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Newman v gays: where else but Queensland?

There’s something that’s been missing from the commentary regarding the Queensland government’s changes to civil union and surrogacy rights for same-s-x couples. It’s that this is the most significant rollback of gay and lesbian rights by a government in the Western world, ever.

Sound like an exaggeration? It’s not.

While rights (such as marriage) have often been denied in various locations in the US and Europe, rarely have we seen the eradication of standing minority rights and protections. California’s Proposition 8 ballot measure to revoke the right of gay couples to marry is the closest equivalent to what’s currently unfolding in Queensland.

What we’re seeing in the Sunshine State is unprecedented; a significant, successive series of law reforms aimed solely at removing rights from a minority and prioritised by a government before it has even reached 100 days in power.

This world record is unenviable — whether you’re gay or straight.

It was a three-pronged plan starting with the removal of the most significant voice for LGBT Queenslanders, the Queensland Association for Healthy Communities. The state’s only health organisation for gays had nearly $2.6 million in funding stripped by Health Minister Lawrence Springborg in May for focusing too much on “political issues”.

Their only significant support body removed, it was on to civil unions, which saw Premier Campbell Newman stumble through half-truths about “compromise” with the state’s religious groups.

Already beholden to the far Right of the party room, the so-called compromise of simply removing state-sanctioned ceremonies quickly became a gutting of the entire Civil Partnerships Act and the introduction of a relationship register instead.

There were no press conferences this time, no explanations about why Newman had initially sought to calm fears about a rollback and tout his credentials as a master social policy negotiator. Civil unions simply ceased to exist in the early hours of Friday, June 22.

While Newman was at pains to try to disguise the fact that the LGBT community was under attack from the new government, there were no such signs of remorse or embarrassment from Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie. In fact, Bleijie couldn’t wait to reveal that this was merely the beginning of what he had in store for gay and lesbian couples. The night changes to civil unions were pushed through, he unexpectedly announced in Parliament that next on the list for reform was Queensland’s surrogacy laws — changed in 2010 to allow same-s-x couples and singles the right to access altruistic (non-commercial) surrogacy.

Newman said as late as March that surrogacy laws were not going to be touched. Bleijie later informed us on Friday that the Premier just hadn’t been “briefed” on the LNP’s urgent plan to stop same-s-x surrogacy.

If you thought Bleijie was barely able to hold back his excitement, the Australian Christian Lobby went further. ACL chief of staff Lyle Shelton and Queensland director Wendy Francis welcomed the news that gays would be stopped from “acquiring babies”.

Despite falling over themselves with excitement, you’d be wrong in thinking Christian groups such as ACL have a lot of lobbying power up here — they hadn’t really mentioned surrogacy at all. The truth is the LNP, for all intents and purposes, are the Christian lobby.

One of the first couples to register their civil union in Queensland was Michael O’Brien and Anthony Gillespie. The couple are no strangers to having their relationship politicised. They featured in the controversial Rip N Roll safe s-x advertising campaign  —  created by the Queensland Association for Healthy Communities — that caused all sorts of grief for outdoor advertising companies in the state following another ACL outcry last year.

Understandably, the couple aren’t overjoyed at the fact that their relationship is once again the subject of debate over its worth in Queensland.

Changing the name [of civil unions] has made it akin to registering pets, but to be honest I’m almost more disappointed at how underhanded it was,” O’Brien said. “It wasn’t mentioned in the premier’s press conference, it was just ‘oh, by the way we’re changing the name from civil unions’. We were completely lied to.”

O’Brien, who has a son with his partner, says he’s furious he will also have the option for future surrogacy options denied to him.

It’s gut wrenching to think the government completely undervalues our ability to be parents and to be decent human beings,” he said. ”It wasn’t put up for discussion. It was simply just another move to legislate against the LGBT community.

You have a whole lot of family situations that break down and they’re basically saying that homos-xuals are the ones that are not going to be able to do it right. Well, no one else seems to be able to do it right, so why can’t we have a shot?”

There’s a wider issue here too, beyond repealing legal rights — significant as that may be. It’s the message that these reforms and their urgency send to the state’s LGBT population. How else is your average gay Queenslander to see this remarkable attack on their rights other than that their government is so hostile towards them that it would preference these social changes before an ailing economy and desperately needed infrastructure?

