A year on from the historic “yes” vote, campaign group Australian Marriage Equality has received one of the country’s top human rights awards.
The Human Rights Awards honour the contributions of advocates in government, law, the media, business, and organisations.
The Australian Marriage Equality group received the Community Organisation Award at a ceremony in Sydney on Friday to recognise the group’s work in championing the rights of LGBTIQ Australians.
AME co-chair Janine Middleton said the award was dedicated to all of the campaigners who had “put aside their lives for years to work hard and make sure marriage equality became a reality.”
“The fight for LGBTI rights started long before Australian Marriage Equality and will continue long after, but in 2004 a very small grassroots movement was started,” she said.
“In any campaign, there are always names that will not be remembered and people have come and gone over the years.
“Each one of them has pushed AME forward at a time when it looked like everyone in Canberra was against us. This award is for all of those people.”
AME’s Peter Black (pictured) said there remained much work to be done towards LGBTIQ equality in Australia and overseas.
“At the moment, Australian Marriage Equality is committed to spreading the message of love and equality around the world,” he said.
“We’ve begun work with countries and their local marriage equality campaigns in Thailand and Taiwan and we’ll continue to do so.
“In terms of the wider LGBTIQ community, of course there remain a number of battles to be won.
“The individuals, organisations and communities that make up the LGBTIQ community in Australia will continue to fight for freedom and equality for our bodies, our relationships and our communities.”
AME co-chair and veteran campaigner Alex Greenwich was nominated for the Tony Fitzgerald Memorial Community Individual Award, while the Human Rights Law Centre’s LGBTI Unit – Anna Brown and Lee Carnie – were finalists for the Law Award recognising their work nationwide on LGBTIQ legal reform.
New South Wales Anglican priest Father Rod Bower, known for his outspoken support of marriage equality and thought-provoking church marquees, was also a finalist for this year’s prestigious Human Rights Medal.
Australian Human Rights Commission President, Emeritus Professor Rosalind Croucher, congratulated all the finalists and recipients at the Human Rights Awards.
“We are proud to recognise the outstanding contribution of individuals and organisations in promoting and protecting human rights and freedoms,” Professor Croucher said.
“Just days after the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, today’s event is our way of thanking and recognising all the Australian human rights heroes.”