ACT law recognising same sex relationship overturned

The ACT legislation giving civil recognition to same sex relationships has been negated. The Senate failed today in its attempt to prevent the federal government from overturning the ACT law. Liberal Senator Gary Humphries voted against the government and in favour of the Senate’s disallowance motion. However, the Family First Senator voted with the government, meaning the disallowance motion failed 30-32.

My speech is below.

(10.52 am)—I suppose I have an interest in this debate. Like many people in this chamber, I am married. Amazingly enough, I do not feel like my marriage is being threatened or diminished in any way by the ACT enabling people who have same-sex partners to register their relationship under the Civil Unions Act.

I ask any member of this chamber who also happens to be married: can they seriously say that their marriage will be devalued one single iota by enabling people whose partner happens to be of the same gender to have their relationship recognised under civil law? There is absolutely no way that anybody, I believe, can sensibly say that their own relationship is devalued because of what some other couple wants to do with regard to recognising their relationship. If they do believe that then I suggest there is something wrong with their own relationship.

What is this all about? I suggest that, first and foremost, from the Prime Minister’s point of view in particular, it is about political point-scoring opportunities once again. I believe there is no doubt that the Prime Minister is not genuine on this issue. I do not make categorical statements like that unthinkingly. This Prime Minister has repeatedly said in recent times—and only in the last year or so, I might say; it is an interesting shift in his rhetoric—that he opposes discrimination against people who have same-sex relationships. He specifically said at the end of last year that he was in favour of removing any property discrimination and other discrimination against people who have same-sex relationships whilst nonetheless maintaining his opposition to gay marriage or gay adoption. But what has he done about it? He has done nothing. He has made the nice-sounding statement saying, ‘We are against discrimination on the grounds of property etc,’ but he has done nothing.

I wrote a letter to him after he made that statement, in January—as I was acting leader at the time, while my leader, Senator Allison, was on leave—congratulating him on his statements that he was in favour of removing property discrimination and other discrimination against people in same-sex relationships. He is so genuine about it that he has never even acknowledged the letter, let alone responded meaningfully. That is how shallow this Prime Minister’s commitment is to that issue.

I recall that, when I was leader of the Democrats, the party had to hold up the superannuation choice legislation for years before the government would agree to, very begrudgingly, allow some degree of equality on the basis of interdependency for people with regard to some of their superannuation entitlements. It was a significant reform. Seeing that Senator Coonan is in the chamber, I acknowledge her contribution in enabling that to happen. That was a significant achievement of the Democrats, which, I might say in passing, is rarely acknowledged by many of those who continually call for the removal of discrimination against people in same-sex relationships. They seem quite happy to ignore the Democrats’ achievements, persistence and actual gains in this area. Of course, the Democrats have had legislation before this chamber since 1995 that would have the effect of removing property discrimination and other discrimination against people on the basis of their sexuality, their gender status or the gender of their exclusive partner.

We have had no indications of genuine support from the government—or, until recent times, from the Labor Party, I might say—with regard to that area. It is nice to have the Prime Minister making this statement but forgive me if I believe that he does not believe it. If he believed it he would act on it. He has made the statement repeatedly now for many months. He has not acted on it. I acknowledge the efforts in recent times of Mr Entsch, the member for Leichhardt, in seeking to address this issue, but there has been no movement from the government.

We have seen continual inaction. There has been the occasional nice-sounding statement saying that the government believe that there should be a removal of discrimination and that we might need to have a look to see what is around. They know what discrimination there is. Democrats legislation on this issue has been before this place since 1995. A comprehensive Senate inquiry that tabled its report back in 1997 detailed all the discrimination that exists. We have had small gains in removing some of that discrimination in the area of superannuation and in some aspects of the Defence Force, but it is not complete even in those areas. We know where discrimination exists. There is now a human rights commission inquiry into it as well, which I also welcome, which will provide more detail about it and reaffirm the need to act. But the excuses about why we cannot move are continual.

We had excuse after excuse with regard to the superannuation legislation about why they could not move in that area. It was only because we refused to proceed on superannuation choice for years that they eventually agreed. The government were so determined not to move even in a small area of removing discrimination that they held up a major policy reform with regard to superannuation choice. Regardless of whether or not people agree with super choice, it was a major policy reform of the government that they were strongly pushing. They were willing to have that sit and not move for years purely because they would not make any concession on removing discrimination. It was only because of the Democrats’ insistence on also not moving that we finally did get some gains there.

