Publication Details

McKinnon, S. (2017). The road to same-sex marriage support has been long - and the fight isn't over yet. The Conversation, 15 November 1-4.

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Today's same-sex marriage survey results represent a moment of extraordinary change. It is well within living memory that homosexuality in Australia was considered a crime, a sickness and a threat to the nation itself. The final Australian state to decriminalise male homosexuality was Tasmania, as recently as 1997. Plenty of gay men still remember the fear of prison terms that shadowed their lives. Plenty of lesbians still remember that, although their sex lives were never criminalised, the police and the courts found ways to oppress and harass them nonetheless. Many LGBTIQ people still carry the emotional and physical scars of brutal medical interventions designed to fix something that was never broken. And yet, from the birth of the Australian lesbian and gay rights movement at the end of the 1960s, through the growing inclusivity of LGBTIQ activist politics in the decades since, we have somehow reached a point in November 2017 where millions of heterosexual Australians have chosen to tick a box saying "yes". In the process, they have helped a once demonised, pathologised and criminalised minority take a major step towards equality.