Box Turtle Bulletin

Box Turtle BulletinNews, analysis and fact-checking of anti-gay rhetoric
“Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife…”
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Posts for September, 2012

Tasmania Defeats Same-Sex Marriage Bill

Jim Burroway

September 28th, 2012

The first attempt at state-based marriage in Australia went down in defeat yesterday when the Legislative Council, Tasmania’s upper house, voted down a measure to provide marriage equality by a vote of  8-6, with one abstention in the 15-member chamber. The vote followed two days of debate. Premiere Lara Giddings vowed to keep the fight up:

“We will continue this. It’s not the end. It’s the beginning,” Ms Giddings said. “It took many times for us to get gay law reform through. It took many times and attempts to get anti-discrimination law reform through.”

Observers predicted that the bill would face its greatest difficulty in the Legislative Council after Tasmania’s lower house passed the measure 13-11. Uncommitted legislators fell back on Constitutional questions to vote against the bill:

Already struggling for numbers in the council, the Same Sex Marriage bill fell after key undeclared MPs raised constitutional doubts. Hobart independent, Jim Wilkinson, said he believed same sex law would continue to be argued. “But I believe it will come back in the Federal arena. In my mind that’s where it should be.”

Among backers of the bill, Devonport MP Mike Gaffney said he was not concerned that the bill might be legally challenged. “If the possibility of an invalid bill stopped us, very little reform would take place,” Mr Gaffney said.  “If we vote this bill down…the issue will not go away. Most importantly, the Australian community is alive to the issue of marriage equality.”

Marriage equality advocates take some consolation in how close they came. Tasmania was the last Australian state to decriminialize homosexuality in1997, and that took place only after the Federal government forced its hand.

Tasmania votes on marriage today

Timothy Kincaid

September 26th, 2012

The Tasmanian House approved a marriage bill last month, 13 votes to 11. The Senate has been debating the bill since yesterday and it is expected to reach a vote today. If it passes, Tasmania will be the first Australian state with marriage equality. However, questions still remain about its legality as marriage has traditionally been a federal issue.

Tasmania’s Lower House Passes Marriage Equality

Jim Burroway

August 30th, 2012

The ABC is reporting that Tasmania’s House of Assembly has approved a bill which will allow same-sex couples to marry. The 13-11 vote came after four hours of debate, with the Labor Speaker Michael Polley abandoning his party and the Greens to join 10 Liberals to oppose the measure. The debate itself was lopsided, with Greens MP Kim Booth, attacking Liberal Party members for remaining silent during the debate. The only Liberal to speak, Leader Will Hodgman, said only that the party was unified in opposing the measure while denying that party members were barred from a conscience vote.

The bill now goes to the Legislative Council, Tasmania’s upper house, for consideration in September. The ABC reports that the marriage equality bill “will have a harder path through the Upper House where some MPs are yet to declare their support.”

(Australians, as you know, speak a completely foreign language. Contrary to Americans’ usage of the term “liberal,” Australia’s Liberal Party derives its name from the early 1900′s understanding of economic liberalism, akin to other English speaking countries talking about “free markets.” The Liberal Party, economically and socially, is somewhat similar to the Republican Party in the U.S., although unlike the GOP, the Liberals haven’t purged their moderate wing to the same degree.)

Tasmanian marriage bill introduced

Timothy Kincaid

August 28th, 2012

From ABC’s Lateline:

Tasmania is a step closer to becoming the first state in Australia to legalise gay marriage.

The Premier, Lara Giddings, today tabled a marriage equality bill in State Parliament.

It is expected to pass the Lower House easily, but may have a devil of a time in the Upper House.

(While in American politics to “table” means to defer action on a bill until some future time, in Australia it means to bring it to the table for consideration).

Australian Expert’s Astonishing Claims About Gay Blood Donors

Timothy Kincaid

August 19th, 2008

When Michael Cain was denied the ability to donate blood to Australia’s supply because he had been in a same-sex relationship, he decided to sue. He is claiming that standards should rely upon whether the person engages in unsafe sex practices rather than on their orientation.

Arguing in opposition was Doctor Brenton Wiley

Doctor Brenton Wiley told Hobart’s anti-discrimination tribunal today that the incidence of HIV infection among gay men is more than 1,000 times higher than regular donors.

Well, it would seem that Dr. Wiley is either very poorly informed about the subject for which he is an expert witness or he cannot do simple math.

According to Avert, there were about 15,670 people living with HIV in Australia at the end of 2006, or about 0.078% of the population. If HIV infection were 1,000 higher it would mean that 79% of gay men in Australia have HIV.

Really, Dr. Wiley?

Well we also know that as of 2006 there were roughly 10,650 gay men living with HIV. If Dr. Wiley’s claims were true, Australia would have a total gay male population of 13,500.

Anyone who has seen the hundreds of thousands of revelers at Sydney’s Gay Pride parade alone would have to scoff at Dr. Wiley’s magical math.

The case is before Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Tribunal and UKgaynews reports

only 95 men who have sex with men in Tasmania have HIV, an estimated 0.5% of that group.

Tasmanian Introduces Marriage Bill

Timothy Kincaid

June 20th, 2008

In the Australian state of Tasmania, Green Party member Nick Mckim will introduce a bill to legalize gay marriage.

“This is about tolerance and it’s about respect and those are values that I believe most Tasmanians would share and if we’re fair dinkum about removing discrimination in this state we should give all Tasmanians access to the fundamental institutions of our society, including marriage,” he said.

This should come up against fierce opposition from the national government. The Rudd government favors a registry (similar to what Tasmania currently has) and wants consistency throughout the nation.

Marriage Rights Around the World

Timothy Kincaid

May 15th, 2008

The following countries offer some form of recognition to same-sex couples:

Marriage

Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa, United States (Massachusetts, California)

Civil Unions

New Zealand, Brazil (Rio Grande do Sul), Argentina (Buenos Aires, Rio Negro), Mexico (Coahuila), Uruguay, United States (Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, New Jersey)

Registered Partnership or Domestic Partnership

Denmark, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Finland, Luxembourg, , Slovenia, United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Italy (City of Padua), Switzerland, Hungary, Australia (Tasmania), United States (Maine, Washington, Oregon)

Other Methods of Limited Recognition

France (PACS), Germany (Life Partnership), Croatia (Law of Same-Sex Relationships), Andorra (Stable Union of a Couple), Mexico (Mexico City – PACS), Colombia (Common-law marriage inheritance rights), Israel (Limited recognition of foreign legal arrangements), United States (Hawaii – Reciprocal Benefits; New York – recognition of out-of-state legal marriages)

Although recognition is in a rapid state of change, this is my best understanding of the current rights provided. Several nations are in the process of adding or revising recognition.