The evidence is quite clear that the Prime Minister is not genuine. This debate we are having today is another example. Whilst we have had years and years of dragging the chain, of continual excuses for inaction, as soon as the ACT moved there was instantaneous action from this government to jump in and try to overturn the ACT parliament’s legislation. There was no pausing to look at reasons why it might not be a good idea. There were no delays or consultation. It was straight in, running the gay marriage fear campaign, running the political wedge and pushing the political point-scoring buttons. They immediately initiated this divisive, destructive and personally hurtful and harmful debate to many Australians. The Prime Minister is not genuine or sincere. He is quite willing to deliberately cause not only anguish and hurt but actual harm to many Australians purely for political point-scoring opportunities. His complete lack of interest in even acknowledging correspondence from people who offer to work with him in removing discrimination in areas that he says that he supports shows how insincere he is.

Obviously points have been raised by Senator Brown and others about how it is inappropriate to overturn a decision of the territory parliament and the territory parliament should be able to make their own laws. I understand that argument, but it is not one that I am prepared to use because, if you going to take that approach, you have to be 100 per cent consistent on it. You cannot only use that argument when you like the laws that you are trying to defend; you have to use that argument when it applies to laws you do not like. Whilst I like this law in the ACT—I am quite open about that—the Democrats in the past have introduced legislation, which also had Senator Brown’s and the Labor Party’s name on it, seeking to overturn the mandatory sentencing laws in the Northern Territory. They were laws that I very strongly disliked—laws that I am glad are no longer there, as I understand it. Personally, if I believe it is an important enough case—and I do not suggest that the federal parliament should willy-nilly overturn any law that it is vaguely dissatisfied with—and the power is there, whether it is the law of a territory or a state, I have to say that, to be consistent, I would be willing to overturn it.

So I am not using that argument in this case; I am using the argument that the law in the ACT should be upheld because it is a good law. It is obviously also a law that the people of the ACT supported. I think the mandate theory of politics is grossly overused. But, inasmuch as it can be used, the ACT Labor Party did run with this as a policy. It was not only voted in but voted in in its own right. That was not something that I was overly happy about, in broader terms, but nonetheless there was a mandate, as far as it goes. But I am not willing to use that argument because I do not think you can apply it, unless you are going to apply it consistently and most tellingly to those areas or laws that you do not support.

Senator Nettle spoke about the power of love and the importance of equal recognition of love. It was quite touching really; it was almost poetic. Obviously love has a lot of do with marriage and the recognition of relationships. I should say that not all marriages are about love; some marriages are not really about love at all. I think there is often more to it than love but, ideally, particularly in our society and with the values we hold in Australia, we believe that any exclusive relationship is far preferable if it is based around love. We could all now have a debate about what love actually is, if you particularly want this debate to go for another 10 weeks and to have all our different definitions of love.

Clearly, love is an important aspect of relationships, and it is an important part of why actions such as this federal government is taking are so harmful. Categorically and indisputably this action does say that people whose love is towards someone else of the same gender is of less value or less worth than people whose love is with somebody of the opposite gender. That is not only discriminatory; it is immensely harmful for some people. I ask people to consider that, if you have a message coming from the leaders of your country, as well as, of course, leaders of churches—and I will get on to some of them in a moment—that is believed to be so important that it is reflected in decisions of the national parliament and the law of the land, you are going to think that your love does not merit the same recognition as somebody else’s.

I ask people to think about how that can affect individual people, particularly if they are people who, because of the social discrimination and social antagonism towards gay and lesbian people, are struggling—and some are, as we all know—with their sexuality. If people who are vulnerable because they are struggling with their sexuality are having a message reinforced in law that their intrinsic emotional beliefs and their intrinsic emotional bond with another person is less valuable, that is immensely harmful. I am not overstating the case when I say that that is one of the key reasons why there is a higher incidence of suicide, self-harm, depression and related issues among people who are gay, lesbian or bisexual. They are continually bombarded with messages saying that their emotions, their intrinsic way of relating to people, is less valuable or somehow disordered. It is immensely harmful. That is why I oppose so strongly actions like this. It is also why I am doubly offended and angry because I know, as I said at the start, that the Prime Minister is not genuine in his statements in this area.

It also gives extra coverage, extra legs, to people such as Piers Ackerman, who many of us would have seen on the Insiders program on the weekend. In relating to and commenting on this issue that we are debating now, he said that you cannot call a relationship between a man and a man, a woman and a woman, or a man and his dog, his cat or his goat a marriage. That is the sort of contemptible depth that some senior political commentators in this country have been willing to sink. A major media commentator willing to use the opportunity of debates like this to run such disgusting and destructive messages to millions of people throughout the nation. Thankfully, there are not that many people who, like Piers Ackerman, are willing to be so offensive and so deliberately abusive towards their fellow Australians. But there are others.

Also mentioned on that program was the spokesperson for the Australian Family Association, who reportedly stated that removing barriers to recognition of gay and lesbian relationships will mean that people will be more likely to start having sex with animals. That is the sort of contemptible statement that gets made and is given reinforcement. I am not suggesting that government members support that statement, but I am saying that by cynically putting forward debates like these they are giving succour to those sorts of statements. Most of us can dismiss them as the rantings of people who are being deliberately antagonistic, but for people who are vulnerable and who are already feeling under attack, they have extra bite.