It’s undoubtedly damaging to the mental health of local gay men and women, already worn down by the increased hostility that has spawned from the federal marriage debate. Spread too thin over numerous battlegrounds without a champion to voice their concerns nationally, the local LGBT community is nearing lethargy.

After the March election, they’ve been left with a state speaker who once advocated “ex-gay” therapy on the floor of Parliament, an ambivalent Premier unable to control the anti-gay animus of his massive majority, and a state opposition too small to be competent at sounding the alarm over just how significant and frightening these rights rollbacks are.

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  • 1
    Powerfox junior
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    Isn’t ignorance and hatred disguised as fundamentalist Christianity a “lifestyle choice”? Yes, some of us are “worn down” and fed up, but not by the debate per se. Its the quality of the debate and the sheer narrow-minded nastiness that is wearing and sad. Civilised society? Hardly.

  • 2
    Modus Ponens
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    Ah single house parliaments, an elected dictatorship masquerading as democracy.

  • 3
    j.oneill
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    What has just happened in Queensland and what is yet to come highlights two fundamental flaws in our political system. The first is a voting system that allows such a massively one-sided result in the Parliament when the winning party mustered barely 50% of the vote yet got 80% of the seats. We now have an opposition too small to provide people for the committee system, one of the fundamental parts of parliamentary democracy. Newman and his antidemocratic colleagues promptly decided that they didn’t need committee scrutiny of their legislation because they “had a mandate”. This not only displays a shocking ignorance of the meaning ofparliamentary democracy, it also betrays a fundamental arrogance of power.

    The second flaw the repealing of gay rights exposes is the lack of a Bill or Charter of Human Rights along the NZ or Canadian models that would give aggrieved persons a legal basis to challenge legislation which so fundamentally alters the rights of a specific group or groups in a negative way.

    Anti Bill of Rights persons have been conspicuously silent on the Queensland government’s full frontal assault on basic human rights. We are marching backwards to the worst aspects of the Bjelke Petersen and before era and nobody seems to give a damn. What is wrong with this country?

  • 4
    Jack Phat
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    ** NOTE FROM MODERATORS **

    This comment was vulgar and inappropriate and has subsequently been removed. Please exercise some maturity when engaging in discussion with other people.

    If you don’t have anything intelligent to add to the discussion, here’s a thought: don’t add anything. And if you’re in doubt, consult our moderation guidelines.

  • 5
    Matt Hardin
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    No Jack, you are wrong. I am straight but I think that gay people are normal. I am sure that there are other straight people who think so to.

    I am also surprised your offensive rant, devoid of any argument, logic or grammar, made it past the moderator.

  • 6
    rachel612
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    Where’s the moderator? In a fair average world Jack Phat’s little outburst would pass for hate speech.

  • 7
    Modus Ponens
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    Queenslanders think they are normal. Point proven.

  • 8
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    Lets be real here about the changes to Civil Unions in Queensland, the only reason that Labor sponsored them at all was as an attempt to distract the public form their woeful performance in government, it failed to do that. Labor were utterly defeated and rightly so. Newman went to the electorate promising to abolish civil unions altogether and he subsequently pulled back from that undertaking to instead just remove the parts of the legislation that mimicked marriage. Many of us see that as a reasonable compromise.

    As for surrogacy well I have my doubts about it for anyone if it ends up alienating any child produced form at least one of their biological parents.

    If you are Gay in Queensland there is absolutely nothing stopping you living an loving entirely as you please which as far better than in most parts of the world world.

  • 9
    Hugh (Charlie) McColl
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    Iain Hall, just because the Bligh ALP government was politically and morally bankrupt doesn’t mean that civil unions, gay marriage or the surrogacy laws were without merit. When you say “Many of us….”, do you mean Queenslanders, homophobes, ill-informed know-alls or just regular suburban LNP voters? Do you see every moral and ethical outcome as a “reasonable compromise” - given the circumstances? Frankly Iain, how do you know what it is like to be “Gay in Queensland”?

  • 10
    Flynn Thompson
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    God there’s a nasty element to Queensland society that just won’t go away. So sick of these people and their prejudices.

