Archive for the ‘Gay Marriage’ Category

How Aussie Gay Marriage Debate Moved to Mailboxes: QuickTake Q&A – Bloomberg

Hold your celebration.

A majority of Australians, including Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, support changing the law to allow same-sex marriage. Yet while neighboring New Zealand and other English-speaking nations have legalized such unions, it remains a divisive political issue Down Under. With Turnbulls governing coalition at loggerheads and his authority on the line, the government plans to hold a nationwide postal vote to help decide the way ahead. Marriage equality advocates say that could unleash a tide of bigotry, while Turnbulls refusal to campaign on the issue is raising fresh questions about what he stands for.

It is indeed. The largest city, Sydney, hosts one of the worlds biggest Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parades and is known as the San Francisco of the Southern Hemisphere for its large gay community. But while the U.S., the U.K, Canada and New Zealand now allow same-sex unions, Australia remains a laggard.

Far from it — a poll last year showed 64 percent of respondents backed changing the law, with only 26 percent against. Major companies such as Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Qantas Airways Ltd. have also been vocal in their support. And the number of same-sex couples is rising, about 46,800 in the 2016 census, up 39 percent from 2011

Because the ruling center-right Liberal Party is split between social progressives like Turnbull, and conservatives like his predecessor Tony Abbott. When Turnbull seized the leadership two years ago, he needed to keep conservatives on-side so retained Abbotts policy on same-sex marriage. That was allowing Australian voters to make the final decision through a mandatory public vote, known as a plebiscite. But that path has been blocked in the Senate twice, so he needs to find another way to break the deadlock.

A voluntary postal vote, conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, will now be held, with polling closing on Nov. 15. Should opinion polls be replicated and the majority back same-sex unions, Turnbull says he will tell his lawmakers to support a marriage equality bill and the legislation could be approved by the end of the year.

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Not so fast. Some gay-rights lobbyists hate the idea of a public vote, saying it will unleash a tide of bigotry against a vulnerable part of the community; they have vowed to try to stop the process in the courts. Some say the idea of a postal vote, costing taxpayers A$122 million ($97 million) and conducted by a bureau that was criticized for its handling of a problem-plagued national census last year, is outdated in the internet era. They fear older, more conservative Aussies who back the status quo will be more likely to vote than younger generations. And even if a pro-gay marriage result is returned, Turnbull cant compel his lawmakers to respect the result — indeed some are already indicating they wont.

He says no. The prime minister says the issue isnt of major concern to average Australians, who are more focused on economic growth and national security. Meanwhile Abbott, who remains a thorn in Turnbulls side on the backbenches, is urging Australians to vote against same-sex marriage, saying it would undermine religious freedoms.

Since becoming prime minister, Turnbull, 62, has disappointed many Australians by not taking a more progressive approach on issues hed previously championed — such as tough action on climate change and leading Australia to become a republic. His leadership and political judgment have been questioned since he triggered an early election last year, which he subsequently won by a single seat — a margin now in doubt due to eligibility concerns over Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce. Conflict in the party over marriage equality has the potential to further undermine his authority and some question whether he can survive to lead the government to elections due in 2019. That could see a return to the political chaos that resulted in Australia churning through five prime ministers in the past decade, bringing with it crippling policy inertia. Meanwhile, theres a chance Australias gay and lesbian community will be forced to wait a lot longer for the equality it craves.

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How Aussie Gay Marriage Debate Moved to Mailboxes: QuickTake Q&A – Bloomberg

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August 21, 2017   Posted in: Gay Marriage  Comments Closed

Australia to say ‘Yes’ to gay marriage, Newspoll shows – NEWS.com.au

Ian Thorpe and his partner Ryan Channing are calling for people to enrol to vote so they can support the same-sex marriage plebiscite.

Ian Thorpe and his partner Ryan Channing in their ad, asking for Australia’s to enrol before the postal plebiscite. Picture: Supplied

IAN Thorpe and his partner Ryan Channing have released a new video urging Australians to vote in next months postal plebiscite on whether to legalise gay marriage.

The Olympic swimming champ is making a last-ditch effort to get Australians to update their electoral roll details before the list is finalised this Thursday ahead of the postal ballot.

In the video, he challenges Channing to swim 100m in the time it takes to update his details online.

If you support marriage equality you need to enrol to vote or update your details by midnight August 24, Thorpe says.

Ian Thorpe and his partner Ryan Channing in their video asking for Australia’s to enrol before the postal plebiscite. Picture: SuppliedSource:Supplied

Thorpe, who signed on as an Equality Campaign Ambassador earlier this month, has lobbied for gay marriage since coming out in 2014.

After the pair prove it takes less than a minute to update your enrolment details online, Channing says: Every Australian should have the right to take the plunge with the person they love.

More than 215,800 Australians have updated their details and more than 16,990 people have been added to the roll in just a week since the postal vote was announced, the Australian Electoral Commission confirmed last week.

You can watch the video above.

Ian Thorpe and his partner Ryan Channing in their marriage equality video. Picture: SuppliedSource:Supplied

ABBOTTS FEUD WITH HIS SISTER

THE Abbott family feud has flared again after Tony Abbott claimed legalising gay marriage would be a big leap into the dark for Australia.

Mr Abbotts sister Christine Forster hit back at his remarks, saying they were trying to instil fear and obfuscate the issue.

It comes as a new poll shows most Australians will vote Yes in the upcoming postal plebiscite.

This isnt just about marriage, Mr Abbott told Sydney radio 2GB this morning.

Sure, marriage is the immediate focus but there are lots and lots of implications here and weve got to think them through before we take this big leap into what I think is the dark, he said.

Gay marriage will be a big leap into the dark for Australia, Tony Abbott has warned. Picture: AAPSource:AAP

Mr Abbott said religious schools in Britain and Canada had been impacted, along with Catholic adoption agencies, by gay marriage being legalised.

He also warned curriculum programs such as Safe Schools would follow if same-sex marriage was introduced here.

I really hope every single Australian, particularly people who are concerned about where our country is going, has their say, Mr Abbott told 2GB.

And the best way of standing up for traditional values, the best way of saying that you dont like the direction our country is heading in right now is to get that ballot paper out and vote No.

Ms Forster took to social media shortly after the interview to slam her brothers comments.

Those trying to link the vote on same-sex marriage with religious freedom are simply seeking to obfuscate and instil fear, she said.

Nothing will come in its wake except a lot of people who love each other will get married.

Liberal MP Tim Wilson said religious freedoms would be considered by the parliament after the vote.

A vote for Yes is a vote for the Parliament to then properly consider these issues, balancing out the need for same-sex couples to be able to access civil marriage while also making sure that we protecting religious liberty, he told Sky News.

Voting No would handball the issue to Labor and the Greens, he said.

The former prime ministers warning was somewhat backed by the special Newspoll today, which also showed a majority of Australians wanted parliament to legislate to protect religious freedoms if same-sex marriage was made legal.

The poll, conducted for The Australian less than a month out from the postal plebiscite, shows 63 per cent of Australians are planning to vote Yes.

It also shows 67 per cent of Australians are definitely going to vote, putting to rest fears a low response to the plebiscite could jeopardise the result.

A further 15 per cent of respondents said they probably would vote in the poll.

The poll showed most Australians (62 per cent) wanted parliament to include protections for religious freedoms in any legislation to legalise same-sex marriage.

Lobby groups, MPs and church leaders urging Australians to vote No in the upcoming plebiscite have made this central to their campaign.

Christine Forster and Tony Abbott are in a family feud over gay marriage.Source:Supplied

The Newspoll showed there was strong support for same-sex marriage across the political spectrum however, with 55 per cent of Liberal voters, 75 per cent of Labor voters and 82 per cent of Greens voters saying they would back the change.

Australians have until Thursday to update their electoral details to receive a ballot for the postal plebiscite.

The postal plebiscite, to be run by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, must also be ruled legal by the High Court before ballots can be sent out on September 12.

BIG BUSINESS STAYING OUT OF THE CAMPAIGN

Corporate Australia will not be actively joining the Yes campaign in the lead up to next months postal plebiscite.

Most major companies that have publicly called for same-sex marriage in the past will be staying out of the fight and will not support the Yes campaign financially or with advertising.

Aside from adding their brand to the list of supporters in the past, many major companies will simply be encouraging Australians to have their say.