I would also like to emphasise that, despite all the talk about love—and that is important—marriage is not just an expression of love. Marriage, particularly in the legislative context in which we are debating it here, is actually a legal contract. You can take all the love out of it entirely and just say it is a legal contract, and so is the civil recognition of same-sex relationships. It is purely a legal process. It is a legal process that, among other things and in some ways most significantly, much more effectively enables the legal recognition of property and other entitlements—the very thing that the Prime Minister has said he is in favour of removing discrimination against. The ACT has taken a move that makes it more likely that people in same-sex relationships will have the same access to property entitlements and all those other obligations that apply to people in de facto, opposite-sex relationships. This is an action that goes in the direction the Prime Minister has said he is in favour of, but he leaps in straight away and seeks to overturn it.

I also want to say, because I believe it needs to be placed in the context of this debate, that there are statements, not just by fringe nutters from the Australian Family Association—what a misnomer that is—but also by leaders of mainstream churches. I am not in the business of attacking the churches in general or the Pope in particular, because I believe in general they perform a positive role in society. If people who are Catholics do not like what the Pope says then it is their choice whether they stay in the church. I am not into arguing about what the church does and does not do; people who are in the church can fight that battle. I am not in that church, so I do not debate that. However, one of the earliest statements by the new Pope was that ‘deep-seated homosexual tendencies’, to use his terminology, gravely obstructs a right way of relating with men and women. People who are Catholic can choose whether or not to believe that, but statements like these are not just made for Catholics to believe; they are made and specifically stated as being made for society as a whole to follow.

I say that because those things are used to reinforce debates like this, and if statements are made saying people in same-sex relationships cannot relate fully or properly to other men and women purely because of their sexual orientation, in the context of saying that marriage is a special thing that must apply only to men and women, then it sends very destructive, harmful and divisive messages to our society. So I and the Democrats very strongly support this motion and we very strongly support the ACT government’s legislation. I hope there is still some way through to get a resolution on this issue, not just because I support the legislation but—much more importantly, I believe—because we cannot continue to keep passing things in this place that reinforce messages that are so destructive to people. (Time expired)

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  1. Firstly, this issue gets more and more confusing each time it is revisited. “The Senate failed today in its attempt to prevent the federal government from overturning the ACT law.” So it failed to stop something from being stopped? The semantics give me a headache. It almost makes me hope someone doesn’t try to stop the government from stopping to stop the stop. You get the idea.

    Although I strongly oppose mandatory sentencing, on balance I don’t believe that the Federal Government should have tried to intervene in that matter. There’s no point in having a Territory Government if they can’t make their own laws. The power to overturn should be used only for especially egregious legislation, and unlike mandatory sentencing, I don’t believe that same-sex marriage is a great threat to our society. Some people disagree, and I guess that’s the point of the debate.

    I’m a married, heterosexual, Australian-born Christian male, and I’d like to add my voice to those married people who don’t feel their marriage being threatened whatsoever by the ACT’s legislation. In fact, my wife and I are both strong supporters of gay couples and marriages.

    I think the main problem Christians have with gay people is their perceived promiscuity, which although I don’t believe, is exactly what gay marriage would prevent.

    However, the Family Association and the churches couldn’t be any more irrelevant to this debate. This is not a religious debate – the law had already been made before it became a federal issue. It is absolutely wrong for any lobby group to inflict their own views so strongly into legislative debate, and it is absolutely wrong for politicians to listen to them.

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  3. Andrew Bartlett:
    As you said “I do not feel like my marriage is being threatened or diminished in any way by the ACT enabling people who have same-sex partners to register their relationship under the Civil Unions Act”.

    Same here!

    On the religious aspect: people in a same-sex relationship may putting their souls at risk but that is their own individual and private choice to make. Whether they seek guidance from the clergy on the matter or not is also their own individual and private choice to make. It is not my business and it is not the government’s business either …. except to ensure equity and justice for all concerned; nothing more.

    I personally think the concept of a Civil Union for people who want to show enduring concern for each other is an excellent one …. though it is certainly not a choice I would ever make for myself.

    The interference of John Howard and his pals in this matter is unnecessary and it is grossly offensive. He is only a prime minister, he’s not a king.

  4. Thank you, Andrew. I spent the majority of the morning locked in my office, watching this debate unfold. A debate about how I’m allowed to live my life, a debate about my worthiness to partake in Australian society as an equal, or in this case, the position of the Government that I am in fact, not worthy of equality at all. I’ve been with my partner for over 12 years, and I, nor our relationship is worthy.

