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The introduction of a human rights
watchdog by the Rudd Government
could be the catalyst for overturning
Australia's ban on same-sex
The Government's Human Rights
(Parliamentary Scrutiny) Bill 2010,
introduced by Federal Attorney-
General Robert McClelland in June,
will establish a Joint Parliamentary
Committee on Human Rights to
ensure existing and new laws comply
with international human rights
standards, which Australia has agreed
to comply with.
Gay activists say the marriage ban
should be one of the first laws to be
reviewed, and ultimately overturned.
"Courts around the world have
found that laws which prohibit
marriages between same-sex couples
are in breach of fundamental human rights,"
said Australian Marriage Equality (AME)
national convenor Alex Greenwich.
"At the earliest opportunity we will ask
the new human rights committee to consider
these decisions and rule our discriminatory
marriage laws to be a human rights violation,"
Joint Parliamentary Committee on Human
Rights will involve members from both
houses of parliament and will have the power
to examine existing laws as well as make
recommendations on new laws introduced to
The Marriage Act, amended by the Howard
Government in 1994, stipulates marriage is
between a man and a woman to the exclusion
of all others. Currently only three states in
Australia have any formal recognition of
A 20-year study has revealed children of lesbian
parents may be better adjusted than those raised in
so-called traditional families.
Researchers followed 78 pairs of lesbian mothers
from the time they fell pregnant and discovered
their children, now adolescents, "demonstrate
healthy psychological adjustment".
Children with lesbian mums were also found to
have "fewer social problems, and less aggressive and
rule-breaking behaviours than other teens".
Study author Dr. Nanette Gartrell said the
wellbeing of these children was a testament to the
commitment of their mothers.
" e outcomes here were very clear. ese
are families in which the mothers were very
committed, involved and loving," said Gartrell.
"One of the things that opponents of the
equalities of gays and lesbians --- in marriage,
parenting, adoption and foster care --- o en bring
up is the so -called gold standard of parenting,
which de ned by them is the traditional family
where children are conceived in traditional ways
and not through insemination or surrogates," she
"But, when we compared the adolescents in our
study to the so-called gold standard, we found the
teens with lesbian mothers were actually doing
Gartrell expects similar results among children
of gay men.
e results of the study will be published in the
July issue of Pediatrics.
It's good news for Melbourne's queer arts and
cultural festival, Midsumma, a er posting a
surplus for 2010, its second consecutive year.
Midsumma General Manager Adam Lowe
said the surplus of $23,256 is likely the result of
attracting new avenues of cash ow, as well as
building on existing partnerships.
"We have hopefully attracted more donations
across the festival by sharing those received with
other queer arts and cultural community groups
in exchange for their support in human resources
and the like, and being very careful with our
budgets has also been a contributor to the success
nancially," he said.
Midsumma has just announced a call for
community-produced events for the 2011
festival, to run from January 16 to February 6.
Events can be theatre, spoken word, cabaret, lm,
live music, or sporting activities, and social and
political forums and debates. Registrations close
September 17. Details: www.midsumma.org.au
Midsumma rolls in the cash
Photo: Ann-Marie Calilhanna
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