The heads of ANZ, Optus, Holden, Deloitte Access Economics, Football Federation Australia, Telstra and REA were among more than two dozen major corporations to write to the Prime Minister in March urging the Australian Parliament to introduce same-sex marriage as soon as possible.

The companies have confirmed to NewsCorp over the past week that they will not be actively lobbying for either side.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce is urging businesses to campaign for same-sex marriage. Picture: AAPSource:AAP

Deloitte will encourage all its staff to participate in the postal survey but in respecting views across the firm I wont be telling our people how they should vote, Deloitte chief executive Cindy Hook said.

I signed the letter in March in my personal capacity and my personal view is to support the Yes campaign, she said.

A Holden spokesman said: While not financially active in this particular campaign, Holden has been a public supporter of marriage equality for some time now.

Its important that Australians have the opportunity to have their say on this issue.

An Optus spokesman said: Optus supports diversity, inclusion and choice. The issue of the proposed postal plebiscite is a matter for individuals.

A Telstra spokesman said: Telstra has long advocated and often pioneered the fostering of a more supportive, diverse workplace. As a supporter of marriage equality, we continue to show our support of diversity, inclusion and equality, while recognising and respecting the right of the individual to hold their own view on this issue.

Deloitte chief executive Cindy Hook says she supports same-sex marriage but wont be telling people how they should vote. Picture: John Feder/The Australian.Source:News Corp Australia

Qantas did not respond to News Corps query on whether it would back the campaign financially or with advertising but chief executive Alan Joyce said today he would personally be backing the Yes campaign.

Mr Joyce urged other businesses to do the same.

There are 1300 companies that have published their logo to support marriage equality including all the banks, all the airlines and I believe that those companies should go out there and support it, Mr Joyce said.

They have given their logos and support to that campaign before and I have no doubt a large element of the business community will be out there supporting this campaign.

Mr Joyce said he was disappointed the government turned to a postal ballot rather than just decide the issue in parliament.

I believe we have to get behind it and make sure that we have a Yes vote and certainly I will be out there strongly campaigning for a Yes vote, he said.

I think it is very important for our employees, for our customers and for our shareholders and that is why Qantas is a supporter of marriage equality, why were a supporter of gender equality and why were a supporter of indigenous rights.

We believe these social issues are very important of all of our stakeholders and are very important for this country and we will be active out there and supporting a yes vote.

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Australia to say ‘Yes’ to gay marriage, Newspoll shows – NEWS.com.au

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August 21, 2017   Posted in: Gay Marriage  Comments Closed

Australias gay marriage debate goes to the vote | Asia | DW … – Deutsche Welle

Australia is one of the least religious nations in the anglo-speaking world, less so than Catholic Ireland or the United States, which both allow same-sex marriage. Results of a 2016 census, made public only recently, have shown that “No Religion” is now the leading religion. So how does an irreligious nation home to the Sydney Mardi Gras, and one that polls suggest is broadly in favor of same sex marriage, tie itself in such knots?

This non-binding vote on whether or not to allow same-sex marriage means that Parliament will not necessarily have to pass it into law. It may still vote on it afterwards. Unusually for Australia, voting will not be compulsory and the vote will be run by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, not the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC).

Peter Brent, a research fellow at Melbourne’s Swinburne Institute for Social Research who writes on Australian politics, told DW that he saw it as “a malfunction in the political class, on the Labor side in particular… A plebiscite on same-sex marriage is unnecessary. It was something that Tony Abbott came up with to save his [leadership].” Though then-Prime Minister John Howard changed the words of the Marriage Act in 2004 to include ‘man’ and ‘woman’ Labor had six years in government to bring same-sex marriage into law.

Read more:Australia scuttles gay marriage referendum

A non-binding vote – with repercussions

Catholic and conservative former Prime Minister Tony Abbott has long resisted same-sex marriage and put the idea of a plebiscite out to avoid a conscience vote in Parliament.

The issue of legalizing gay marriage in Australia has triggered plenty of controversy

Meanwhile, within the Liberal Party there is a distinct shift towardfavoring same-sex marriage. Tim Wilson is one such proponent. The openly gay MP from Melbourne has long argued for same-sex marriage. “The decision has been difficult to resolve because while Australians aren’t religiously conservative, but they are culturally conservative… Ultimately once the public was given the choice of having a public vote to resolve the issue people both frustrated by a failure to resolve it, and those opposed, have supported this pathway,” he told DW.

One worry is that as the rules governing an AEC-run vote don’t apply hate speech and divisive ‘no’ campaigns might proliferate and have adamaging influence on young people. A study by the University of Queensland and the University of York found that only 23 percent of participants in Ireland’s 2015 gay marriage vote would want to go through the process again.

The Australian Christian Lobby has called the children of gay parents the new ‘stolen generation,’ a reference to the generation of Indigenous children removed from their families and put into orphanages. Senator Penny Wong, a lesbian and Leader of the opposition in the Senate, gave a speech last week saying, “We love our children… It is (not unifying) exposing our children to that kind of hatred.”

Different culture, different views

Wong in 2008 stood by her government’s stance that the traditional concept of marriage would not be changed. “On the issue of marriage, I think the reality is there is a cultural, religious and historical view around that which we have to respect,” she said then. She, and Labor, now fully support the yes vote.

Read more:Australia’s Labor Party rejects plebiscite on gay marriage, pushes for vote in parliament

In May Australian tennis superstar and grand slam winner Margaret Court spoke against same-sex marriage, a position the evangelical Christian and founder of the Victory Life Center in Perth, has long held. Many swiftly suggested the tennis court named after her in Melbourne, home of the Australian Open, be renamed. The speed of her censure was remarkable. She wrote only last week in a newspaper letter, “let us vote no to gay marriage for the sake of Australia, our children and our children’s children.”

Read more:Navratilova calls for Margaret Court Arena to be renamed

Connections Nightclub, in Perth’s busy Northbridge, is the Southern Hemisphere’s longest running gay club.

Michael Edwards, a Perth hairdresser and founder of the Facebook group Lost Gay Perth says he’s “really fed up” with the gay marriage debate and just wants the government to get on with it. “Either way we just want to know.” However, after coming out some 30 years ago he’s less worried about the effects of possible hate speech.

Toughing it out

“I’ve gotta tell you, we’re a tough lot. We’ve heard it all before, we’re resilient and we keep going.” Younger people, who’ve grown up a different way, may feel differently, he says. “They’ll hear things that are detrimental to their view of themselves.”

Tim Wilson, a proponent of free speech who has been behind the scrapping of one section of Australia’s Racial Discrimination Act, urges caution. “I think we have to be careful what we call hate speech. Hurtful things are said by people who should know better… Hurtful things will be said before and after a change in the law.”

The question is now, barring a successful challenge in the High Court to block the vote, what answer the postal vote will yield. Brent believes that though voters would vote ‘yes’ in a random survey tomorrow, results would be different in a drawn out vote. “These things can become, in the minds of many voters, about something other than the question at hand… a chance to give the government of the day a bloody nose.”

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Australias gay marriage debate goes to the vote | Asia | DW … – Deutsche Welle

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August 20, 2017   Posted in: Gay Marriage  Comments Closed

Married Sunday, fired Monday: Churches threaten to dismiss staff who wed same-sex partners – The Sydney Morning Herald

Australia’s Catholic church isthreatening to fire teachers, nurses and other employees who marry their same-sex partnerif gay marriage is legalised, in a dramatic move led by the country’s most senior Catholic.

Archbishop of Melbourne Denis Hart, speaking exclusively to Fairfax Media, pointedly warnedthe church’s 180,000 employees they were expected to uphold its teachings “totally”, and defiance would be treated “very seriously”.

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A Liberal MP has challenged Christian MPs to devote as much time and energy to getting refugees off Manus Island and Nauru than they do to opposing same sex marriage.

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A seven-year-old Sydney boy was one of 13 people killed in last week’s terrorist attack at Las Ramblas in central Barcelona. Vision: Seven News

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Police have put out a call for any information relating to the murder of Melbourne grandmother Jeanette Moss, as they continue to search for the 69-year-old’s killer.

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The father of an Australian boy missing since the terrorist attack in Spain has touched down in Barcelona.

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One Australian is unaccounted for and seven others injured after a van mowed people down in a popular Barcelona tourist spot, killing more than a dozen people and injuring about 100 more.

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Schools are divided over a proposed reading test that could soon be asking Grade 1 students to pronounce made-up words as part of a new phonics test.