    Needless to say, I had to shut my door so as to hide my tears from my work colleagues. I wanted to curl up in a ball and fade away.

  5. I was married to a man when I was 22 years old, despised him by the time I was 24 and divorced him when I was 25. I had a number of other relationships after that but when I was about 40 I decided I couldn’t be bothered anymore. Most men simply aren’t worth the paper they are printed on anyway as I am sure most girls recognise as they get older. Course it didn’t help that the only one I ever really loved died when I was 21.

    I don’t care who marries who though and if Bob Brown wanted to marry his long term partner for equality or love or whatever who the hell am I to say he doesn’t have the right to stuff up or make it work.

    Marriage has not been a religious ceremony for decades – in many countries it is arranged by the families, in others they don’t bother and here in Australia the divorce rate is over 40% of all marriages.

    Every person is born equal in the eyes of the law. Full stop. Howard and Ruddock have stooped to the bottom of the barrel with this especially when we consider the refugee law that deliberately separates families and the new proposal that openly says it will send them to different countries regardless.

    WE have seen the trauma that law causes yet these two poison pygmies think they are being moral.

    They didn’t much care about blowing Iraqis and Afghans to bits, married or not. They don’t care if I live with any man I want but I would be condemned on the off chance I wanted a lesbian relationship.

    Ridiculous, homophobic nonsense.

  6. Marilyn’s post makes clear the man-hating agenda behind much of the feminist/gay lobby’s work.

    Since they hate me, I don’t support them. Tough luck, dudes.

  7. Yes, I listened to a lot of senate debate from my office too. A depressing day.

    One of my old history lecturers called it the “fallacy of the logical mind” – the strange condition a lot of us have (especially humanists) where we believe that if you use impeccable and sound reasoning you can convince other people to work against their own selfish interests.

  8. I suggest yuo and your lecturer read up on Transactional Analysis. You can nver overcome that old biological primary need.

  9. The real “fallacy of the logical mind” is the assumption that you are useing “impeccable and sound reasoning”, when really you are just as prejudiced and biased as anyone else — only less aware of your own shortcomings.

  10. I once thought that returning to Australia would be an ultimate refuge from the worst of US politics. But of late I’ve become convinced that John Howard is channeling George Bush! Canada is looking better all the time…

  11. Evil Pundit

    Marilyn isn’t gay as far as I can gather from her post, yet you accuse her of being representative of the feminist/gay lobby?

    Generalisations like those in your comment just make an arse out of you.

  12. EP, most of my best friends on the planet are men, just in relationships they are useless as they don’t allow me to use my brain and live my own life.

    You are pathetic.

  13. EP is a gem. This was getting depressing before he came along in his jester’s outfit.

    Homosexuality is getting more ordinary by the day. More and more heteros either know or know of homosexual couples and are realising how groundless their fears really are. There are stats all over the place (see Tim Phillips for example) which provide ample evidence that Australians are not generally homophobic and most of the comments around on this issue suggest that we’re not all that concerned about marriage being exclusively a male/female deal. There’s just not enough impact on our ability to purchase new white goods I guess.

    The ideal tradition of the nuclear family (a “tradition” invented post WWII – not very traditional) is not reflected in the census and hasn’t been for decades. It’s about time legislation reflected reality, since it’s had no luck trying to enforce the fantasy.

  14. I notice in the news today that the Governor-General has had his job extended by two years. I wonder if that came up during the conversation he would’ve had with Howard about the ACT laws?

    BTW, Evil Pundit:
    I actually believe people can sacrifice personal gain for a greater good. I know that seems old fashioned in these evil pundit filled times, but I guess it is one of my many biases.

  15. Very well put, Andrew. I’ve been really impressed with the contributions to the debate of many of the Democrat and Green Senators this time around.

    I wish I could say the same for the childish remarks of Senator Fielding and the reluctance of the Liberal moderates to take a stand on principle when it really mattered. I never thought I’d see the day when I’d be relying on Gary Humphries to defend my rights from the Liberal Party.

  16. Marilyn’s post makes clear the man-hating agenda behind much of the feminist/gay lobby’s work.

    So gay men who want to marry other men hate men? Of course, it all makes perfect sense!

  17. Thank you, Andrew.

    I’m not a wedge issue – I’m a human being. It shouldn’t matter that the government won’t acknowledge any relationship I enter. However, it really hurts to think that people believe I’m so disgusting and dirty that I don’t deserve legal rights.

  18. EP

    “The Muriels, which part of the word “feminist” don’t you understand?”

    So, what’s feminism got to do with equal rights for gays and lesbians?

  19. Great speech, AB. It’s just as heartbreaking to read this stuff from afar as it was watching it back in the day. Sigh.