  • 11
    Sexual Lobster
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    @Jack Phat

    As another straight Queenslander I also want to say you are wrong and are in the minority in this state. The majority of Queenslanders are not homophobic. I like to think that the LNP was elected despite their homophobia not because of it.

    @Flynn Thompson

    There is a nasty element in every state, we’re just the unlucky ones with a single house parliament and a homophobic premier.

  • 12
    Bill Hilliger
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    @J ONEILL: the same will happen at the federal level with the Abbott led coalition, many of whom are of the same ilk as the Queensland lot. Hang on to your seat for the ride in 2013.

  • 13
    Sancho
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    Whether or not it’s a flaw in our electoral system, this is entirely routine in Australia.

    Labor had been in power so long it had no idea that it had to please the public, so the public had a wild night of voting for the opposition, and woke up to realise what a horrible mistake it had made.

    It’s easy for me to be glib because I’m not in QLD, but in the long term this is just the sort of extremism that will see the Liberals in opposition for another couple of decades.

  • 14
    Monash.Edu
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    People, Jack’s post is clearly satirical. What kind of moron would write “I’m a Maroon Neck and proud of it” and not be joking? Surely Queenslanders can’t be THAT dumb.

    @Sexual Lobster, a sad thing about this situation is that Newman has actually expressed support for same-sex marriage in the past. I get the sense he’s in a bit of a Turnbull situation: politically [somewhat] progressive, but bound by the lunatic fringe in his party room.

    What I don’t get is, didn’t the Queensland Liberals join in on the outrage over Katter’s weird ad, calling it homophobic et al? Given their post-election behaviour, a better approach might have been something like: “It’s alright Bob, we hate gays too”.

  • 15
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    I think it might well be somewhat of a pyrrhic victory anyway for the fundamentalists - civil unions were an attempt at compromise between equality and non-equality, a way to sort of hive off some supporters for equality with an “almost good enough” version that maintained their second-class status.

    Getting rid of it just highlights that the only equality is full equality. You can’t be “a little bit equal”. You either are or you aren’t.

    The community will now unite for full marriage rights. The half-arsed faux-marriage not-actually-equality “civil unions” are now dead as an option.

  • 16
    Peter Gersbach
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    Right behind him there Jack? Is that your Freudian Slip?

  • 17
    neridalw
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    I am so sad and incensed that bigots have been elected as leaders in our country. The Queensland government is a joke. These decisions shouldn’t be made by extremist individuals with no empathy. These decisions should be made by us; where’s our conscience vote? This is about ideology, not about what’s going to advance the state or country. Queenslanders, please vote these people OUT as soon as you can.

  • 18
    gikku
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    umm, it’s Queensland, they’re playing to the script.
    1955
    timezones
    faded curtains…

  • 19
    rachel612
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    @Monash.edu.

    It’s all very well to be a post-ironic post-modernist inclined to post-satirical discourse, but there’s a difference between funny and offensively dumb. If it’s a joke, please explain what’s funny.

    Gay people aren’t normal tickled the funny bone, did it? Fancy a few race jokes while we’re at it … in a satirical KKK sort of way …

  • 20
    j.oneill
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    @ Bill Hilliger.

    Precisely Bill, which hopefully reinforces my point.

  • 21
    Townsend Ruth
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    Queensland. Beautiful one day, bigoted, prejudicial, ignorant morons the next.

  • 22
    robinw
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

    Jeez Jack Phat, so you’re right behind Campbell Newman are you? I don’t know who would find that more pleasurable, Campbell or you.

  • 23
    Paddy Forsayeth
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    After the Qld. election I thought of a poster to sum it up: Camp Bell holding a cane with the caption” You’ve asked for it…now you’re gunna get it!!” Spare a thought for us poor bastards living in NLP land. There have been a number of good comments, viz: far too many parliamentary seats in proportion to the percentage of votes; no house of review; no bipartisan committees; the screwy Christian ‘lobby’. I live in far north Qld. and believe you me the further north (or west) you get the more stupid and bigoted the voter. Racism is open, vile and tolerated.To paraphrase the “I shoot and I vote” we should have “I’m a blithering idiot and they let me vote.” This is just a warm up for the obliteration of decency and fair play when Tony the cretin Abbot and Hyena Pyne get their paws on the levers of power. Won’t Clive and Gina jump for joy when that happens (what? jump? I guess not….)

