Stars show pride in same-sex law reform

Some famous Australian faces have launched an awareness campaign about same-sex law reforms, but they say there is still plenty of work to be done.

Celebrities both gay and straight today gathered on the steps of the Sydney Opera House to launch the Wear it with Pride campaign.

Singer Natalie Bassingthwaighte and Professor Kerryn Phelps were among the personalities in support of the changes and spoke about how the reforms had affected them personally.

The 85 reforms to Commonwealth Laws came into effect over the first half of last year, covering areas such as superannuation, employee entitlements and child support.

Graeme Innes was the Australian human rights commissioner at the time the reforms were being negotiated and says they are meaningless unless people are aware of them.

“That’s why this campaign is critical to bring the law to life, because human rights belong to everyone, everywhere, everyday and that includes Australians both gay and straight,” he said.

Among the celebrities who gave testimonies at the launch were MTV presenter Ruby Rose, performer iOTA, Indigenous actor, director and choreographer Noel Tovey and radio personality Geoff Field.

Field was one of several speakers at the event who expressed frustration that the reforms had stopped short of allowing gay marriage.

“I’d like to thank Kevin Rudd for the 85 reforms, but how dare we not be allowed to marry after 17 years together,” he said.

“He (my partner) is my love and the next time we’re up here we want to be up here for changes to the marriage laws.”

Professor Phelps, former head of the Australia Medical Association, expressed similar views after giving an account of how her partner had left her teaching job because of discrimination.

“While other Western countries such as Canada, Spain the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany and South Africa were busy legalising gay marriage or civil unions, Australia seemed hell bent in the opposite direction,” she said.

Australian and international designers have also made 85 one-off T-shirts to commemorate each of the changes.

They were on display this afternoon on 10 washing lines that have been erected at the Opera House forecourt as part of the launch.

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