  20. Very briefly, TheMuriels — the reason I am opposed to gay “marriage” is because of the people who support it.

    The politically correct lobby, feminists, radical gay activists, leftists, multiculturalists — in short, all those who make their hatred of whites, males and heterosexuals the basis of their political activities — support gay “marriage”.

    This alone is sufficient reason to oppose it. If these people support it, it must be a bad thing. The reasons why can be discovered later.

  21. Not exactly the most intellectually solid contribution to the issue, EP, but at least it’s honest (and saves time too I imagine)

    However, I suspect you’re basing your assessment on the mainstream media’s habit of pigeonholing people into the sort of prefabricated boxes you’ve described. World Championship Wrestling has more sophisticated assessment of characters and issues than you will get in most media coverage of political issues.

    Human beings are much more multi-layered and difficult to categorise than is usually portrayed in the media.

    To use even this issue as an example, Gary Humphries is usually seen as being on the conservative side of the spectrum when it comes to so-called moral issues (although not on the bug-eyed drooling extreme of some of his colleagues), yet he voted against the government on this matter.

    Liberal MP Warren Entsch would usually be seen as an anti-feminist ‘bloke’s bloke’ – a pro-development old style Qld dig it up and chop it down type of guy – yet he has done more than anyone in the Liberals in the last 10 years to push for an end to discrimination against same sex couples.

    Sadly, politics often does work the way you suggest – where any idea from the ‘other side’ must be bad regardless of what it is – but the real world isn’t yet as degraded.

  22. EP, I think your slurring of people who support civil unions for gay and lesbian people is an analysis of old.

    You can’t lump people in one group because of their views. That is not an accurate analysis at all. Politics in general and issues such as this involve opinions of people from a diverse range of society with largely varying views.

    I support civil unions and there are people and married couples out there who support civil unions who are not white haters, left wingers, gay lobbyists, multiculturalists etc… etc.. as you stated.

    I think you have displayed your own prejudices. You obviously don’t like that people have different opinions to you. Just because they have a different opinion to you doesn’t mean that they are left wingers, gay lobbyists, multiculturalists, those who advocate for the rights of indigenous australians and australians of a different culture to you etc.. etc..

    It seems that you have no ability to remove your prejudices from the debate.

    I think it is unacceptable to label someone because of their views. I am proud to stand up for my views, but I respect that others have opposing views. Yes, I do like to debate others on their views, but it is not right for anyone to use the language you have used in labelling people because they advocate civil unions.

  23. EP

    I’m a gay activist and a lesbian. I don’t hate “whites, males and heterosexuals”. Neither do any of my colleagues, male and female.

    You are generalising and in doing so, limiting your own experience of people.

    People are individuals, good and bad, but by generalising and saying, “I won’t support gay civil unions because ALL activists, feminists, etc hate me” really says more about where you’re at than it does about the people you claim are all the same.

    For example, I’m not too keen on the right-wing Christians who make it their life’s work to demonise and strip me of my dignity, but I’ve also met some wonderful, truly caring Christians who do not want our Govt to discriminate against me. If I was to take your line of thought, I would discount ALL Christians and label them ALL anti-gay. It’s nonsense, because they’re not all like that and what a loss for me and my development if I cut myself off from Christians who are loving and accepting.

    It really is a juvenile position to take. I hope you grow out of it.

  24. I think you will all find that people except others for what they are and always have.
    Gays have been around forever.

    Its the dancing and prancing in the streets dreesed up like women screaming > I am a whatever thats upset many.

    I once posted on this site about some people our family know that split.

    That in itself is nothing different but what made it different was that daddy Left not for another woman but a man.

    The kids are not all babbies and its been heart breaking watching the effect upon the two older children of that marraige.

    The fourteen year old boy has become very withdrawn and angry who was always a happy outgoing kid.

    Marraige is for having kids and kids are entiled to a secure home with a mother and a father.

    So as far as i can see it was far better in the old days when people put the feelings and thoughts for the children first.
    They still did whatever they did in their own private homes and so long as they are not hurting others or speading aids which is another problem with gays, then i guesss its their concern.

    Life is too short to argue but please re consider expecting the average jo blow to treat gay marraiges the same as marraiges.

    Its just really silly.

    Anybody who wishes to protect their gay partner only has to visit a lawyer and make their wishes clear.

    You dont have to advertise your a gay person because it really is not anybodys business other than your own PROVIDING your not tearing familes and little children apart.

  25. Andrew, an excellent speech. Unfortunate about the out-come, but the whole topic has been quite interesting from the out-set. The best part was to see Humphries cross the floor, just disappointing to see the (religious) right holding us back.

    EP, you have got to be the most ill-informed individual around. Because you are a feminist, does not necessarily make you gay. Because you are gay, does not necessarily make you a feminist. The two are not unilaterally associated.