  • 24
    zut alors
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

    Give it another 5 years and the TV series Time Team can do a programme in Brisbane: an architectural dig to unearth clues of what was it was once like to live in a fairly progressive society pre-Newman.

  • 25
    Maynos
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

    I am completely against the Newman government’s stance on this issue but am also very puzzled as to why Crikey feels the need to publish to word “sex” as “s-x”or “homosexual” as “homos-xual”- it seems ironic to be writing an article against the unprecedented attack on the rights of the LGBT community whilst simultaneously adhering to the outdated notion that readers will find these words shocking, unpalatable, or offensive… or Crikey eds is there another explanation??

  • 26
    dag
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

    The Banana Curtain is back!

  • 27
    zut alors
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

    @Maynos, if you scroll down to the very end of your Crikey daily bulletin you will see the explanation - it’s to do with over-sensitive filtering by some servers.

  • 28
    Maynos
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

    Aha! Thanks @Zut Alors- makes sense, cheers

  • 29
    mrsynik
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

    Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie”

    This guys names spelling is so close to Bjelke, so its not just the policies that are being wound back to the pre 1987 days of bigoted Queensland.

  • 30
    dazza
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

    Prior to the state election Mr Newman confirmed the surrogate laws will not be touched. However, the CEO of Queensland, Mr Palmer, didn’t agree and told him so.

  • 31
    AR
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

    The sole scrap of hope to come from the tory takeovers of the States (hang in the SA & Tassy) is that it may just scare enough voters into realising the horror of them assuming federal power. Serf Choices, gutting & selling ABC, Medicare, rescinind mining taxes, fundamentalism from Pell’s poodle, oh the inhumanity but we have been forewarned.

  • 32
    scot mcphee
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

    The Qld LNP are fascists, pure and simple.

  • 33
    Moira Smith
    Posted Wednesday, 27 June 2012 at 12:22 am | Permalink

    Bleijie’ - was this a typo for ‘Bjelke’ ??

  • 34
    Harry Rogers
    Posted Wednesday, 27 June 2012 at 2:55 am | Permalink

    Astounding the amount of coverage world wide that homosexulas get .

    By the way if someone who is opposed to homosexuality is in the lexicon , a homophobe (correct?) what is somebody who supports heterosexuality called, a heterophobe??

  • 35
    jeebus
    Posted Wednesday, 27 June 2012 at 4:19 am | Permalink

    A chap by the name of Jacob Holman sorted all of the Australian Christian Lobby’s press releases for 2012 and found 120 related to gays and a whopping ZERO related to poverty.

    A few days ago, Major Andrew Craibe of the Salvation Army did a radio interview to defend the inclusion of references in the Salvos training manual that gays deserve to die, and to complain about the calls for a boycott from gay groups in response to being told they deserve to die.

    For the record, the Salvo’s training manual does not reference biblical passages that call for adulterers, and children who disobey their parents to be put to death.

    And this is what it comes down to. The blatant hypocrisy of picking and choosing which biblical laws they want to try and cram down the rest of our throats. We don’t see them lobbying politicians to outlaw divorce, do we? Or to make adultery a criminal offence? Or to stop everyone from eating prawns because they are deemed ‘unclean’?

    We don’t need to talk about the irrationality of trying to live by the laws of a 2,000 year old middle eastern desert tribe, because it’s clear that all Australian Christian groups choose to ignore the biblical laws they don’t like.

    What we do need to talk about is the recent move by church leaders in Australia to focus on morality over delivering charity.

    It’s fine to have an opinion on a social issue and be able to debate it using facts and reasoning. What I object to is using a belief as a cowardly wall to hide behind in order to attack people who are different from you.

    Australian religious leaders need to seriously rethink their attempts to try and legislate religious morality, because it is taking the focus off the good work their organisations are involved with, and will harm them over the long term.

  • 36
    Posted Wednesday, 27 June 2012 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    Hugh (Charlie) McColl

    Iain Hall, just because the Bligh ALP government was politically and morally bankrupt doesn’t mean that civil unions, gay marriage or the surrogacy laws were without merit.

