American Foundation for Equal Rights

Marriage News Blog

Rachel Griffiths and All-Star Cast Perform “8” in Australia

Today and tomorrow the play “8” will be taken overseas for the first time, to the land down under.

The powerful story has inspired hundreds of communities to produce their own readings, including Australian actor Spencer McLaren. Encouraged by the response we’ve received in the states, McLaren quickly began pulling together his own Aussie all-star cast for two one-night-only readings in Melbourne and Sydney.

Taking the stage will be Six Feet Under star Rachel Griffiths, Aussie actress Magda Szubanski, comedian Shane Jacobson, It’s Time campaign star Julian Shaw, Rush and Tangle star Catherine McClements, and Star Wars actor Jay Laga’aia just to name a few.

So, how exactly is the Perry case in United States relevant to Australia? Well, Australia’s Marriage Amendment Act of 2004 in is frighteningly similar to California’s Proposition 8. Gay and lesbian Australians had the right to marry until the Marriage Amendment Act of 2004 changed the definition of marriage to be between a man and a woman, just as Proposition 8 did.

The timing of these readings could not be more crucial. The two performances strategically coincide with the release of a report by Australia’s House Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs about two marriage bills: Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2012 and the Marriage Amendment Bill 2012. The report examines the legal and technical aspects of the bills, which, if passed, would give gay and lesbian Australians the freedom to marry. Once the report is completed, expected June 18, the bills will then be debated in the House of Representatives.

While the freedom to marry for Australians is still to come, “8” is sure to spur dialogue, understanding and action in a country that so urgently needs it.

All funds raised at the readings will be donated to the Australian Marriage Equality campaign.