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Three world champion skippers from Brisbane are attempting to break the world record at double-dutch.

A Liberal MP has challenged Christian MPs to devote as much time and energy to getting refugees off Manus Island and Nauru than they do to opposing same sex marriage.

“I would be very emphatic that our schools, our parishes exist to teach a Catholic view of marriage,” hesaid.”Any words or actions which workcontrary to that would be viewed very seriously.

“Our teachers, our parish employees are expected totally to uphold the Catholic faith and what we believe about marriage.Peoplehave to see in words and inexample that our teaching of marriage is underlined.

“We shouldn’t be slipping on that,” said Archbishop Hart, who also chairs the powerfulAustralian Catholic Bishops Conference. He said individual hiring and firing decisions “are best dealt with on the local scene”.

Archbishop Hart was backed up by Archbishop TimothyCostelloe, chair of theBishops Commission for Catholic Education, who cautioned teachersagainst “undermining” their schools’ values if same-sex marriage becamelaw.

ArchbishopCostelloesaid parents who sent their children to a Catholic school wanted them educated within a Catholic framework, of which marriage was a vital part.

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“In accepting a role in a Catholic school, staff will recognise their responsibility to conduct themselves in such a way as not to undermine the fundamental ethos of the school,” he told Fairfax Media.

“Like all other employers, the Catholic Church should be able to ensure its values are upheld by those who choose to work for the organisation.”

The Anglican Church, while declining to comment directly on employees, also emphasised the importance of protecting religious freedom and warned safeguards had “quickly unravelled” overseas.

Under Australia’s anti-discrimination laws, churches already enjoy wide-ranging exemptions allowing them to hire and fire on the basis of sexual orientation, marital status and other characteristics.

While LGBTIemployees are often tolerated by church employers, a same-sex wedding may be considered a public denunciation of church teachings on marriage.

Father Frank Brennan, chief executive of Catholic Social Services Australia, this week defended the ability for church schools to refuse employment to a same-sex attracted person, and for aged care facilities to reject a married gay couple.

Writing in The Guardian, he indicated he could vote “yes” in the upcoming postal survey, but wanted the church’s right to discriminate maintained.

However, Catholic Health Australia, the country’s largest non-government, non-profit health group, distanced itself from those threats.

Chief executive Suzanne Greenwood told Fairfax Media she would not expect doctors and nurses to adhere so strictly to the church’s teachings, though conceded it may be different for teachers.

“We’re not converting people toCatholicism,” she said. “It’s not really relevant tothe jobs people are performing within the care environment at a hospital or an aged care facility.

“It’s not like people are currently screened [for sexuality or marital status]. I would see absolutely no reason why that would change.”

Religious organisations have had exemptions to the Sex Discrimination Act since its inception in 1984. Human Rights Commissioner Ed Santow backed the act and said any attempt to legalise same-sex marriage would need to maintain those exemptions.

“It’s a matter for each religious organisation how far they want totake that exemption,” Mr Santow said. “Most religious organisations are very careful and respectful of the diversity of our community.”

According to a 2015 paper by the Australian Catholic Council for Employment Relations, more than 180,000 Australians work for the Catholic church in some respect -about 2 per cent of the workforce.

Bishop Michael Stead, chairman of the Anglican Diocese of Sydney’s Religious Freedom Reference Group, declined to answer directly whether the Anglican Church would seek to dismiss employees.

In a statement, he called forthe maintenance of current exemptions to anti-discrimination law, and said attemptsto legislate same-sex marriage in Australia so far were”manifestly deficient” in protecting civil and religious freedoms.

“The experience in countries where marriage has been redefined has been a quick and steady erosion of freedom of speech, conscience and belief,” Bishop Stead said.

“The fact that promised safeguards for freedom of religion have quickly unravelled overseas should serve as a warning to Australians.”

The US has seen a number of high-profile cases of employees being fired after wedding a same-sex partner, and the scenario was dramatised in the 2014 Ira Sachs film Love Is Strange.

In June, former parish music director Colin Collette lost a lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Chicagoafter he was fired upon becoming engaged to his male partner.

Lyle Shelton, managing director of the Australian Christian Lobby and one of the leading public campaigners for the “no” side, also defended the power of Christian organisations to dismiss staff who married a same-sex partner.

“Religious organisations should have the same freedoms as political parties to ensure that staff share their ethos,” he said.

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Married Sunday, fired Monday: Churches threaten to dismiss staff who wed same-sex partners – The Sydney Morning Herald

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August 20, 2017   Posted in: Gay Marriage  Comments Closed

Australia’s gay marriage debate goes postal – Deutsche Welle

Australia is one of the least religious nations in the anglo-speaking world, less so than Catholic Ireland or the United States, which both allow same-sex marriage. Results of a 2016 census, made public only recently, have shown that “No Religion” is now the leading religion. So how does an irreligious nation home to the Sydney Mardi Gras, and one that polls suggest is broadly in favor of same sex marriage, tie itself in such knots?

This non-binding vote on whether or not to allow same-sex marriage means that Parliament will not necessarily have to pass it into law. It may still vote on it afterwards. Unusually for Australia, voting will not be compulsory and the vote will be run by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, not the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC).

Peter Brent, a research fellow at Melbourne’s Swinburne Institute for Social Research who writes on Australian politics, told DW that he saw it as “a malfunction in the political class, on the Labor side in particular… A plebiscite on same-sex marriage is unnecessary. It was something that Tony Abbott came up with to save his [leadership].” Though then-Prime Minister John Howard changed the words of the Marriage Act in 2004 to include ‘man’ and ‘woman’ Labor had six years in government to bring same-sex marriage into law.

Read more:Australia scuttles gay marriage referendum

A non-binding vote – with repercussions

Catholic and conservative former Prime Minister Tony Abbott has long resisted same-sex marriage and put the idea of a plebiscite out to avoid a conscience vote in Parliament.

The issue of legalizing gay marriage in Australia has triggered plenty of controversy

Meanwhile, within the Liberal Party there is a distinct shift towardfavoring same-sex marriage. Tim Wilson is one such proponent. The openly gay MP from Melbourne has long argued for same-sex marriage. “The decision has been difficult to resolve because while Australians aren’t religiously conservative, but they are culturally conservative… Ultimately once the public was given the choice of having a public vote to resolve the issue people both frustrated by a failure to resolve it, and those opposed, have supported this pathway,” he told DW.

One worry is that as the rules governing an AEC-run vote don’t apply hate speech and divisive ‘no’ campaigns might proliferate and have adamaging influence on young people. A study by the University of Queensland and the University of York found that only 23 percent of participants in Ireland’s 2015 gay marriage vote would want to go through the process again.

The Australian Christian Lobby has called the children of gay parents the new ‘stolen generation,’ a reference to the generation of Indigenous children removed from their families and put into orphanages. Senator Penny Wong, a lesbian and Leader of the opposition in the Senate, gave a speech last week saying, “We love our children… It is (not unifying) exposing our children to that kind of hatred.”

Different culture, different views

Wong in 2008 stood by her government’s stance that the traditional concept of marriage would not be changed. “On the issue of marriage, I think the reality is there is a cultural, religious and historical view around that which we have to respect,” she said then. She, and Labor, now fully support the yes vote.

Read more:Australia’s Labor Party rejects plebiscite on gay marriage, pushes for vote in parliament

In May Australian tennis superstar and grand slam winner Margaret Court spoke against same-sex marriage, a position the evangelical Christian and founder of the Victory Life Center in Perth, has long held. Many swiftly suggested the tennis court named after her in Melbourne, home of the Australian Open, be renamed. The speed of her censure was remarkable. She wrote only last week in a newspaper letter, “let us vote no to gay marriage for the sake of Australia, our children and our children’s children.”

Read more:Navratilova calls for Margaret Court Arena to be renamed

Connections Nightclub, in Perth’s busy Northbridge, is the Southern Hemisphere’s longest running gay club.

Michael Edwards, a Perth hairdresser and founder of the Facebook group Lost Gay Perth says he’s “really fed up” with the gay marriage debate and just wants the government to get on with it. “Either way we just want to know.” However, after coming out some 30 years ago he’s less worried about the effects of possible hate speech.

Toughing it out

“I’ve gotta tell you, we’re a tough lot. We’ve heard it all before, we’re resilient and we keep going.” Younger people, who’ve grown up a different way, may feel differently, he says. “They’ll hear things that are detrimental to their view of themselves.”