    I have long advocated a form of Civil Unions as an alternative to any change to the marriage act for same sex couples and when Newman said during the campaign that he would repeal the act I was rather disappointed. But I am also a realist and I realised long ago that if both sides of an argument are to some extent unhappy with the result then it probably means the compromise is fair. As a conservative I think that any social change should be slow and incremental. Lets see how the situation here develops over the next decade or so and then we will see how our society feels about same sex marriage.

    When you say “Many of us….”, do you mean Queenslanders, homophobes, ill-informed know-alls or just regular suburban LNP voters?

    I mean Queenslanders first and foremost followed by suburban LNP voters. The tendency to suggest, as you do here, that anyone who has qualms about changing the marriage act does so out of any hatred of homosexuals is petty and flat out wrong.

    Do you see every moral and ethical outcome as a “reasonable compromise” - given the circumstances?

    What on earth are you on about with this question?

    The essence of democratic politics is compromise and the accommodation and reconciliation of differing viewpoints. In my experience only the ideologically blinkered think that compromise is a bad thing.

    Frankly Iain, how do you know what it is like to be “Gay in Queensland”?

    Well the standard answer is clearly I have family members who bat for the other team but also since it has become far less of a secret society to be gay its no big secret any more. Sadly far too many think that it still is.


    Flynn Thompson

    God there’s a nasty element to Queensland society that just won’t go away. So sick of these people and their prejudices.

    Mate, the real nasty element is the hard left ideologues (probably not unlike yourself) who can’t accept that anyone can disagree with their political viewpoint on an issue without it making them “evil”.

    Jeremy Sear

    I think it might well be somewhat of a pyrrhic victory anyway for the fundamentalists - civil unions were an attempt at compromise between equality and non-equality, a way to sort of hive off some supporters for equality with an “almost good enough” version that maintained their second-class status.

    Jezza, Mate,
    You are utterly kidding yourself here! The Queensland Labor party have a block booking for the political wilderness for the next decade at least which means that the changes wrought by Newman will stand for that long at least. At a federal level Labor is travelling no better than Bligh was before her resounding defeat so there is absolutely no chance that there will be any change to the marriage act under the Gillard government and even less chance of it being changed under an Abbott government. Do you really think that the Gay marriage rent a crowd can sustain its focus in the long run? I don’t.

    Getting rid of it just highlights that the only equality is full equality. You can’t be “a little bit equal”. You either are or you aren’t.

    This is a stupid argument because the issue is not “equality” its protecting the legal interests of individuals in a same sex relationship and a relationship register does precisely that.

    The community will now unite for full marriage rights. The half-arsed faux-marriage not-actually-equality “civil unions” are now dead as an option.

    Really? you are running “the people will rise up” argument? Gay marriage has always been little more than a side issue in Australian politics used by dull would be activists like you to make yourself feel like you are fighting the good fight. You aren’t going to win and when the bills before the parliament are soundly defeated what then? You have to ask yourself is there enough political Viagra on the planet to sustain this campaign for the next decade or more or will the country just breath a sigh of relief when it is, like Julia Gillard, consigned to the dustbin of history.

  • 37
    jeebus
    Posted Wednesday, 27 June 2012 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    @Iain, it’s interesting that you would devote so many words of such little passion to this issue.

    It doesn’t really sound to me like you are invested either way, other than wanting to slow the rate of social change because of your aforementioned conservative nature. What your comments tell me, is that for you, gay rights are little more than fringe politics. You don’t have any skin in the game, so to speak.

    I challenge you to watch the Q & A clip of Joe Hockey telling Penny Wong to her face that he and his wife make better parents than Penny and her wife by virtue of their gender alone. You can see in his face how uncomfortable he is with the words coming out of his own mouth.

    And this is the reason why those in support of marriage equality will ultimately win. Because people like Penny Wong are not asking for special rights. They are asking for equal rights.

    And there is no good reason not to extend those rights to them.

  • 38
    Nerrilyn Diefenbach
    Posted Wednesday, 27 June 2012 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    This issue for me is personal not political because it is central to the wellbeing and worth of my family. I simply want one of these politicians who oppose equality for my gay son, regardless of what political party they belong to, to tell me truthfully why they believe it is okay that my son is less valued in our Australian society. Why is he not treated equally under the law? Why in the state in which he was born, are his rights not just being denied him but now under this LNP government, are they being taken from him? What effect do you think this kind of blatant discrimination has on LGBTI teenagers who grew up trusting and believing they were equal and were taught that they lived in a democratic society where all should be treated as such. Then they discover at some point in their life that being true to who they really are means accepting that they are in fact second class citizens and that the society they live in is on the whole OK with this.

