Same-sex marriage: Asian Australian Alliance backs ‘Yes’ vote

“At the heart of the campaign for marriage equality is the inherent dignity of all family members and friends, including family members who are LBGTI,” national convener Erin Chew said.

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The grass roots and community based network, which is a collective of Australians of Asian descent, began in New South Wales in 2013, currently has a presence in Victoria, ACT, Queensland and Western Australia, with over 800 members.

“I think that things are changing, I know when I was young, families were a little bit different, but we are now in the 21st century and there are families of different natures,” one of the group’s founders, Daphne Lowe Kelley, said.

In calling for support for same-sex marriage, the group has urged for the debate to be respectful.

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“[The AAA] supports freedom of speech as the foundation of robust democratic speech. We condemn speech that incites hate as not just unlawful but also immoral,” Susan Joo, a state convener for NSW, said.

“Australia is a multicultural, multi-faith society. Hate speech undermines the enterprise of building an inclusive and just society.”

The Alliance has the endorsement of the Equality Campaign.

“As we are looking to get everyone on board with us, we decided that the multicultural communities were just as important to involve in this campaign,” said Francis Voon who is liaising with several multicultural groups.

President of the Asian Australian Lawyers Association NSW branch Kingsley Liu said the announcement was about supporting equality.

“Today is just like any day because it’s part of a process that’s been going for significant time,” he said.

“It’s recognition about rights and it’s about developing those rights for special people and ordinary people in our community. It’s a community where we value equality.”

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Mr Liu explained how the same-sex marriage campaign challenges the “traditional” view of family. 

“It’s challenged because there is a need to recognise the growing change in how society views a family unity,” he said.

“It’s changed and has been altering for the past 50 years. You can see this by how people vote in various countries and we’re talking about western countries with a similar make up to Australia.”

The Australian Bureau of Statistics is aiming to get the survey forms out to 16 million voters by September 25, with the first arriving in mailboxes earlier in the week.