Tim Wilson, a proponent of free speech who has been behind the scrapping of one section of Australia’s Racial Discrimination Act, urges caution. “I think we have to be careful what we call hate speech. Hurtful things are said by people who should know better… Hurtful things will be said before and after a change in the law.”

The question is now, barring a successful challenge in the High Court to block the vote, what answer the postal vote will yield. Brent believes that though voters would vote ‘yes’ in a random survey tomorrow, results would be different in a drawn out vote. “These things can become, in the minds of many voters, about something other than the question at hand… a chance to give the government of the day a bloody nose.”

See the rest here:

Australia’s gay marriage debate goes postal – Deutsche Welle

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August 19, 2017   Posted in: Gay Marriage  Comments Closed

Australia’s anti-gay marriage campaign: It’s Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve – PinkNews

Well that took all of about a week.

Earlier this month, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull vowed to push ahead with a public vote on same-sex marriage without permission from Parliament.

He ignored warnings from the opposition and from LGBT campaigners that a public vote on the issue would stir up homophobic sentiment, insisting the vote would be civilised.

But just days after campaigning began to gear up ahead of the postal vote, the anti-gay marriage side have already resorted to trotting out some of the most tired and reductive homophobic stereotypes.

In a press release New South Wales MP Fred Nile, the leader of the Christian Democratic Party and a key member of the Coalition for Marriage, took the opportunity to attack the countrys gay community.

He bragged about making a ferocious attack on same sex homosexual so-called marriage, describing gay sex as an abomination.

He wrote: The Almighty God the Creator has stated homosexual Same-Sex sexual relations are an ABOMINATION that is something Gods [sic] hates. Can anyone vote for it?

An anti-gay pamphlet produced by Nile and republished by Buzzfeed, titled Family World News, proclaims IN THE BEGINNING ALMIGHTY GOD CREATED ADAM AND EVE NOT ADAM AND STEVE!

The pamphlet features contributions from other key members of the Coalition for Marriage including Senator Eric Abetz, the former Leader of the Government in the Senate, and Lyle Shelton of Australian Christian Lobby.

In his column, Abetz claims: Make no mistake the push by some to change marriage from a man/woman institution is destructive for our society.

Study after study (if needed) supports our natural intuition that children are safer and prosper the most having the security of knowing their biological parents and the diversity of male and female role models in a marriage relationship.

No matter how hard and genuinely two men or two women may try, they will not be able (all things being equal) to provide the benefit that a man and woman combination in marriage can bring to a child.

To deny this is to deny the fundamental difference between the sexes. Scientists tell us our chromosomal structures have thousands of differences.

Abetz added: It is a matter of regret so many others cant see through the glibness of love is love and marriage equality.

If these glib meaningless phrases are to be given any genuine meaning, then love is love in all situations and marriage equality should be open to all as the Greens assert. If this is the standard then who is to judge the quality/type/validity of any love within families, with more than just one other, or indeed why not the Eiffel Tower?

Shelton added: While it may make rainbow activists feel uncomfortable, the demand for marriage equality must be considered in the light of the inequality it creates for others, particularly children who will be forced to live a motherless or fatherless existence.

And this, not because of tragedy or desertion, but because public policy decreed it so.Activists are yet to explain the ethics of deliberately requiring a child to miss out on knowing the love of both a mum and a dad.

Opposition leader Bill Shorten told the PM: I hold you responsible for every hurtful bit of filth that this debate will unleash not because the Prime Minister has said it, not because he agrees to it, he clearly doesnt. But because the Prime Minister has licensed this debate.

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Australia’s anti-gay marriage campaign: It’s Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve – PinkNews

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Catholic Archbishop encourages ‘no vote’ – Perth Now

THE leader of Perths Catholic community has intervened in the gay marriage debate, calling on West Australians to make sure they are enrolled so they can vote against any change.

In a long letter to be distributed at Mass in the Perth diocese this weekend, Archbishop Timothy Costelloe also says that just because someone is opposed to gay marriage, they should not be labelled homophobic.

It is unworthy to suggest that those who argue against the proposed redefinition of marriage are homophobic or some way lacking in intellectual depth, he wrote.

It is unfair to suggest that they are trying to force their views on others. It is cruel to claim that such people are devoid of love, compassion or understanding of those in same-sex relationships.

Significantly, Archbishop Costelloe tells WAs 530,000 Catholics the Church should be able to lead debate on controversial issues.

That our convictions are based on these foundational beliefs should not be a surprise to anyone we are a religious organisation, he says.

Nor should the religious foundations of our convictions disqualify us from engagement in the public discussion on these important matters.

The Archbishop argues society would be best served by retaining the traditional understanding of marriage, between a man and a woman and says he sincerely hopes Catholics ensure they are registered to make their vote count in the November postal plebiscite.

In affirming this longstanding position it is important to remember that it is based on our convictions about the beauty and dignity of marriage understood as a union of a man and woman for life, and as the best way to provide for the upbringing of children, Archbishop Costelloe wrote.

In arguing marriage between a man and a woman is best for children, he concedes this ideal is not always realised in practice, and that many children are raised in loving environments after a marriage has failed.

But the fact that this ideal is often not realised in practice does not make the ideal any less worth striving for, he says.

The Federal Government announced it would hold a non-compulsory postal plebiscite on whether to make gay marriage legal after a group of rebel Liberals led by WAs Dean Smith threatened to introduce a private members Bill in an attempt to force change.

The plebiscite will cost taxpayers $122 million and MPs across Parliament have signalled their right to ignore the outcome.

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Catholic Archbishop encourages ‘no vote’ – Perth Now

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Northern Ireland court rules gay marriage ban doesn’t violate rights – Reuters

BELFAST (Reuters) – Northern Ireland’s refusal to recognize same-sex marriage does not violate the rights of couples affected, the Belfast High Court ruled on Thursday, in a blow to campaigners in the only part of the United Kingdom that bans gay marriage.

The case was brought by three same-sex couples, backed by campaigners who are trying to pressure the region’s largest party, the socially conservative Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), to reverse its veto on same-sex marriage.

The judge, Justice O’Hara, said the refusal to allow same- sex marriages in Northern Ireland was not a contravention of human rights “because that right does not exist.”

O’Hara said it was up to Northern Ireland’s devolved government to decide on the issue and that a ban on gay marriage did not violate international human rights standards.

He said the European Court of Human rights had ruled that the right to gay marriage was not a right under the European Convention on Human Rights.

“It is not difficult to understand how gay men and lesbians, who have suffered discrimination, rejection and exclusion, feel so strongly about the maintenance in Northern Ireland of the barrier to same sex marriage,” he said.

“However, the judgment which I have to reach is not based on social policy but on law.”

The ruling applied to two cases, the first brought by the first female couple and first male couple to have their civil partnership recognized in Northern Ireland: Shannon Sickles and Grainne Close and Christopher and Henry Flanagan-Kane.

In a second case – known as Petition X – a male couple that married in England in 2014 was challenging the downgrading of their relationship to a civil partnership when they moved to Northern Ireland.

The DUP, whose 10 seats in the British parliament prop up the government of Prime Minister Theresa May, have repeatedly vetoed gay marriage despite opinion polls that indicate it is supported by a significant majority in Northern Ireland.

Earlier this month Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar visited a gay rights event in Belfast and said the legalization of same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland was just a matter of time.

The couples did not speak to the media after the ruling, but Gavin Boyd of gay rights group The Rainbow Project said they were disappointed and would consider whether to appeal.

“This is now a matter for the politicians, the [Northern Ireland] Assembly or Theresa May,” Boyd said.

Writing by Conor Humphries and Ian Graham; Editing by Robin Pomeroy

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Northern Ireland court rules gay marriage ban doesn’t violate rights – Reuters

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Haiti may ban gay marriage, public support for LGBTQ rights – Wisconsin Gazette

A gay rights group in Haiti is fighting to head off a proposed law that would ban same-sex marriage as well as any public demonstrations in favor of LGBTQ people.

A bill passed by the Haitian Senate earlier this summer provides for up to three years in prison and a fine of about $8,000 for either party to a marriage not between a man and a woman.

The bill also would prohibit any public support or advocacy for LGBTQ rights.

Haitian law already specifically defines marriage as between a man and a woman.

Charlot Jeudy of the gay rights organization Kouraj said the legislation would violate Haitis constitution and his group will try to persuade members of the Chamber of Deputies to reject it.