    Please explain to me why your heterosexual son or daughter is more valued and treated with greater respect and dignity than my homosexual son. If you think this issue will fade and die simply because the LGBTI community will tire under this ultra conservative government them you are very wrong. You are not just fighting them you are fighting us…… their mothers, their fathers, their grandparents, their siblings, their cousins, their friends. This is about family. This is about MY family. This issue will NOT go away because it is at the very core of what it means to be an Australian. This fight will never end for me until my son has FULL equality under the law. This is his and my birth right as Australian citizens!

    From “just another dull activist”

  • 39
    Hugh (Charlie) McColl
    Posted Wednesday, 27 June 2012 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    Iain Hall, thanks for your detailed response. I’d like to take you up on one part of it:

    As a conservative I think that any social change should be slow and incremental. Lets see how the situation here develops over the next decade or so and then we will see how our society feels about same sex marriage.”

    When John Howard amended the Marriage Act in 2004 he did so specifically to prevent same sex marriage. He didn’t think about “slow and incremental” change, he went straight for the legislative jugular and cut off the blood supply. I can’t say I saw your name in lights at the time but I’d be prepared to wager that you never objected to this particular act of bastardry. Remember, before Howard’s move, the Commonwealth (legislation) was silent on same sex marriage, allowing the states to do as they pleased. Suddenly, without consultation, without a mandate and in a direct confrontation with a significant part of our community, the prime minister showed his activist conservative colours.
    Now another conservative, Tony Abbott, is opening up a front that is similarly unLiberal. The man of morality and conscience, of freedom of speech and action, will not allow a conscience vote of his Coalition colleagues. Now I appreciate that you (Iain) think that this gay marriage thing is a side issue, maybe not trivial but not really deserving of the attention it is getting. But why is it getting this attention? It’s because people, not you and yours but other people, do not think it is trivial. Tony Abbott thinks it’s trivial and he treats the whole matter with contempt - including taking the specifically political manoeuvre of preventing his colleagues from exercising their conscience on this question. Abbott is instructing our parliamentary representatives how to vote - just like he says union heavies instruct Labor members how to vote. Do you, as a conservative, support Abbott in this move?

  • 40
    blocker lock
    Posted Wednesday, 27 June 2012 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    Its the ‘God Delusion’ continuing to encroach on politics…
    People,…people are people, we are the same. The sooner Australia’s leaders accept their complicity and deliberate sabotage of human rights, the sooner we can move on to a fair and just society.
    If there is this ‘hell’ they believe in, be sure, they will burn there for eternity!

    ONLY IN QLD!

  • 41
    Posted Wednesday, 27 June 2012 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    @ jeebus

    @Iain, it’s interesting that you would devote so many words of such little passion to this issue.

    Well frankly there has been more that enough “passion” about this issue from both sides so I just want to suggest that good sense and a little lateral thinking on this matter is what is really called for here.

    It doesn’t really sound to me like you are invested either way, other than wanting to slow the rate of social change because of your aforementioned conservative nature. What your comments tell me, is that for you, gay rights are little more than fringe politics. You don’t have any skin in the game, so to speak.

    Of course I’ve got “skin in the game” I have children and I am rather concerned about the nature of our society that they will experience.

    I challenge you to watch the Q & A clip of Joe Hockey telling Penny Wong to her face that he and his wife make better parents than Penny and her wife by virtue of their gender alone. You can see in his face how uncomfortable he is with the words coming out of his own mouth.

    Seen it and not that impressed either way to be honest

    And this is the reason why those in support of marriage equality will ultimately win. Because people like Penny Wong are not asking for special rights. They are asking for equal rights.

    They have the same rights as any other Australian to establish any sort of relationship that they please and no one gives a toss, that is the important thing here being able to call their pairing a marriage will not change the nature of their relationship or how well it is respected by society.

    And there is no good reason not to extend those rights to them.

