Home' LOTL : September 2004 Contents On August 13, John Howard, with the help of Labor, won his
fight to ban gay marriage, inserting into the country's 43-
year-old Marriage Act the stipulation that "Marriage means the
union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others" and
that certain unions "must not" be recognised, such as "a man
and another man" or "a woman and another woman". The
Greens and Democrats amendments to support gay marriage
failed and the bill passed 38 votes to seven. Gay and lesbian
activists are fighting to prove the bill unconstitutional, while
Labor has pledged to review and neutralise broader
discriminatory Commonwealth legislation if elected.
"Understandably, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender
and Intersex communities are disappointed by Labor's support
of the Government's discriminatory change to the Marriage
Act," Greens candidate for Sydney Jenny Leong told LOTL.
"Many people don't want to get married, but we'll continue
to fight for the right of those people that do. And we will
continue to stand up for the LGBTI communities when their
rights come under attack," Leong said.
"If elected as the Greens member for Sydney, I will never
support discriminatory legislation and will legislate to remove all
discrimination within Commonwealth legislation," Leong said.
"The Greens pledge to campaign with the LGBTI communities
for the removal of all current discriminatory legislation, to
ensure equal rights and no discrimination in all aspects of life,
including employment, religious organisations, superannuation,
tax, benefits, adoption and marriage," added Leong.
The Democrats candidate for Sydney Michelle Bleicher has
slammed the passing of the bill and told LOTL, "I am
extremely disappointed about what has happened. First up, the
Government's Marriage Amendment Act was passed through
the Lower House without any fuss because our Labor Member
and her colleagues were not there to oppose it.
"We have a strong force in the Senate with Andrew
Bartlett, Aden Ridgeway and others, who rejected it first round
and sent it for review in the second round. But we are
outnumbered now that the Labor Party has given way. I see this
unfortunate position as a result of their centralised and factional
Party structure alongside a predilection for poll-driven policy
formation. At the end of the day, they maneuvered for
expedience and to appease polarised interests," said Bleicher.
Bleicher is dismissive of Labor's promise to campaign on a
raft of same sex rights issues. "To me it is clear that we need a
stronger principled force in Parliament, who will maintain a
context of progressive equity and human rights for all both in
the House and on the streets. This is what the Democrats
stand for and have fought for throughout their party history."
Patricia Petersen, Independent Candidate for the seat of
Warringah (Tony Abbott's seat), is an advocate of same-sex
marriage. Dr Petersen, who sports a black belt and lectures in
politics at the University of New South Wales has condemned
the same sex marriage ban. "When Australians go to the ballot
box this year, they will have to decide whether they support
equality in marriage rights or bigotry. John Howard adopts a
50's attitude towards sexuality. Curiously, he appears to
assume that the majority of Australians are homophobic. After
all, he recently used homophobia to assist his re-election
chances by attempting to prevent lesbian and gay couples from
"It is ludicrous to suggest that gay and lesbian couples are
less fit than heterosexual couples to have a family or that their
relationships are less legitimate than heterosexual couples."
LEFT PATRICIA PETERSEN PHOTOGRAPHED BY AVI OHANA AND RIGHT JENNY LEONG
QUEER NORTHSIDE PRIDE, the work of Northern Sydney GLBT
organisations including NorthAIDS, PFLAG, Northern Sydney
HIV & Sexual Health Unit and Helix Gay Group focuses on
health, welfare and rights with keynote speakers and
stallholders providing information and advice, and NorthAIDS
selling food and drinks to raise money for people living with
HIV/AIDS. Sept 26, 11am--2pm, the old bowling club, 41
Alfred St, Milsons Point. All welcome. Prior to the event there
will be a Rainbow Umbrella walk across the Harbour Bridge.
For more details email RainbowUmbrellaWalk@yahoo.com.au
ALSO The Inaugural Australian Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, Intersex, Queer Multicultural Conference has
online registration available now. Hosted by the fabulous
Sue-Anne Post, guest speakers include Anton Enus, Happy
Ho, Rodney Croome, Somali Cerise, and others. Register
online now and save at www.also.org.au/agmc
NORTH SHORE HEALTH How are GLBTQI people treated in
hospitals and health centres on Sydney's North Shore?
Royal North Shore Hospital's HIV and sexual health team
and the University of New England are currently recruiting
GLBTQI people to take part in focus groups and one-on-one
interviews. All responses will be confidential. To take part in
the study call Paul McCann (02) 9385 4482.
To become involved in the fight for equal marriage rights visit
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