We have the right to protest and we have the right to be who we are and we have the right to be free, Jeudy said in an interview.

Jeudy said his group has been collecting signatures on a petition that it hopes to present to sympathetic lawmakers in the chamber.

LGBTQ people have long faced discrimination in Haiti.

In September, a cultural festival celebrating the community in Port-au-Prince was canceled the after organizers received threats and a local government official said he would prohibit the event he said violates the countrys moral values.

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Haiti may ban gay marriage, public support for LGBTQ rights – Wisconsin Gazette

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How Aussie Gay Marriage Debate Moved to Mailboxes: QuickTake Q&A – Bloomberg

Hold your celebration. A majority of Australians, including Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, support changing the law to allow same-sex marriage. Yet while neighboring New Zealand and other English-speaking nations have legalized such unions, it remains a divisive political issue Down Under. With Turnbulls governing coalition at loggerheads and his authority on the line, the government plans to hold a nationwide postal vote to help decide the way ahead. Marriage equality advocates say that could unleash a tide of bigotry, while Turnbulls refusal to campaign on the issue is raising fresh questions about what he stands for. It is indeed. The largest city, Sydney, hosts one of the worlds biggest Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parades and is known as the San Francisco of the Southern Hemisphere for its large gay community. But while the U.S., the U.K, Canada and New Zealand now allow same-sex unions, Australia remains a laggard. Far from it — a poll last year showed 64 percent of respondents backed changing the law, with only 26 percent against. Major companies such as Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Qantas Airways Ltd. have also been vocal in their support. And the number of same-sex couples is rising, about 46,800 in the 2016 census, up 39 percent from 2011 Because the ruling center-right Liberal Party is split between social progressives like Turnbull, and conservatives like his predecessor Tony Abbott. When Turnbull seized the leadership two years ago, he needed to keep conservatives on-side so retained Abbotts policy on same-sex marriage. That was allowing Australian voters to make the final decision through a mandatory public vote, known as a plebiscite. But that path has been blocked in the Senate twice, so he needs to find another way to break the deadlock. A voluntary postal vote, conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, will now be held, with polling closing on Nov. 15. Should opinion polls be replicated and the majority back same-sex unions, Turnbull says he will tell his lawmakers to support a marriage equality bill and the legislation could be approved by the end of the year. The most important business stories of the day. Get Bloomberg’s daily newsletter. Not so fast. Some gay-rights lobbyists hate the idea of a public vote, saying it will unleash a tide of bigotry against a vulnerable part of the community; they have vowed to try to stop the process in the courts. Some say the idea of a postal vote, costing taxpayers A$122 million ($97 million) and conducted by a bureau that was criticized for its handling of a problem-plagued national census last year, is outdated in the internet era. They fear older, more conservative Aussies who back the status quo will be more likely to vote than younger generations. And even if a pro-gay marriage result is returned, Turnbull cant compel his lawmakers to respect the result — indeed some are already indicating they wont. He says no. The prime minister says the issue isnt of major concern to average Australians, who are more focused on economic growth and national security. Meanwhile Abbott, who remains a thorn in Turnbulls side on the backbenches, is urging Australians to vote against same-sex marriage, saying it would undermine religious freedoms. Since becoming prime minister, Turnbull, 62, has disappointed many Australians by not taking a more progressive approach on issues hed previously championed — such as tough action on climate change and leading Australia to become a republic. His leadership and political judgment have been questioned since he triggered an early election last year, which he subsequently won by a single seat — a margin now in doubt due to eligibility concerns over Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce. Conflict in the party over marriage equality has the potential to further undermine his authority and some question whether he can survive to lead the government to elections due in 2019. That could see a return to the political chaos that resulted in Australia churning through five prime ministers in the past decade, bringing with it crippling policy inertia. Meanwhile, theres a chance Australias gay and lesbian community will be forced to wait a lot longer for the equality it craves.

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Australia to say ‘Yes’ to gay marriage, Newspoll shows – NEWS.com.au

Ian Thorpe and his partner Ryan Channing are calling for people to enrol to vote so they can support the same-sex marriage plebiscite. Ian Thorpe and his partner Ryan Channing in their ad, asking for Australia’s to enrol before the postal plebiscite. Picture: Supplied IAN Thorpe and his partner Ryan Channing have released a new video urging Australians to vote in next months postal plebiscite on whether to legalise gay marriage. The Olympic swimming champ is making a last-ditch effort to get Australians to update their electoral roll details before the list is finalised this Thursday ahead of the postal ballot. In the video, he challenges Channing to swim 100m in the time it takes to update his details online. If you support marriage equality you need to enrol to vote or update your details by midnight August 24, Thorpe says. Ian Thorpe and his partner Ryan Channing in their video asking for Australia’s to enrol before the postal plebiscite. Picture: SuppliedSource:Supplied Thorpe, who signed on as an Equality Campaign Ambassador earlier this month, has lobbied for gay marriage since coming out in 2014. After the pair prove it takes less than a minute to update your enrolment details online, Channing says: Every Australian should have the right to take the plunge with the person they love. More than 215,800 Australians have updated their details and more than 16,990 people have been added to the roll in just a week since the postal vote was announced, the Australian Electoral Commission confirmed last week. You can watch the video above. Ian Thorpe and his partner Ryan Channing in their marriage equality video. Picture: SuppliedSource:Supplied ABBOTTS FEUD WITH HIS SISTER THE Abbott family feud has flared again after Tony Abbott claimed legalising gay marriage would be a big leap into the dark for Australia. Mr Abbotts sister Christine Forster hit back at his remarks, saying they were trying to instil fear and obfuscate the issue. It comes as a new poll shows most Australians will vote Yes in the upcoming postal plebiscite. This isnt just about marriage, Mr Abbott told Sydney radio 2GB this morning. Sure, marriage is the immediate focus but there are lots and lots of implications here and weve got to think them through before we take this big leap into what I think is the dark, he said. Gay marriage will be a big leap into the dark for Australia, Tony Abbott has warned. Picture: AAPSource:AAP Mr Abbott said religious schools in Britain and Canada had been impacted, along with Catholic adoption agencies, by gay marriage being legalised. He also warned curriculum programs such as Safe Schools would follow if same-sex marriage was introduced here. I really hope every single Australian, particularly people who are concerned about where our country is going, has their say, Mr Abbott told 2GB. And the best way of standing up for traditional values, the best way of saying that you dont like the direction our country is heading in right now is to get that ballot paper out and vote No. Ms Forster took to social media shortly after the interview to slam her brothers comments. Those trying to link the vote on same-sex marriage with religious freedom are simply seeking to obfuscate and instil fear, she said. Nothing will come in its wake except a lot of people who love each other will get married. Liberal MP Tim Wilson said religious freedoms would be considered by the parliament after the vote. A vote for Yes is a vote for the Parliament to then properly consider these issues, balancing out the need for same-sex couples to be able to access civil marriage while also making sure that we protecting religious liberty, he told Sky News. Voting No would handball the issue to Labor and the Greens, he said. The former prime ministers warning was somewhat backed by the special Newspoll today, which also showed a majority of Australians wanted parliament to legislate to protect religious freedoms if same-sex marriage was made legal. The poll, conducted for The Australian less than a month out from the postal plebiscite, shows 63 per cent of Australians are planning to vote Yes. It also shows 67 per cent of Australians are definitely going to vote, putting to rest fears a low response to the plebiscite could jeopardise the result. A further 15 per cent of respondents said they probably would vote in the poll. The poll showed most Australians (62 per cent) wanted parliament to include protections for religious freedoms in any legislation to legalise same-sex marriage. Lobby groups, MPs and church leaders urging Australians to vote No in the upcoming plebiscite have made this central to their campaign. Christine Forster and Tony Abbott are in a family feud over gay marriage.Source:Supplied The Newspoll showed there was strong support for same-sex marriage across the political spectrum however, with 55 per cent of Liberal voters, 75 per cent of Labor voters and 82 per cent of Greens voters saying they would back the change. Australians have until Thursday to update their electoral details to receive a ballot for the postal plebiscite. The postal plebiscite, to be run by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, must also be ruled legal by the High Court before ballots can be sent out on September 12. BIG BUSINESS STAYING OUT OF THE CAMPAIGN Corporate Australia will not be actively joining the Yes campaign in the lead up to next months postal plebiscite. Most major companies that have publicly called for same-sex marriage in the past will be staying out of the fight and will not support the Yes campaign financially or with advertising. Aside from adding their brand to the list of supporters in the past, many major companies will simply be encouraging Australians to have their say. The heads of ANZ, Optus, Holden, Deloitte Access Economics, Football Federation Australia, Telstra and REA were among more than two dozen major corporations to write to the Prime Minister in March urging the Australian Parliament to introduce same-sex marriage as soon as possible. The companies have confirmed to NewsCorp over the past week that they will not be actively lobbying for either side. Qantas CEO Alan Joyce is urging businesses to campaign for same-sex marriage. Picture: AAPSource:AAP Deloitte will encourage all its staff to participate in the postal survey but in respecting views across the firm I wont be telling our people how they should vote, Deloitte chief executive Cindy Hook said. I signed the letter in March in my personal capacity and my personal view is to support the Yes campaign, she said. A Holden spokesman said: While not financially active in this particular campaign, Holden has been a public supporter of marriage equality for some time now. Its important that Australians have the opportunity to have their say on this issue. An Optus spokesman said: Optus supports diversity, inclusion and choice. The issue of the proposed postal plebiscite is a matter for individuals. A Telstra spokesman said: Telstra has long advocated and often pioneered the fostering of a more supportive, diverse workplace. As a supporter of marriage equality, we continue to show our support of diversity, inclusion and equality, while recognising and respecting the right of the individual to hold their own view on this issue. Deloitte chief executive Cindy Hook says she supports same-sex marriage but wont be telling people how they should vote. Picture: John Feder/The Australian.Source:News Corp Australia Qantas did not respond to News Corps query on whether it would back the campaign financially or with advertising but chief executive Alan Joyce said today he would personally be backing the Yes campaign. Mr Joyce urged other businesses to do the same. There are 1300 companies that have published their logo to support marriage equality including all the banks, all the airlines and I believe that those companies should go out there and support it, Mr Joyce said. They have given their logos and support to that campaign before and I have no doubt a large element of the business community will be out there supporting this campaign. Mr Joyce said he was disappointed the government turned to a postal ballot rather than just decide the issue in parliament. I believe we have to get behind it and make sure that we have a Yes vote and certainly I will be out there strongly campaigning for a Yes vote, he said. I think it is very important for our employees, for our customers and for our shareholders and that is why Qantas is a supporter of marriage equality, why were a supporter of gender equality and why were a supporter of indigenous rights. We believe these social issues are very important of all of our stakeholders and are very important for this country and we will be active out there and supporting a yes vote.

