Unless you live under a rock (or possibly outside Australia), you almost certainly know by now that Australia voted a loud, reverberating “Yes” to marriage equality. Members of SMART Recovery Australia, including Liam, Josette, Ryan, and Michael, attended the historic announcement at Alfred Park near Sydney’s Central Station. Upon arriving at the Collective Purpose office – admittedly doused in glitter and smiles – we were greeted by a sea of rainbow.
On the subject of the outcome, SMART Recovery Australia’s Executive Director, Ryan McGlaughlin, had this to say:
“Today’s outcome restores faith that the majority of Australians are fair dinkum about fairness, equality, and human rights. The people of Australia have proven themselves to be more progressive than our political leaders.
Let today’s decision be a ‘kick in the butt’ to these men and women in power that they need to demonstrate stronger, more decisive civil leadership than we have seen on many issues of late, including drug testing of welfare recipients and drug policy. Let us remember that the fight that was won today started many years ago. Let us remember the many activists who started this fight, but who are no longer on this earth.
Finally, whilst this is a win for the GLBTI community, it would not have been possible without the enormous support of our friends and families far and beyond the GLBTI community. Today is a day every one of us can be proud to be a human being.”
SMART Recovery Australia, of course, unreservedly endorses self-management and self-determination for all Australians, but the addiction sector has particular experience with the LGBTI community. Statistically speaking, LGBTI Australians are at far greater risk of mental illness, addiction, and isolation than those outside that community. Unlike other minority groups in our society, which often have strong familial ties to reinforce identity (such as religious or ethnic minorities), members of the LGBTI community sadly have risked alienation and isolation within their own families, and some even find themselves homeless.
SMART Recovery runs several GLBTI-focused groups throughout Australia to address the needs of this community on their own terms, and many members of the community attend our open groups all over the country. We congratulate not only the members of the GLBTI community with whom we are involved, and not only the community at large, but all Australians on this momentous occasion. It is now over to the politicians to endorse the will of Australia’s citizens.