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Deniliquin woman pleads for equal rights

Deniliquin woman Georgia Henderson is pleading with Member for Farrer Sussan Ley to support same-sex marriage.

TYLA HARRINGTON December 31, 2013 4:40am

Deniliquin woman Georgia Henderson is calling on government leaders to support same-sex marriage and her dream of a white wedding.

She is particularly pleading with Member for Farrer Sussan Ley, to change her attitude after learning she publicly stated last week she would not support the vote to introduce gay marriage.

Ms Ley told Echuca’s The Riverine Herald that her stance was in line with the thinking of Farrer constituents – but Ms Henderson said it’s not her thinking.

Since then, Ms Ley has become the target of a Marriage Equality Australia hit-list, as pressure mounts on MPs to change their minds on same-sex marriage.

The gay marriage advocacy group has issued a list of 50 federal MPs they would target to persuade them to change their mind on the issue.

Ms Ley said while she recognised community opinions were changing, she would not vote to change the Marriage Act.

‘‘My views on same-sex marriage are heavily guided by my constituents,’’ she said.

‘‘There is absolutely no doubt that society’s stance on this issue has moved a long way during my lifetime, but I do not believe that the majority of voters in Farrer want to see the Marriage Act changed yet.

‘‘However, I have supported and I will continue to support legislation that removes discriminative laws against same-sex couples and I believe there is more that could be done in this area.’’

Miss Henderson, who has been with her partner Melanie Penglis for three years, has lobbied Ms Ley before but to no avail.

She met with Ms Ley in Deniliquin on the issue in October 2011.

The 22 year-old said at the time Ms Ley’s argument was the negative impacts same-sex marriage has on children.

‘‘The reality is that many same-sex couples do, and can already have children, or receive access to means of having children, for example, IVF, adoption or surrogacy,’’ she said.

‘‘By allowing marriage equality for same-sex couples, we would be allowing the legal and social recognition of the unity of family and love.

‘‘In this country we do not accept discrimination against same-sex couples, so how are we able to teach our children, the future leaders of Australia, not to discriminate, when our very own government continues to enforce the segregation and discrimination on a daily basis.

‘‘Marriage is not only a fundamental civil right it also encompasses legal and social recognition to not only same-sex couples, who would benefit from changing the current marriage laws, but also families, friends and the Australian economy – times are changing and marriage equality is inevitable.

‘‘If I were a member of parliament, I would much rather be on the right side of history, by assisting in actively working towards positive change for our country, than to be on the side that it’s holding back fundamental progression.

‘‘Especially considering the fact that recent polls show the majority of Australian’s are now in favour of marriage equality, so what is our government doing?’’

Ms Henderson said an increasing number of countries are legalising same-sex marriage ‘‘because their governing bodies listen to their people and have deemed the discrimination to be wrong’’.

‘‘It’s actually embarrassing when you look at some of these countries who have made this step – for such an advanced country, Australia sure has missed the boat on this one.’’

Miss Henderson said she and her partner ‘‘value’’ marriage.

‘‘Growing up, just like most young girls do, I dreamed about being surrounded by important friends and family and marrying the person I love,’’ she said.

‘‘But when I was young I could never have imagined that when I grew up, this human and civil right, my dream of a white wedding, would be dampened by my own government.

‘‘I never imagined that the person I was born as, and grew up to be, would not be allowed equal entitlements to those of the rest of my family.’’

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