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Australias gay marriage debate goes to the vote | Asia | DW … – Deutsche Welle

Australia is one of the least religious nations in the anglo-speaking world, less so than Catholic Ireland or the United States, which both allow same-sex marriage. Results of a 2016 census, made public only recently, have shown that “No Religion” is now the leading religion. So how does an irreligious nation home to the Sydney Mardi Gras, and one that polls suggest is broadly in favor of same sex marriage, tie itself in such knots? This non-binding vote on whether or not to allow same-sex marriage means that Parliament will not necessarily have to pass it into law. It may still vote on it afterwards. Unusually for Australia, voting will not be compulsory and the vote will be run by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, not the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC). Peter Brent, a research fellow at Melbourne’s Swinburne Institute for Social Research who writes on Australian politics, told DW that he saw it as “a malfunction in the political class, on the Labor side in particular… A plebiscite on same-sex marriage is unnecessary. It was something that Tony Abbott came up with to save his [leadership].” Though then-Prime Minister John Howard changed the words of the Marriage Act in 2004 to include ‘man’ and ‘woman’ Labor had six years in government to bring same-sex marriage into law. Read more:Australia scuttles gay marriage referendum A non-binding vote – with repercussions Catholic and conservative former Prime Minister Tony Abbott has long resisted same-sex marriage and put the idea of a plebiscite out to avoid a conscience vote in Parliament. The issue of legalizing gay marriage in Australia has triggered plenty of controversy Meanwhile, within the Liberal Party there is a distinct shift towardfavoring same-sex marriage. Tim Wilson is one such proponent. The openly gay MP from Melbourne has long argued for same-sex marriage. “The decision has been difficult to resolve because while Australians aren’t religiously conservative, but they are culturally conservative… Ultimately once the public was given the choice of having a public vote to resolve the issue people both frustrated by a failure to resolve it, and those opposed, have supported this pathway,” he told DW. One worry is that as the rules governing an AEC-run vote don’t apply hate speech and divisive ‘no’ campaigns might proliferate and have adamaging influence on young people. A study by the University of Queensland and the University of York found that only 23 percent of participants in Ireland’s 2015 gay marriage vote would want to go through the process again. The Australian Christian Lobby has called the children of gay parents the new ‘stolen generation,’ a reference to the generation of Indigenous children removed from their families and put into orphanages. Senator Penny Wong, a lesbian and Leader of the opposition in the Senate, gave a speech last week saying, “We love our children… It is (not unifying) exposing our children to that kind of hatred.” Different culture, different views Wong in 2008 stood by her government’s stance that the traditional concept of marriage would not be changed. “On the issue of marriage, I think the reality is there is a cultural, religious and historical view around that which we have to respect,” she said then. She, and Labor, now fully support the yes vote. Read more:Australia’s Labor Party rejects plebiscite on gay marriage, pushes for vote in parliament In May Australian tennis superstar and grand slam winner Margaret Court spoke against same-sex marriage, a position the evangelical Christian and founder of the Victory Life Center in Perth, has long held. Many swiftly suggested the tennis court named after her in Melbourne, home of the Australian Open, be renamed. The speed of her censure was remarkable. She wrote only last week in a newspaper letter, “let us vote no to gay marriage for the sake of Australia, our children and our children’s children.” Read more:Navratilova calls for Margaret Court Arena to be renamed Connections Nightclub, in Perth’s busy Northbridge, is the Southern Hemisphere’s longest running gay club. Michael Edwards, a Perth hairdresser and founder of the Facebook group Lost Gay Perth says he’s “really fed up” with the gay marriage debate and just wants the government to get on with it. “Either way we just want to know.” However, after coming out some 30 years ago he’s less worried about the effects of possible hate speech. Toughing it out “I’ve gotta tell you, we’re a tough lot. We’ve heard it all before, we’re resilient and we keep going.” Younger people, who’ve grown up a different way, may feel differently, he says. “They’ll hear things that are detrimental to their view of themselves.” Tim Wilson, a proponent of free speech who has been behind the scrapping of one section of Australia’s Racial Discrimination Act, urges caution. “I think we have to be careful what we call hate speech. Hurtful things are said by people who should know better… Hurtful things will be said before and after a change in the law.” The question is now, barring a successful challenge in the High Court to block the vote, what answer the postal vote will yield. Brent believes that though voters would vote ‘yes’ in a random survey tomorrow, results would be different in a drawn out vote. “These things can become, in the minds of many voters, about something other than the question at hand… a chance to give the government of the day a bloody nose.”

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Married Sunday, fired Monday: Churches threaten to dismiss staff who wed same-sex partners – The Sydney Morning Herald

