December 2nd, 2009
Yesterday I told you of the complicated steps, kicks and strides in the Argentine Marriage Tango. Now it appears that Australia, with its love of ballroom dance, has a marriage waltz all of its own.
I feel a bit like a celebrity guest judge on So You Think You Can Dance. I don’t know the steps or what comes next but I am caught up it the drama of the swirling movement and will wing my explanation.
The dance has a basic premise: some local governments, particularly that of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), wish to grant to their gay constituents marriage rights as similar to that of their straight constituents as possible. However, federal officials are determined to keep sharp distinctions between the orientations and to minimize and diminish same-sex couples and their relationships.
Most of the back-and-forth has less to do with rights or privileges (though that is important) and more to do with status, social approval, and ceremony. Conservatives seem to be taking the position that you can be a couple, but that is nothing to celebrate.
In November the ACT voted for the third time to pass a bill that allowed for legally binding ceremonies between same sex couples. And for the third time the federal government vowed to veto it. They declared that ceremonies cannot be allowed but instead a registry should be used, just like for fishing licenses or building permits. Of course the federal government hasn’t actually enacted such a registry, but they are quite determined to block any I Do’s or Til Death Do Us Part’s until they do.
But, in the meantime, one couple of 20 years, Warren McGaw and Chris Rumble, exchanged vows in the rose gardens of the Old Parliament House in Canberra.
The dance is more confusing in that it seems to involve uncertain partners. Greens nationwide support marriage, while Labor in Victoria Tasmania, and the ACT are battling against the Labor leadership over the issue. The Greens, though a minority in the federal government, in June introduced a bill in support of marriage itself.
“The Greens will be pursuing passage of the bill when parliament resumes in the New Year,” Hanson-Young said.
“The Australian public wants to debate this issue. They responded to the Senate inquiry into the bill in record numbers and latest polling shows 60 per cent support for equal marriage.
“We urge the Prime Minister to bring this debate on, and to allow his party a conscience vote.”
When the bill was rejected by the Senate last Friday led to protest in the street.
Australian Marriage Equality spokesman Alex Greenwich said strong attendances by more than 2,000 people at rallies in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, ACT, Adelaide and Lismore on Saturday to launch a national year of action showed positive community support.
But lets circle back to civil unions in the ACT. The Commonwealth seems to have found a compromise.
The Commonwealth’s proposed amendment would create an additional step in the process, requiring couples who choose to have a ceremony to first notify the registrar-general of the ACT Office of Regulatory Services with at least five days’ notice of their intention to hold a ceremony.
The union will be legally created by the couple’s declaration in front of a legally-authorised celebrant. Federal Attorney-General Robert McClelland told Chief Minister Jon Stanhope earlier this week that the Commonwealth would overturn the recently-passed laws unless the ACT agreed to its amendments.
”This is an important reform,” Mr Corbell said yesterday.
”This locks in the role of ceremonies for same-sex couples and maintains the legal effect, and it also maintains the role for a legally-authorised official to conduct those ceremonies.”
However, so far this isn’t pleasing anti-gays…
Jim Wallace from the Australian Christian Lobby says that mimics marriage and the Rudd Labor Government has betrayed Christians who voted for it.
“Once you cross this line you’ve opened the door to completely devaluing marriage,” he said.
“This will lead to other ways of mimicking it. We’ll have demands for polygamists marriages.”
…or the Greens.
Greens MLA Shane Rattenbury says he is yet to be convinced.
“It’s so much splitting hairs that people are saying why don’t we stick with the original bill – the original bill that the Greens put up is a good one,” he said.
He says there is no justification to change the laws.
“At this stage we’re not inclined to accept these amendments because there is no clear reason why we need to make them.
“Nobody has articulated what the problem is with the legislation, they’ve just said here’s a fix that we need for it.
“Our view is if it’s not broken you don’t need to fix it.”
The Greens appear to be taking a risk. If they refuse the administrative change, will the government dare veto the whole thing. If at the end of the dance they fling themselves backwards, will Rudd catch them or dare to let them hit the floor?
In this original BTB Investigation, we unveil the tragic story of Kirk Murphy, a four-year-old boy who was treated for “cross-gender disturbance” in 1970 by a young grad student by the name of George Rekers. This story is a stark reminder that there are severe and damaging consequences when therapists try to ensure that boys will be boys.
When we first reported on three American anti-gay activists traveling to Kampala for a three-day conference, we had no idea that it would be the first report of a long string of events leading to a proposal to institute the death penalty for LGBT people. But that is exactly what happened. In this report, we review our collection of more than 500 posts to tell the story of one nation’s embrace of hatred toward gay people. This report will be updated continuously as events continue to unfold. Check here for the latest updates.
In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that “[Paul] Cameron’s ‘science’ echoes Nazi Germany.” What the SPLC didn”t know was Cameron doesn’t just “echo” Nazi Germany. He quoted extensively from one of the Final Solution’s architects. This puts his fascination with quarantines, mandatory tattoos, and extermination being a “plausible idea” in a whole new and deeply disturbing light.
On February 10, I attended an all-day “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in Phoenix, put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus International. In this series of reports, I talk about what I learned there: the people who go to these conferences, the things that they hear, and what this all means for them, their families and for the rest of us.
Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"
Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!
And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.
Anti-gay activists often charge that gay men and women pose a threat to children. In this report, we explore the supposed connection between homosexuality and child sexual abuse, the conclusions reached by the most knowledgeable professionals in the field, and how anti-gay activists continue to ignore their findings. This has tremendous consequences, not just for gay men and women, but more importantly for the safety of all our children.
Anti-gay activists often cite the “Dutch Study” to claim that gay unions last only about 1½ years and that the these men have an average of eight additional partners per year outside of their steady relationship. In this report, we will take you step by step into the study to see whether the claims are true.
Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council submitted an Amicus Brief to the Maryland Court of Appeals as that court prepared to consider the issue of gay marriage. We examine just one small section of that brief to reveal the junk science and fraudulent claims of the Family “Research” Council.
The FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics aren’t as complete as they ought to be, and their report for 2004 was no exception. In fact, their most recent report has quite a few glaring holes. Holes big enough for Daniel Fetty to fall through.