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In March, same-sex marriage became legal in England and Wales.
Now, the same marriage equality laws have been extended to 24
countries, including Australia.
On June 27, the first same-sex couple tied the knot at the British
consulate in Sydney. Dual Australian/British citizens, Gordon
Stevenson and Peter Fraser were married at 3pm surrounded by a
small group of family friends.
Unlike the weddings that took place under the ACT Marriage
Equality Act 2013 that became invalid after the High Court ruling,
UK consulate marriages will be official and valid, but not recognised
on Australian soil.
To have a same-sex marriage at a British Consulate in Australia,
only one person needs to be British. However, couples that have had
a civil union will not be able to marry under UK law until the end
of their civil union.
Australian Marriage Equality national director, Rodney Croome,
says, “Same-sex marriages in British consulates will renew the marriage
equality debate by highlighting just how far Australia has fallen behind
other countries including our closest friends and allies.”
Many couples have booked in their wedding dates for UK
Consulates around Australia, allowing for many couples to invite their
friends and families to be part of their day and stay within Australia.
OLYMPIC SNOWBOARDER BELLE BROCKHOFF BECOMES A BEYONDBLUE AMBASSADOR
Taking a stand against discrimination, Olympic snowboarder Belle
Brockhoff has joined beyondblue as an Ambassador.
Belle Brockhoff came home with the best snowboard cross result
for Australia, finishing in eighth position at the Sochi Winter
Olympics this year.
As the only openly gay member of the Australian Olympic team
in Sochi, Belle spoke out against Russia’s anti-gay laws. By joining
beyondblue as an ambassador, the 21-year-old Olympic snowboarder
is encouraging anyone who may be having a tough time to speak up
and reach out for support.
“There is a lot of support out there from the people who care
about you and organisations like beyondblue,” says Belle, “you are
worthwhile and there is hope.”
Not only is Belle proud to be gay, she has also shared her story of
depression and anxiety, and of seeking support, in the hope of inspir-
ing others to reach out when they are struggling.
Belle said she first experienced the symptoms of depression and
anxiety when she was 16. Belle lacked confidence, felt unhappy most
days and began to self-harm.
“The doctor diagnosed me with depression and referred me to see
a psychiatrist, but I refused to do so because I felt that meant there
was something wrong with me. I didn’t know then just how com-
mon depression was, so I felt like a freak,” says Belle.
When Belle finally decided to see a psychologist she was able to
start to understand her thoughts and feelings. “Now when I’m down,
I try to surround myself with positive and happy people, or talk to
my mum and dad or my sister. I also find going for walks by myself
or hanging out with a good friend helps if I’m bummed about a
result during competitions,” says Belle.
Dr Brian Graetz, CEO of
beyondblue says “Belle’s story
sends a powerful message,
particularly to young LGBTI
people, that depression and
anxiety are common condi-
tions and having a mental
health issue is not a sign of
weakness. It takes courage
to accept that you need help
when you are struggling.”
The Greens have commended Opera Australia for terminating their
relationship with Georgian soprano, Tamar Iveri, after the singer posted
a homophobic rant on
her Facebook page.
The Opera Australia
bic comments were met
by hundreds of com-
ments posted on Opera
Australia’s Facebook page
calling for her dismissal.
spokesperson, Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said, “We are pleased to
see Opera Australia finally took a strong stance on this issue and had
the courage and integrity to terminate their contract with Mrs Iveri.”
Noting the difficult choice made by Opera Australia, Senator
Hanson-Young is pleased to see Mrs Iveri’s employers took the right
steps to end their relationship with her.
“ There is absolutely no room for homophobia in our society.
Mrs Iveri’s comments were inappropriate and showed a serious lack
of judgement and good character.”
“I am saddened to hear that incidents of homophobia are still hap-
pening today, but I’m glad they are not going unnoticed. I hope this
event will encourage and teach others to stand up for equality.”
OPERA AUSTRALIA STANDS UP AGAINST HOMOPHOBIA
FIRST UK SAME-SEX MARRIAGE IN AUSTRALIA
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