Australia’s Catholic church isthreatening to fire teachers, nurses and other employees who marry their same-sex partnerif gay marriage is legalised, in a dramatic move led by the country’s most senior Catholic. Archbishop of Melbourne Denis Hart, speaking exclusively to Fairfax Media, pointedly warnedthe church’s 180,000 employees they were expected to uphold its teachings “totally”, and defiance would be treated “very seriously”. Play Video Don’t Play Play Video Don’t Play Previous slide Next slide A Liberal MP has challenged Christian MPs to devote as much time and energy to getting refugees off Manus Island and Nauru than they do to opposing same sex marriage. Play Video Don’t Play A seven-year-old Sydney boy was one of 13 people killed in last week’s terrorist attack at Las Ramblas in central Barcelona. Vision: Seven News Play Video Don’t Play Police have put out a call for any information relating to the murder of Melbourne grandmother Jeanette Moss, as they continue to search for the 69-year-old’s killer. Play Video Don’t Play The father of an Australian boy missing since the terrorist attack in Spain has touched down in Barcelona. Play Video Don’t Play One Australian is unaccounted for and seven others injured after a van mowed people down in a popular Barcelona tourist spot, killing more than a dozen people and injuring about 100 more. Play Video Don’t Play Schools are divided over a proposed reading test that could soon be asking Grade 1 students to pronounce made-up words as part of a new phonics test. Play Video Don’t Play Three world champion skippers from Brisbane are attempting to break the world record at double-dutch. A Liberal MP has challenged Christian MPs to devote as much time and energy to getting refugees off Manus Island and Nauru than they do to opposing same sex marriage. “I would be very emphatic that our schools, our parishes exist to teach a Catholic view of marriage,” hesaid.”Any words or actions which workcontrary to that would be viewed very seriously. “Our teachers, our parish employees are expected totally to uphold the Catholic faith and what we believe about marriage.Peoplehave to see in words and inexample that our teaching of marriage is underlined. “We shouldn’t be slipping on that,” said Archbishop Hart, who also chairs the powerfulAustralian Catholic Bishops Conference. He said individual hiring and firing decisions “are best dealt with on the local scene”. Archbishop Hart was backed up by Archbishop TimothyCostelloe, chair of theBishops Commission for Catholic Education, who cautioned teachersagainst “undermining” their schools’ values if same-sex marriage becamelaw. ArchbishopCostelloesaid parents who sent their children to a Catholic school wanted them educated within a Catholic framework, of which marriage was a vital part. Get the latest news and updates emailed straight to your inbox. “In accepting a role in a Catholic school, staff will recognise their responsibility to conduct themselves in such a way as not to undermine the fundamental ethos of the school,” he told Fairfax Media. “Like all other employers, the Catholic Church should be able to ensure its values are upheld by those who choose to work for the organisation.” The Anglican Church, while declining to comment directly on employees, also emphasised the importance of protecting religious freedom and warned safeguards had “quickly unravelled” overseas. Under Australia’s anti-discrimination laws, churches already enjoy wide-ranging exemptions allowing them to hire and fire on the basis of sexual orientation, marital status and other characteristics. While LGBTIemployees are often tolerated by church employers, a same-sex wedding may be considered a public denunciation of church teachings on marriage. Father Frank Brennan, chief executive of Catholic Social Services Australia, this week defended the ability for church schools to refuse employment to a same-sex attracted person, and for aged care facilities to reject a married gay couple. Writing in The Guardian, he indicated he could vote “yes” in the upcoming postal survey, but wanted the church’s right to discriminate maintained. However, Catholic Health Australia, the country’s largest non-government, non-profit health group, distanced itself from those threats. Chief executive Suzanne Greenwood told Fairfax Media she would not expect doctors and nurses to adhere so strictly to the church’s teachings, though conceded it may be different for teachers. “We’re not converting people toCatholicism,” she said. “It’s not really relevant tothe jobs people are performing within the care environment at a hospital or an aged care facility. “It’s not like people are currently screened [for sexuality or marital status]. I would see absolutely no reason why that would change.” Religious organisations have had exemptions to the Sex Discrimination Act since its inception in 1984. Human Rights Commissioner Ed Santow backed the act and said any attempt to legalise same-sex marriage would need to maintain those exemptions. “It’s a matter for each religious organisation how far they want totake that exemption,” Mr Santow said. “Most religious organisations are very careful and respectful of the diversity of our community.” According to a 2015 paper by the Australian Catholic Council for Employment Relations, more than 180,000 Australians work for the Catholic church in some respect -about 2 per cent of the workforce. Bishop Michael Stead, chairman of the Anglican Diocese of Sydney’s Religious Freedom Reference Group, declined to answer directly whether the Anglican Church would seek to dismiss employees. In a statement, he called forthe maintenance of current exemptions to anti-discrimination law, and said attemptsto legislate same-sex marriage in Australia so far were”manifestly deficient” in protecting civil and religious freedoms. “The experience in countries where marriage has been redefined has been a quick and steady erosion of freedom of speech, conscience and belief,” Bishop Stead said. “The fact that promised safeguards for freedom of religion have quickly unravelled overseas should serve as a warning to Australians.” The US has seen a number of high-profile cases of employees being fired after wedding a same-sex partner, and the scenario was dramatised in the 2014 Ira Sachs film Love Is Strange. In June, former parish music director Colin Collette lost a lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Chicagoafter he was fired upon becoming engaged to his male partner. Lyle Shelton, managing director of the Australian Christian Lobby and one of the leading public campaigners for the “no” side, also defended the power of Christian organisations to dismiss staff who married a same-sex partner. “Religious organisations should have the same freedoms as political parties to ensure that staff share their ethos,” he said.

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Australia’s gay marriage debate goes postal – Deutsche Welle

Australia is one of the least religious nations in the anglo-speaking world, less so than Catholic Ireland or the United States, which both allow same-sex marriage. Results of a 2016 census, made public only recently, have shown that “No Religion” is now the leading religion. So how does an irreligious nation home to the Sydney Mardi Gras, and one that polls suggest is broadly in favor of same sex marriage, tie itself in such knots? This non-binding vote on whether or not to allow same-sex marriage means that Parliament will not necessarily have to pass it into law. It may still vote on it afterwards. Unusually for Australia, voting will not be compulsory and the vote will be run by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, not the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC). Peter Brent, a research fellow at Melbourne’s Swinburne Institute for Social Research who writes on Australian politics, told DW that he saw it as “a malfunction in the political class, on the Labor side in particular… A plebiscite on same-sex marriage is unnecessary. It was something that Tony Abbott came up with to save his [leadership].” Though then-Prime Minister John Howard changed the words of the Marriage Act in 2004 to include ‘man’ and ‘woman’ Labor had six years in government to bring same-sex marriage into law. Read more:Australia scuttles gay marriage referendum A non-binding vote – with repercussions Catholic and conservative former Prime Minister Tony Abbott has long resisted same-sex marriage and put the idea of a plebiscite out to avoid a conscience vote in Parliament. The issue of legalizing gay marriage in Australia has triggered plenty of controversy Meanwhile, within the Liberal Party there is a distinct shift towardfavoring same-sex marriage. Tim Wilson is one such proponent. The openly gay MP from Melbourne has long argued for same-sex marriage. “The decision has been difficult to resolve because while Australians aren’t religiously conservative, but they are culturally conservative… Ultimately once the public was given the choice of having a public vote to resolve the issue people both frustrated by a failure to resolve it, and those opposed, have supported this pathway,” he told DW. One worry is that as the rules governing an AEC-run vote don’t apply hate speech and divisive ‘no’ campaigns might proliferate and have adamaging influence on young people. A study by the University of Queensland and the University of York found that only 23 percent of participants in Ireland’s 2015 gay marriage vote would want to go through the process again. The Australian Christian Lobby has called the children of gay parents the new ‘stolen generation,’ a reference to the generation of Indigenous children removed from their families and put into orphanages. Senator Penny Wong, a lesbian and Leader of the opposition in the Senate, gave a speech last week saying, “We love our children… It is (not unifying) exposing our children to that kind of hatred.” Different culture, different views Wong in 2008 stood by her government’s stance that the traditional concept of marriage would not be changed. “On the issue of marriage, I think the reality is there is a cultural, religious and historical view around that which we have to respect,” she said then. She, and Labor, now fully support the yes vote. Read more:Australia’s Labor Party rejects plebiscite on gay marriage, pushes for vote in parliament In May Australian tennis superstar and grand slam winner Margaret Court spoke against same-sex marriage, a position the evangelical Christian and founder of the Victory Life Center in Perth, has long held. Many swiftly suggested the tennis court named after her in Melbourne, home of the Australian Open, be renamed. The speed of her censure was remarkable. She wrote only last week in a newspaper letter, “let us vote no to gay marriage for the sake of Australia, our children and our children’s children.” Read more:Navratilova calls for Margaret Court Arena to be renamed Connections Nightclub, in Perth’s busy Northbridge, is the Southern Hemisphere’s longest running gay club. Michael Edwards, a Perth hairdresser and founder of the Facebook group Lost Gay Perth says he’s “really fed up” with the gay marriage debate and just wants the government to get on with it. “Either way we just want to know.” However, after coming out some 30 years ago he’s less worried about the effects of possible hate speech. Toughing it out “I’ve gotta tell you, we’re a tough lot. We’ve heard it all before, we’re resilient and we keep going.” Younger people, who’ve grown up a different way, may feel differently, he says. “They’ll hear things that are detrimental to their view of themselves.” Tim Wilson, a proponent of free speech who has been behind the scrapping of one section of Australia’s Racial Discrimination Act, urges caution. “I think we have to be careful what we call hate speech. Hurtful things are said by people who should know better… Hurtful things will be said before and after a change in the law.” The question is now, barring a successful challenge in the High Court to block the vote, what answer the postal vote will yield. Brent believes that though voters would vote ‘yes’ in a random survey tomorrow, results would be different in a drawn out vote. “These things can become, in the minds of many voters, about something other than the question at hand… a chance to give the government of the day a bloody nose.”

