By now everyone would have or should have heard (and formed some sort of opinion) about the marriage equality movement that has been happening in Australia and the world for some time now. A major player in this movement has been a play about the highly sensitive Proposition 8 in California, which eliminates the rights of same sex couples to marry, passed down in November 2008. 8 The Play, debuted in Melbourne on June the 8th, followed by its only other performance on June the 9th at The Sydney Town Hall, all happening right before a decision is handed down in Australia on the rights of same sex couples to marry in the coming weeks.
I knew that I had to see this play and when the opportunity came for me to also lend my time as a volunteer at this monumental event, I jumped at the chance. I had also recently attended the marriage equality campaign in Martin Place, Sydney, put on by the AME (Australian Marriage Equality), Marie Claire and Sunrise, so it was important that I also attend and help with volunteering at this event. An important thing to note here is that the marriage act in Australia was CHANGED in 2004 following the "Federal Parliaments passage of a bill amending the marriage act of 1961 to rule out the legal recognition of marriages between same sex couples". This law was amended in the new millennium, not even ten years ago, in a time where people were far more educated about gay people and their rights and more than likely know, work with, or has someone in their family who is gay. Strange.
The cast of the Australian production was stellar, with actors like Magda Szubanski, Daniel MacPherson, Georgie Parker, Catherine McClements and Rachael Blake each giving brilliant performances, amongst others. On a few occasions, Magda got laughs and unanimous applause from the audience as her right wing character, Maggie Gallagher, delivered ridiculous lines that even she could not stop herself from having a little chuckle at. Gold.
Cate Faerhmann(Greens MP), Magda Szubanski & Alex Greenwich(AME) debate after the play
The show and debate that followed were great and have come at a time when marriage equality is high on many countries lists of things to "review, debate and decide on". Australia is on the cusp of being one of those countries that embraces equality for all, and if this play highlighted anything, it was that the argument against marriage equality really had no sound platform, rather, unfounded arguments mixed with vile and more often than not, highly offensive associations that have no basis whatsoever. Let's hope that in the coming weeks Australia does join the growing list of countries that recognise marriage equality, after all we promote equality in every other way in Australia, what makes this any different?
For more information on marriage equality:
For more information on 8, The Play: