15 November 2022 – On the five-year anniversary of the marriage equality postal survey, national LGBTIQ+ group Equality Australia has teamed up with Olympic swimming champion and marriage equality campaigner Ian Thorpe to launch YES, What’s Next?

The new campaign raises awareness of the work still to be done before LGBTIQ+ people are truly equal in Australia.

“Five years ago, Australians said YES to marriage equality. They said yes to love, fairness and acceptance,” said Equality Australia CEO Anna Brown.

“It’s a bittersweet day for our communities – both a landmark moment in our national history that has brought great happiness to 36,000 people and their families, and a reminder of a divisive and unnecessary public debate about our lives and our families.”

Equality Australia – which was born out of the successful YES campaign – on Tuesday launched its new campaign to create a more fair and just society, with a particular focus on discrimination in religious schools and organisations, ending so-called ‘conversion therapy’, and ensuring trans people are fully equal.

“We’ve come a long way as a society in the last five years, but there’s so much more to do,” said Ms Brown, who co-chaired the Equality Campaign in 2017.

“Still today, many of us face discrimination at school, in our workplace or when accessing services. Violence against people in our communities still happens and the opponents who lobbied against marriage equality have shifted focus, doubling down on their attacks on trans and gender diverse people in Australia.”

An overwhelming majority of Australians — almost two-thirds — voted in favour of marriage equality in a postal survey announced on November 15, 2017.

Since then, almost 18,000 same sex couples – or 36,000 people – have married in Australia, according to recent figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

In the year following the YES vote, 6,538 same sex couples married, representing 5.5 per cent of all marriages, and in 2019, 5,507 same sex couples wed the one they love.

Last year, almost 5,700 people took their same-sex marriage vows and, for each of the five years, more female same-sex couples married than male.

Ian Thorpe, one of the most revered athletes in Australia to campaign for marriage equality, said the anniversary marked a turning point for the nation, but more remains to be done.

“The YES vote meant more than simply saying yes to same sex marriage, it was also saying yes to all the LGBTQ+ kids out there that they are just as much a part of society as everyone else, and that all of us are equal no matter who we love,” said the five-time Olympic gold medallist.

“Australia is at its best when we embrace all of our differences. We are better and stronger together. And that’s what the YES vote did, it brought us all together – not only in spirit but also in law.”

“That’s why today, I’m joining with Equality Australia to invite the Australian community to celebrate the fifth anniversary of YES Day pledging to be part of what’s next for LGBTIQ+ equality by joining the YES, What’s Next? campaign.

“The YES, What’s Next? pledge is a rallying cry to political leaders across the country to build a more fair, equal and just society by ending conversion practices, ensuring trans people are fully equal, protecting LGBTIQ+ students and staff from discrimination in religious school, and protecting intersex people from harm.”

Interviews are available with Anna Brown, Ian Thorpe and same-sex couples who have married yet still face discrimination.

Media contact: Tara Ravens, media@equalityaustralia.org.au or 0408 898 154

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