    I would think you’d find that the “type” of people who support same sex marriage (feminists, radical gay activists, leftists, multiculturalists- according to you) do not in fact hate whites, males and heterosexuals, but just want to see a fair go for all.

    Your vast generalisations are offensive.

  26. Wendy

    A legal agreement does not give us the same benefits in Medicare, Superannuation, Social Security,Taxation, Veteran’s Benefits or Defence Forces.

  27. Evil Pundit:
    you said ==”The politically correct lobby, feminists, radical gay activists, leftists, multiculturalists — in short, all those who make their hatred of whites, males and heterosexuals the basis of their political activities — support gay “marriage”.”

    Guess what? I’m politically-veryINcorrect, horribly masculine, straight as a you-know-what, politically further to the right than Genghis Khan, proud of my own cultural heritage, white, male and an over-enthusiastic heterosexual ( well, at least so far as old age and decrepitude will or did allow) ….. and I support Civil Unions (which is not quite the same thing as that scary “gay marriage”) ….. because not having such a formal recognition recognition of the enduring devotion two people have for each other has led to fear, unnecessary anguish, disgusting exploitation and all manner of injustices …. not just for the two people involved but their families and friends as well. A well thought-out law for Civil Unions would provide protections and remove uncertainties.

    Why don’t you give it a go?

    Wendy Lewthwaite:
    Thanks for sharing your experiences though it must have been hard for you to do so.

  28. Marilyn Shepherd and The Muriels:
    I meant to say it before…. thanks for giving us all your experiences too.

  29. well done graham bell
    i think you are on the rite track with the idea of civil unions.
    sounds like a good idea.

  30. To The Muriels.

    You say a legal agreement does not give you the same rights with medi care. Yes it does. Also center link if you are treated as two singles you are actually far better off.

    I think what you are really trying to say is that you want the same respect and to be treated the same as a normal family of mother father and children.

    While I hear whats behind this I also see the pain of the confused kids that these shall we say different living arrangments bring.

    I am not so experienced with these types of problems not having kids myself to be honest but i have wittnessed the pain this very selfish father has caused his lovely kids.

    I just do not see that anything can warrent such actions and feel gays were in a way more thoughtful when they were not so > out there for the want of a better word.

    Sorry I just DONT see that is normal or anything you would wish to advertise to the world.

    What about these children I note you have made no comment?
    I can assure you they will never get over it.

    Dont you think in a marriage children should come first.?

  31. Muriels Family .
    I read your post about sitting in your office crying. I ask you to consider others are crying as well such as young children.

    Here is another example. Maybe you have a answer to this problem but i dont think so.

    I also didnt mention another case which is alomost the same but actually a relative.

    A cousin of mine in Sydneys son who has lived with the most loevly girl Viv for years before they were married and now how four lovely kids has ended the marraige and now his boyfriend lives in the kids home while viv moved away and is paying rent.

    The fact is two gay men earn as an average more than other households yet Vivs had to go and take the children.
    Part of that was I am told because she was so ashamed.
    I guess its hard for you to undertstand but can you try to put yourself in her postion.

    Viv worked hard for years doing three jobs while Garry put himself through study.

    Garys mother never got over it and I can say I think she hanled the whole matter badly.

    Then again its easy for me to say considering I was not the one in her postion.
    Her darling Son she was so proud of the apple of her eye dumps his wife and kids for a bloke.

    Garys father died last year and Viv took the children to the funeral to say goodbye to their grandfather.

    It must have been hard for her to speak to her husbands boyfriend but she did.

    I addmitt to feeling nothing but anger towards Gary for putting his wife and kids in such a postion.][ He used to be my favouite]

    I was SO proud of Viv at that funeral and with the way she has hanled this in general.

    Viv has some aboriginal background and has worked hard to educate herself and live with some discrimination. She one of the most beatuful looking girls I have ever seen.

    Sadly all I felt like doing with Gary was to kick him up the selfish bum.

    The family used to go to Gary and vivs every week for dinner and its sadly missed. They tell me to lover plays the piano nicely and they did attend one dinner for Garys sake.

    My other cousin Kerry with whom I am very close said she sat there thinking my god wheres Viv.

    She said she could not help it because the anger swelled up inside her as she watched this guy who had moved into the family home kicking the kids into a rented property sit there and play the most beatuful music.
    All our family are very big fans of classical music and I am told he plays very well.
    Kerry said she had to leave the room because the anger and the tears were just pouring down her face.

    Neither one of us have ever heard that particluar piece of music without thinking of dear sweet kind Viv and the poor liitle kids.

    I know you dont have the answer and maybe in your case there are no children but we need to protect them from this.
    Now if I know two familes effected by dads changing teams how many more must be out there hurting.

    Dont you see thats why we have laws and we dont want them changed. Do you have any idea how cruel school mates can be to these poor kids who dads go off with another bloke.
    Do you care?

