosexual couples enjoy.

In 2004, the Howard Government took steps to actively exacerbate the issue of marriage equality, by ammending the Marriage Act (1961) to define marriage as explicitly the union of 'a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others'. This ammendment dealt a heavy blow to supporters of same-sex marriage, as it cemented the discriminatory definition, and sent a strong message about the Government's stance.

Celebrations erupted in the ACT in 2013, when the state government decided to listen to the voters, and legalise same-sex marriage. Same-sex couples were overjoyed to finally have their relationships recognised by their state, with 52 people tying the knot. But the joy was short-lived, as the Federal Government had the decision to legalise same-sex marriage overturned, ensuring that marriage legislation was a matter for the federal government, not the states. All of the couples who tied the knot during this period of equality are no longer recognised as being married - an absolutely heart-breaking outcome.

Australia is being left behind. A rapidly increasing number of countries across the world are legalising same-sex marriage, including France, Canada, Spain, Belgium and South Africa. It's time for the Australian government to change its laws to change with the times - We have to act now to put a stop to this discrimination, and start recognising that all relationships are of equal worth.

Here's what GetUp members have done about it

In 2011, GetUp created history with It's Time -- a story that showed the butterflies of a first date, the pain of loss and the joy of building a life together is the same no matter who you love. The video had more than two million hits in its first five days and has now been seen by more than 15 million people. To watch It's Time and GetUp's other marriage equality videos, click here.



Getup members made the headlines in 2012 when they won first prize at the Federal Press Gallery's Mid-Winter Ball Charity Auction. By chipping in $31,000 they won the chance for three same sex couples to sit down to dinner with the then Prime Minister Julia Gillard and make their case for marriage equality. You can find out more about the dinner here.

In 2013, Australia celebrated as the nation's first marriage equality laws were passed in Canberra. Whilst celebrations broke out around the country, the Federal Government launched a High Court challenge, and GetUp members rallied together to prepare for the fight to defend the new laws. Hundreds of members from all over the country submitted their stories and reasons for supporting the marriage equality laws. You can read their submissions here.

With 72% of Australians supporting marriage equality, the time has come for the Liberal Party to allow a conscience vote. In 2014, GetUp members from Tony Abbott's electorate of Warringah rallied at his electorate office with a bold proposal. Armed with a petition, a bunch of rainbow balloons and a giant engagement ring GetUp members popped the question and asked Prime Minister Abbott to allow a conscience vote on marriage equality.



To take the most recent action in this campaign, click here.