    Like wise there is no good reason to change the status quo when homosexuals can openly live and love as they please

    @ Nerrilyn Diefenbach

    This issue for me is personal not political because it is central to the wellbeing and worth of my family. I simply want one of these politicians who oppose equality for my gay son, regardless of what political party they belong to, to tell me truthfully why they believe it is okay that my son is less valued in our Australian society.

    Why on earth do you think that your son not being able to call a pairing a marriage means that he is less valued by society? what he does in his personal life is surely far less significant than what he contributes to our society either in his profession or by performing altruistic service.

    Why is he not treated equally under the law?

    Are apples and oranges the same thing?

    Why in the state in which he was born, are his rights not just being denied him but now under this LNP government, are they being taken from him?

    Are you actually still living in Queensland because its sounds as if you aren’t, in which case the changes to the law here will have no effect on your son.

    What effect do you think this kind of blatant discrimination has on LGBTI teenagers who grew up trusting and believing they were equal and were taught that they lived in a democratic society where all should be treated as such.

    You don’t have to be gay to have a hard time growing up, I’m straight and I had more than my fair share of unhappiness, frankly there comes a point where you just have to say “toughen up princess”. But on your specific claim of “blatant discrimination ” I think you are being something of drama queen when we have a society that basically does not care if someone is gay or straight.

    Then they discover at some point in their life that being true to who they really are means accepting that they are in fact second class citizens and that the society they live in is on the whole OK with this.

    In my youth I would have agreed with you to some extent about the way that homosexuals were considered but these days? I would suggest that you are exaggerating.

    Please explain to me why your heterosexual son or daughter is more valued and treated with greater respect and dignity than my homosexual son.

    To do that would require context, but that is because I don’t consider who anyone desires sexually is any measure of their worth.

    If you think this issue will fade and die simply because the LGBTI community will tire under this ultra conservative government them you are very wrong.

    When the fight is not winnable how many people are going to devote a large slice of their lives to the cause?

    You are not just fighting them you are fighting us…… their mothers, their fathers, their grandparents, their siblings, their cousins, their friends.

    :roll: I could say the same about those on the other side of the argument.

    This is about family. This is about MY family. This issue will NOT go away because it is at the very core of what it means to be an Australian. This fight will never end for me until my son has FULL equality under the law. This is his and my birth right as Australian citizens!

    Is there anything stopping your son having a long term committed relationship with the lover of his choice?
    Is there anything stopping him openly setting up house with him?
    Buying a house or any other big thing together?

    No?
    Well then that means to me that the only thing that your son is being denied is the conceit that his relationship can be called a marriage.

    From “just another dull activist”

    I admire your passion but just think that its misplaced in a futile cause that has only got any prominence so that it can be a diversion form the Gillard government’s woes

  • 42
    sottile6
    Posted Wednesday, 27 June 2012 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    The LNP is full of fundamentalist Christians. They are party members and are many members of parliament. The media here never discusses this. See the Crikey list of ABC journalists who have joined the LNP ranks. They have always been anti Labor in their stances on issues. The Courier Mail is a Murdoch paper and has a conservative economic agenda but is a little more progressive on some social issues. Who will expose corruption and cronyism here now? The only option is the Brisbane Times or Crikey which is how this story appears here. Brisbane is full of stories, gossip and rumours now but very little of it gets into print.

  • 43
    Andrew
    Posted Wednesday, 27 June 2012 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

    I normally just read these threads and can’t be bothered responding… But then I read these few lines…

    Iain Hall writes:

    Why on earth do you think that your son not being able to call a pairing a marriage means that he is less valued by society? what he does in his personal life is surely far less significant than what he contributes to our society either in his profession or by performing altruistic service.

    and

    Is there anything stopping your son having a long term committed relationship with the lover of his choice?
    Is there anything stopping him openly setting up house with him?
    Buying a house or any other big thing together?

    And here’s the problem I see quite often, people not understanding what that little word ‘marriage’ means in terms of law and protection.

    Here’s a few things any couple can do in Australia today, regardless of sexuality:

    * Go to dinner, a movie, enjoy other fun activities
    * Hang out with friends
    * Live together under the same roof, share a car, get a dog
    * Love each other

    And here’s a couple of things that get complicated when you’re not “married”:
    * Your partner collapses and gets taken to hospital and your not considered their spouse so you can’t direct healthcare, you can’t see them and get access to them. You get ignored.
    * Your life-long partner dies, you’ve talked about how you want things handled when this happens - but because you’re not their widow you get no say. Instead you get to watch their family brush you aside and do everything the way they want. You get ignored.