  32. Wendy,
    If you’re so pro-marriage, why are you trying to stop people doing it?

    You are just demonising gay people to distract from your own intolerance and uncomfortableness with them. What difference does it make if a person leaves a marriage for a gay relationship or a straight one?!

    The hurt is the same and the impact on the children is the same. Also, the reasons people leave marriages are as infinite as the number of situations where this happen.

    The only thing that is different is that bigots use it as a chance to attack gay people for’breaking up marriages’, despite never attacking straight people for doing the same even though it happens 100 times more often. The bigots also create unnecessary ‘shame’ for kids and the parent and add an extra social stigma to a situation which is already difficult. Well done.

  33. I notice that many people here have preconceived, stereotyped views about me. That’s not surprising.

    My 15-odd years as a left-wing activist at all levels from the grassroots to Federal Parliament provide the basis for my knowledge of political correctness. It has been my consistent experience that policies which are proposed on the basis of “equality” or “non-discrimination” turn out to be stalking horses for attacks on stigmatised groups such as white, heterosexual men.

    This seems to be universal in the identity politics of the Left, and hence I believe all such movements should be opposed on principle — at least, until the elimination of the rigid categorisation and hierarchy of victimhood on which political correctess is based.

  34. Tom2:
    Sorry but I don’t see where Wendy Lewthwaite was attacking or “demonizing gay people”. She has obviously been very hurt by her own unfortunate experiences so any feelings of discomfort are quite understandable. She’s not a bigot …. and Bigot is not a label that can be stuck on people just because they disagree with homos*xual behavior. Tolerance includes people whose views contradict your own.

    Evil Pundit:
    Sadly, you are right about anti-discrimination policies being worse than useless …. I still have a letter from the, then, Federal Attorney-General giving a green light for the vilification of and discrimination against Australian war veterans !!!

  35. Wendy

    I have spoken to you at length about the family situation that you write about on this site in a previous post.

    I want to get back to Medicare Safety-Nets and how you think a legal agreement between myself and my partner can allow us to claim it as a couple.

    I’ll give you a tip. It can’t.

    Neither can it for superannuation splitting, taxation offsets, defence force benefits or veteran’s benefits.

    I don’t mind debating with people, but when you have CONSISTENTLY refused to find out the facts and continue to maintain a position which is NOT CORRECT, I’m afraid I can have little more time for you.

  36. And, Wendy, to reiterate what I have said in the past, relationship breakdown where children are involved is ALWAYS a tragedy – it matters not the gender of the people involved.

  37. My, that’s a long speech. But a very good one. I hope there was yelling involved.

    So, what’s feminism got to do with equal rights for gays and lesbians?

    Oh there’s a whole discipline of the intersection between queer and feminist theory. A very interesting area, actually. How part of the stigma of gay people comes from the subversion of gender roles and such. It’s well worth reading up on. A big hooray to EP for being honest, if a major idiot.

  38. To The Muriels.

    Medi Care is not so expensive that working people cant afford to pay a few dollars a week and even people on center link have it paid direct .
    We are lucky with health care in Australia because warts and all its still one of the best systems in the world. However I got to thinking you might have something in your matter. The Private health would be crazy to mis out on strong pink money so why not write to them with a proposal of a package for gay couples.
    Its up to them and if they wish to give certain conditions and discounts to gay people living as couples I can only see it as being a good business move for them and perhaps you would feel happier that your partner and yourself were acknowledged in some way.
    In that sense I tend to agree with you about being acknowledged because if your loved one or partner were ill or terminal I think you should have the same rights to express your very close and special bond or connection to that person.

    It would be awful for eg if you were told to nic off because you were not family and terrible for the person who was ill if he or she wanted you there.

    Why not try writing to some of the private health companies because you could also help thousands of others.

    I dont really think you are so concerned about a few extra dollars so much as you are basic rights and in such a case i would have to agree with you.

    As for the center link payments i guess if the Good Old government wake up they would actually be paying less for gay couples than people living together as two singles they would be all over it.

    There are many interesting points of law when you really look into things and to be honest legally your looking good.
    You have Anndrew onside who has always been ready to support gays so thats something and Bob Brown as well.

    Howards already said he agrees with changing super and a few other bits and peices.

    You have to find inner peace however within yourself. You seem angry that some people oppose legal gay marraiges but you have to understand that thats just the way they feel about Marraige and having kids and its not a personal assult on yourself or ypour partner.

