The Asian Australian Lawyers Association (AALA) stands for and celebrates diversity and equality in Australia. Our members come from all walks of life and our doors are open to lawyers and other members in the legal community no matter their race, creed, gender or sexual orientation. The AALA Executive Committee stands with the Law Council of Australia; the Human Rights Law Centre; our patron, the Honourable Michael Kirby AC CMG; and numerous other legal industry luminaries and organisations in Australia, and unanimously affirms that freedom from discrimination is a fundamental human right.
Many of our leaders within the Asian Australian community support this change for good because it will greatly enhance the lives of the LGBTIQ community, some of whom are integral members in the AALA. Our Vice-President and current Acting President, William Lye OAM, recently stated in his acceptance speech at the Australian Law Awards 2017 that, as beneficiaries and champions of diversity in Australia, we must press on for equality for all.
The Yogyakarta Principles, a set of human rights principles relating to sexual orientation and gender identity developed in Asia, clearly state that sexual orientation is integral to an individual's dignity and goes to our shared humanity. Similarly, the Supreme Court of India recently held that "discrimination against an individual on the basis of sexual orientation is deeply offensive to the dignity and self-worth of the individual. Equality demands that the sexual orientation of each individual in society must be protected on an even platform."
Accordingly, the AALA Executive Committee considers our support for marriage equality to flow from a shared value of inclusion that seeks to enhance the dignity of our own members. A change in the law to allow same-sex marriage is the right public policy outcome that will allow two people (regardless of gender) to make a strong and recognised commitment, strengthening the institution of marriage and making our society more inclusive.
The AALA Executive Committee is comprised of leaders from different cultural backgrounds and of many creeds. But on this issue of inclusion and progress we are unanimous: it’s time for change. The AALA Executive Committee encourages all those in the Asian Australian and legal communities to consider their support for marriage equality and vote 'yes' if they so choose in the upcoming postal survey.