As Opposition Leader Bill Shorten announces he will push a private members bill for same-sex marriage on Monday, The Weekly ask two gay women how important it is to have marriage equality in Australia.
Journalist and care nurse Margo Kingston: I'm in favour of civil union, which I think is exactly the same thing, but it hasn't got the tag of marriage on it. I've got two main problems with legalising same-sex marriage.
The first is that it's fundamental assumption is that a life partnership between a man and a woman is the same as between a woman and a woman and a man and a man, and I think it's not. It is different. My experience as a gay person has shown that. Most people, when they realise they are gay, will be very upset and will have to come to terms with that difference, that minority status. To accept that you're gay is to celebrate the fact that you're different.
The second is societal. This insistence on being the same, on changing a concept that has been embedded in our civilisation - the union between a man and a woman. I think it's unnecessarily provocative and can lead to a backlash. I don't see any reason to take on that proportion of society which is dead against same-sex marriage and confront them, when we can have a civil union, which gives everything, but the word 'marriage'.
Network Ten's Narelda Jacobs who was the first openly gay newsreader in Western Australia: Yes, it is important to achieve real equality. Like heterosexual couples, not all same-sex couples will choose to be married should same-sex marriage be legalised. Instead they may be content with de facto living arrangements, however, it is important to have the option so that people attracted to the same sex are not made to feel like second-class citizens.
Most people today are horrified that mixed-race marriages were once prohibited here in Australia between indigenous people and the settlers, in South Africa under apartheid and in the USA.
Hopefully, in the future, people will be similarly disgusted that people who are attracted to the same sex were so blatantly discriminated against because of their sexual preference and be shocked at the injustice and bigotry, in the same way as we now abhor past race discrimination.
I hope that this marriage issue will be resolved with open minds and brave hearts, and that society will accept all of its citizens equally and provide legal recognition of same-sex marriages.