    For what I know of gays they are mostly sensitive with a high IQ and very tidy so theres three blessings.
    The point is dont knock yourself out worrying about what others think.
    Apart from the two matters i raised where dads have left their marraiges with young children involved and joined the other team i cant see that it is any bodys business what people do.
    I personally hATE those stupid gay festivals they have but thats just me being pretty old school. To me its sort of like they dont even respect themselves.
    That brings me to those kids of those marraiges and how its effected their lives and to be really honest i dont have a clue what the answer is Mr Muriel and If you were honest you would probably say the same thing.
    I mean we are speaking of fourteen year olds and twleve year olds that have only ever known mummy and daddy and their worlds ripped apart.

    You must know how cruel other kids can be at school Mr Muriel and I dont think its right.
    No I dont have the answers probably anymore than you do.
    Good Luck with the private health . Maybe you can set yourself up as the first gay private health agent.
    Mean time i still beleive in a man and a women and the children but that does not stop you from living a happy life. As they say life is what you make it so dont worry if everybody does not agree with you about every single thing .
    Its Ok to be different just so long as you treat every living creature well.
    Good Luck

  39. Wendy

    It’s not Medicare itself, it’s the Medicare Safety-Net. Myself and my partner have spent $20K last year on medical treatment. If we were a straight de facto couple, we’d have to reach out of pocket expenses of $1,000 between us before we could claim an 80% rebate on the rest. Because we’re gay, we have to reach $1,000 EACH before we are eligible. DOUBLE a straight de facto couple! Private Health care already recognise gay couples.

    I don’t think you really understand where I’m coming from, even though I can see you are trying to. I want myself and my partner to be treated exactly equal under the law as a straight de facto couple.

    I am angry that every day my life is affected in some way by a piece of Federal legislation that prevents me receiving the same benefits as every other couple in this country.

    It’s difficult for you to understand what it’s like without being directly affected by it.

  40. The Muriels.
    I see your point, to a point.
    Beleive it or not I am not trying to be difficult. I just dont see why with so many high profile gays and the strong pink money somebody cant just kick off another fund whose share holders choose to pay the same levels as other couples.
    I know thats not what you want but small changes bring about larger changes down the track.

    Others would see it as a break down of our soceity of course. However it should be more fair in a financial sense.

    What I mean by that is that as the Australian Government and other countries no longer see gays as illegal like the old days, then its discrimination to charge you more taxes etc than the rest of us.

    They cant screw you like that. You are correct.

    The counter argument to that of course has got to be that these are some of the reasons old foggies like me dont like any changes at all.

    It starts with amending one thing and leads to an enourmous mess such as the one you have pointed out.

    Eventually if we keep chipping away we dont have the soceity we had .

    I think this is too tough on little kids to grow up in such a mixed up stuffed up world.

    Not much help am I.

    What about Elton John? He should know some big wigs to kick off a new health sytem.
    I sincerly agree with you on that point and its unfair and it stinks if its just everyday health.

    If you can come up with a method where by gay couples paying a slightly higher tax rate but after that are treated the same you might be on a winner.

    I know that sounds unfair but if you want to win you must know the Government enjoy taking more taxes from gay couples anyway.

    Pink money is very strong with mostly both partners working and usually in profeshional jobs and that has never escaped the Governments eye.

    I think from a legal point of view you have a really strong if not interesting case because they cant have it both ways with a shilling on the side each way.

    That however does not help with what many see as a breakdown of the meaning of the word marraige with the traditional Mum Dad and kids.

    I guess what I am trying to say is we already see you as equals but we get threatended when you start wanting the same right to marry and be acknowledged in the same way as us.

    That makes us all two things. Hypocrits and feeling threatend.

    You have a happy relashonship of twelve years. thats something most only dream of.

    Count your blessings and try not to scare the old foggies too much.
    They have rights too. Mainly they want to bring kids up with good old fashioned morals in this carey world.
    Dont hate them for that.
    Best wishes.

  41. Wendy

    I understand why some people are against change, I don’t hate anyone for that, but I will continue to point out the inequalities in Australia today in the hope that people like you can see what it’s like for us.

    As far as paying more tax – we already do! We have to pay tax as two individuals rather than pooling our income as a couple and being able to claim benefits in tax offsets and the like.

    Truly, Wendy – just about every Federal law you can think of has us paying double. And Federal law can’t be changed by setting up private arrangements – it’s the law and applies to all citizens.

    On the pink dollar thing – we’re a varied group of people. Some of us are as poor as church mice, financially, we range no differently to heterosexuals – honestly, but then we have to pay more.

    Thank you for trying to understand.

  42. To The Muriels.

    I do see that your correct on the taxes super health and on a point of law or laws you should certainly get on that I am sure.

    Maybe the darn Government should have just left it as it was .
    Now it does not seem fair to anybody at all.

    Best Wishes

  43. i have a projest to do on suggested law changes in australia. i was going to do it on gay marraiges and the law, but it is so hard to find any information. i dont know what the law is now. i dont know if there is a bill going through parliment! its is difficult! i just want something i can understand and put into my own words.

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