Media Release

Media Release

Save the Children applauds Youth Ambassador for challenging government decision to exclude 16 and 17 year olds from same-sex marriage postal ballot

24/08/2017

Child rights agency also concerned the polarising debate may cause mental anguish for some children 

Save the Children has today applauded one of its youth ambassadors for challenging a government decision to exclude 16 and 17 year-olds from participating in the same-sex marriage postal ballot. 

On Wednesday, 17 year-old Cameron Warasta from Melbourne lodged a complaint with the Australian Human Rights Commission arguing that excluding 16 and 17 year-olds breached the Age Discrimination Act.  

The child rights agency supports Mr Cameron's position that 16 and 17 year-olds should be allowed to participate in the same-sex marriage postal ballot.  

Save the Children's Head of Campaigns Tim Norton said, "We're extremely proud of Cameron's decision to challenge the government to allow 16 and 17 years-old to have a voice in the same-sex marriage postal ballot. Cameron is a formidable young man who is determined to have his voice heard, no matter whether he is for or against same-sex marriage." 

While the issue of same-sex marriage is a not a direct child rights issue, it does have indirect impacts on LGBTQI children and young people and their future rights.  

"The current debate surrounding marriage equality is about the right of consenting adults to get married, and we must be clear about that. But it affects the future rights of young LGBTI individuals, so it is important for them to have a say on a fundamental issue that affects their mental health and future wellbeing,” said Mr Norton. 

"There are thousands of same-sex attracted and gender diverse children and young people looking for acceptance as they grapple with growing up. There are also Australian children being raised by same-sex couples who will be finding it difficult to comprehend why their loved ones cannot marry." 

"It's confusing for them and we have to consider the impact on children in these situations,” added Mr Norton. 

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