Ticket A108: Norrie, Sam, and Another Push in the Fight for Marriage Equality in Australia

Posted by Tara G on

Back in August I wrote a piece in regards to the Marriage Equality fight in Australia.

At the time, Tony Abbott was still in power, and Liberal National backbencher Warren Entsch was attempting to push through a private members bill for Marriage Equality, which was torpedoed by Abbott’s blanket ban on a free vote.

Since then, very little has changed.

Despite the ousting of the world’s biggest idiot from the leadership of the ruling Liberal coalition in Australia; Malcolm Turnbull has turned out to be nothing more than a different face on the same beast.

Turnbull, a previous supporter of Marriage Equality, quickly back flipped on his previous position once in power, and proved to Australia that their new leader was less liberal than he was Liberal Party.

However, the fight for Marriage Equality continues.

On Wednesday, Norrie – who became the first person in Australia to be legally recognized as ‘gender non-specific’ in 2014 after a High Court appeal victory – and partner Samuel Choy entered the New South Wales registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages in Sydney to file a Notice of Intended Marriage.

Handed ticket stub A108, they sat down and waited to be called for an interview with a registry official.

Back in August, I was lucky enough to speak to Norrie in regards to my piece on the Marriage Equality debate. Norrie said that the Liberal position on Marriage Equality was “a major block for transgender and other sex or gender diverse people and their families” and that it almost guarantees “more tragic outcomes of discrimination particularly for sex, sexuality or gender diverse young people.”

It is this motivation which has Norrie back at the Registry Office, ready to go another round with bureaucracy over the continued arbitrary rules surrounding gender, sexuality and their relationship to marriage.

"Marriage isn't important for everybody," Sam, Norrie's betrothed said to me today. "It is important for some though, and if those some can have it then it should be available to everybody. Regardless of race, sex, nationality, ethnicity, language, religion, or any other status."

That availability however, remains restricted - and Norrie and Sam’s application was rejected.

The 2004 amendment to the Australian federal Marriage Act states that marriage is the union of a man and woman to the exclusion of all others. Officials are, as Norrie said to Guardian reporter Michael Safi, “bound to do their job.”

I spoke with Norrie this afternoon, and the next move depends on the official written response received from NSW Births, Deaths and Marriages. "The ball is still in the government's court," Norrie said. "They have yet to return the serve."

In the interim, Norrie has simply expressed hope that this action will progress Australia “a bit towards marriage equality” and raise the “issues of injustice and unfairness” that the current law represents.

It is actions such as this, by people like Norrie and Sam, which push for real change in this world.

Meanwhile, Malcolm Turnbull and the Australian government are choosing to waste the nation's time, not to mention millions of tax-payer dollars on a public vote which isn't even politically binding - for a decision whose future is already decided if Australia intends to remain a functioning part of the international community.

Frankly, a change of leadership can't come soon enough.

Well...this is Australia we're talking about...so let's assume the wait won't be too long anyway. 

Tara G is a jack-of-all-trades history graduate with a New Zealand accent. She has a penchant for beer, wandering and incessantly talking. 50% of the Bobo Academy BlogSquad. Currently based in Kyoto, Japan. You can follow her on Twitter or Instagram.


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