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August 19, 2017   Posted in: Gay Marriage  Comments Closed

Australia’s anti-gay marriage campaign: It’s Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve – PinkNews

Well that took all of about a week. Earlier this month, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull vowed to push ahead with a public vote on same-sex marriage without permission from Parliament. He ignored warnings from the opposition and from LGBT campaigners that a public vote on the issue would stir up homophobic sentiment, insisting the vote would be civilised. But just days after campaigning began to gear up ahead of the postal vote, the anti-gay marriage side have already resorted to trotting out some of the most tired and reductive homophobic stereotypes. In a press release New South Wales MP Fred Nile, the leader of the Christian Democratic Party and a key member of the Coalition for Marriage, took the opportunity to attack the countrys gay community. He bragged about making a ferocious attack on same sex homosexual so-called marriage, describing gay sex as an abomination. He wrote: The Almighty God the Creator has stated homosexual Same-Sex sexual relations are an ABOMINATION that is something Gods [sic] hates. Can anyone vote for it? An anti-gay pamphlet produced by Nile and republished by Buzzfeed, titled Family World News, proclaims IN THE BEGINNING ALMIGHTY GOD CREATED ADAM AND EVE NOT ADAM AND STEVE! The pamphlet features contributions from other key members of the Coalition for Marriage including Senator Eric Abetz, the former Leader of the Government in the Senate, and Lyle Shelton of Australian Christian Lobby. In his column, Abetz claims: Make no mistake the push by some to change marriage from a man/woman institution is destructive for our society. Study after study (if needed) supports our natural intuition that children are safer and prosper the most having the security of knowing their biological parents and the diversity of male and female role models in a marriage relationship. No matter how hard and genuinely two men or two women may try, they will not be able (all things being equal) to provide the benefit that a man and woman combination in marriage can bring to a child. To deny this is to deny the fundamental difference between the sexes. Scientists tell us our chromosomal structures have thousands of differences. Abetz added: It is a matter of regret so many others cant see through the glibness of love is love and marriage equality. If these glib meaningless phrases are to be given any genuine meaning, then love is love in all situations and marriage equality should be open to all as the Greens assert. If this is the standard then who is to judge the quality/type/validity of any love within families, with more than just one other, or indeed why not the Eiffel Tower? Shelton added: While it may make rainbow activists feel uncomfortable, the demand for marriage equality must be considered in the light of the inequality it creates for others, particularly children who will be forced to live a motherless or fatherless existence. And this, not because of tragedy or desertion, but because public policy decreed it so.Activists are yet to explain the ethics of deliberately requiring a child to miss out on knowing the love of both a mum and a dad. Opposition leader Bill Shorten told the PM: I hold you responsible for every hurtful bit of filth that this debate will unleash not because the Prime Minister has said it, not because he agrees to it, he clearly doesnt. But because the Prime Minister has licensed this debate.

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August 18, 2017   Posted in: Gay Marriage  Comments Closed

Catholic Archbishop encourages ‘no vote’ – Perth Now

THE leader of Perths Catholic community has intervened in the gay marriage debate, calling on West Australians to make sure they are enrolled so they can vote against any change. In a long letter to be distributed at Mass in the Perth diocese this weekend, Archbishop Timothy Costelloe also says that just because someone is opposed to gay marriage, they should not be labelled homophobic. It is unworthy to suggest that those who argue against the proposed redefinition of marriage are homophobic or some way lacking in intellectual depth, he wrote. It is unfair to suggest that they are trying to force their views on others. It is cruel to claim that such people are devoid of love, compassion or understanding of those in same-sex relationships. Significantly, Archbishop Costelloe tells WAs 530,000 Catholics the Church should be able to lead debate on controversial issues. That our convictions are based on these foundational beliefs should not be a surprise to anyone we are a religious organisation, he says. Nor should the religious foundations of our convictions disqualify us from engagement in the public discussion on these important matters. The Archbishop argues society would be best served by retaining the traditional understanding of marriage, between a man and a woman and says he sincerely hopes Catholics ensure they are registered to make their vote count in the November postal plebiscite. In affirming this longstanding position it is important to remember that it is based on our convictions about the beauty and dignity of marriage understood as a union of a man and woman for life, and as the best way to provide for the upbringing of children, Archbishop Costelloe wrote. In arguing marriage between a man and a woman is best for children, he concedes this ideal is not always realised in practice, and that many children are raised in loving environments after a marriage has failed. But the fact that this ideal is often not realised in practice does not make the ideal any less worth striving for, he says. The Federal Government announced it would hold a non-compulsory postal plebiscite on whether to make gay marriage legal after a group of rebel Liberals led by WAs Dean Smith threatened to introduce a private members Bill in an attempt to force change. The plebiscite will cost taxpayers $122 million and MPs across Parliament have signalled their right to ignore the outcome.

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August 18, 2017   Posted in: Gay Marriage  Comments Closed

Northern Ireland court rules gay marriage ban doesn’t violate rights – Reuters

BELFAST (Reuters) – Northern Ireland’s refusal to recognize same-sex marriage does not violate the rights of couples affected, the Belfast High Court ruled on Thursday, in a blow to campaigners in the only part of the United Kingdom that bans gay marriage. The case was brought by three same-sex couples, backed by campaigners who are trying to pressure the region’s largest party, the socially conservative Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), to reverse its veto on same-sex marriage. The judge, Justice O’Hara, said the refusal to allow same- sex marriages in Northern Ireland was not a contravention of human rights “because that right does not exist.” O’Hara said it was up to Northern Ireland’s devolved government to decide on the issue and that a ban on gay marriage did not violate international human rights standards. He said the European Court of Human rights had ruled that the right to gay marriage was not a right under the European Convention on Human Rights. “It is not difficult to understand how gay men and lesbians, who have suffered discrimination, rejection and exclusion, feel so strongly about the maintenance in Northern Ireland of the barrier to same sex marriage,” he said. “However, the judgment which I have to reach is not based on social policy but on law.” The ruling applied to two cases, the first brought by the first female couple and first male couple to have their civil partnership recognized in Northern Ireland: Shannon Sickles and Grainne Close and Christopher and Henry Flanagan-Kane. In a second case – known as Petition X – a male couple that married in England in 2014 was challenging the downgrading of their relationship to a civil partnership when they moved to Northern Ireland. The DUP, whose 10 seats in the British parliament prop up the government of Prime Minister Theresa May, have repeatedly vetoed gay marriage despite opinion polls that indicate it is supported by a significant majority in Northern Ireland. Earlier this month Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar visited a gay rights event in Belfast and said the legalization of same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland was just a matter of time. The couples did not speak to the media after the ruling, but Gavin Boyd of gay rights group The Rainbow Project said they were disappointed and would consider whether to appeal. “This is now a matter for the politicians, the [Northern Ireland] Assembly or Theresa May,” Boyd said. Writing by Conor Humphries and Ian Graham; Editing by Robin Pomeroy

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August 17, 2017   Posted in: Gay Marriage  Comments Closed

Haiti may ban gay marriage, public support for LGBTQ rights – Wisconsin Gazette

A gay rights group in Haiti is fighting to head off a proposed law that would ban same-sex marriage as well as any public demonstrations in favor of LGBTQ people. A bill passed by the Haitian Senate earlier this summer provides for up to three years in prison and a fine of about $8,000 for either party to a marriage not between a man and a woman. The bill also would prohibit any public support or advocacy for LGBTQ rights. Haitian law already specifically defines marriage as between a man and a woman. Charlot Jeudy of the gay rights organization Kouraj said the legislation would violate Haitis constitution and his group will try to persuade members of the Chamber of Deputies to reject it. We have the right to protest and we have the right to be who we are and we have the right to be free, Jeudy said in an interview. Jeudy said his group has been collecting signatures on a petition that it hopes to present to sympathetic lawmakers in the chamber. LGBTQ people have long faced discrimination in Haiti. In September, a cultural festival celebrating the community in Port-au-Prince was canceled the after organizers received threats and a local government official said he would prohibit the event he said violates the countrys moral values.

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August 17, 2017   Posted in: Gay Marriage  Comments Closed


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