Advocates have applauded Australia’s 21st Governor-General, Bill Hayden, for his support of marriage equality.

Published on The Punch overnight (originalloy published in 2009), Hayden wrote of the prejudice, discrimination and recent progress experienced by gay Australians since he was in the Navy, 58 years ago.

As a result of that progress he said “The sky has not splintered apart, and our community has not degenerated into a Sodom and Gomorrah, as had been gloomily predicted earlier by fervid opponents of homosexual rights.”

Despite this he said “the times are nowhere near as tolerant of and respectful towards those people as would be the case if the community accepted them as fully equal with us, the dominating majority”.

Deputy Director of Australian Marriage Equality, Ivan Hinton, said,

“Only a matter of days ago our current Governor General, Quentin Bryce, spoke compassionately of the hopes and aspirations that all Australians can relate to. Today, former Governor General, Bill Hayden, is adding his voice.”

“Clearly, there’s a growing momentum to move forward and banish this historic prejudice that continues to leave parts of our community in the margins.”

“Recognising the depth of love, lifelong commitments and individual freedoms of all Australians would go a great distance towards creating a truly inclusive society.”

Bill Hayden admitted that “there is a lot more work to be done before we can feel confident that gay people are treated decently and with equality as our respected peers.”

Hinton said, “we call on the leadership team of the Liberal Party to recognise that marriage equality is not only a core Liberal value but a reform that most Australians support and one which our closest allies have already achieved.”

“We encourage political leaders of all persuasians to join the cross-party parliamentary group that will work towards achieving marriage equality on a federal level”.

Click here for a copy of Mr Hayden’s comments:
Deputy Director of Australian Marriage Equality, Ivan Hinton