    I’m sure there are many other good examples, but at the heart of all of them is the fact that as a married couple in the eyes of the law you are granted many included benefits that just don’t happen when you ‘shack up together’, or ‘get a civil union’ or as it happens now ‘register your relationship’. This is why anything less than full and equal marriage rights is such an issue - because it doesn’t include all of the ‘taken for granted’ rights and social benefits that comes with the package. Understand that it’s not about wiggling into fancy Church ceremonies, it’s about getting the legal standing and recognition of your relationship like every other couple in the country.

    Add to that, that without equality in something so ‘trivial’, we continue to feed discrimination and hatred for a community that for all other purposes suffers alongside, takes beating after beating and continues to do it’s part. The people that make up the LGBTI community, yes they are actually people, pay taxes, have car accidents, get mugged, get robbed and have bad days like everyone else - but they also get to grow up hiding who they are, usually getting bullied or picked on everyday of their lives and for many years question themselves because society continues to single them out for what they are instead of who they are.

    Leveling the field and having true equality removes discrimination and goes a long way to changing peoples attitudes on the whole. Once Australia has equality in marriage, it will give a real voice to stopping homophobic bullying in schools, workplaces and in society in general, it will bring about more widespread acceptance and it will promote understanding and compassion towards yet another group of people that are ‘just a little bit different’ from everyone else - and that can only be for the good of humanity, society, whatever; Because we should ALL be enjoying life and not having to worry about it so much.

  • 44
    AR
    Posted Wednesday, 27 June 2012 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

    Iain empty echoing Hall - prolix verbosity without content. It has been many months since you polluted this site. Could you please piss off again? Permanently this time.

  • 45
    Jack Phat
    Posted Wednesday, 27 June 2012 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

    Rule 1 NO POOFTERS!!!

  • 46
    kiwi 84
    Posted Wednesday, 27 June 2012 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

    Under the LNP’s proposed changes, surrogate mothers for same-sex couples could go to jail for up to three years. I’m not surpised that Queenslanders voted for the LNP, after all thousands voted for One Nation. You only had to see the LNP mp’s smirking with big smiles when the final vote was being counted in parliament to repeal the ceremonies for same-sex couples……..

  • 47
    klewso
    Posted Thursday, 28 June 2012 at 1:10 am | Permalink

    I thought the Bleijie (Qld. Attorney General - in charge of our “justice” system) excuse for breaking this “non-core promise(?)” was quite cute being as :- “…. it was the dying days of the campaign, at a family park with many children, on a Sunday….”?
    So of course Newman couldn’t tell the truth under that set of circumstances. Children around and a Sunday? Imagine the example that - being honest - would have set?

  • 48
    Posted Thursday, 28 June 2012 at 4:17 am | Permalink

    AR,
    I see you are channeling your inner totalitarian once again and seeking to silence a voice that is different to your own once again….
    How unsurprising.

  • 49
    Col Campey
    Posted Thursday, 28 June 2012 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    This issue is just one more entry on a long list of reasons why we should be working towards non-partisan government. See: http://colflower.blogspot.com.au/

  • 50
    Lamond Shane
    Posted Thursday, 28 June 2012 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    @Iain Hall.
    You have dominated the conversation with your long posts but seem to be missing the point on lot of things which others are articulating in a much better way than you in contest to your arguments.
    First of all your use of the term “batting for the other team” serves only to reaffirm what we are all thinking, that you perceive the rights and fair treatment of a whole section of the community as of little import because we do not actually develop relationships. We do not “bat for the other team” we form long lasting and caring relationships, the equal of their heterosexual counterparts that should be fully recognised under a secular, democratically elected government designed to protect minorities from the tyranny of the majority.
    Secondly, you miss the point that in a state government that receives GST revenue (among other income streams from certain taxes targeted at individuals and businesses) we are not only being denied equal rights as tax and rate paying members of society, we are having rights and legislation that protects our minority status withdrawn! I’m not sure you read the first paragraph but it is unprecedented.
    Thirdly, this isn’t just about legal recognition and legal protection. If it was the GLBTI community would have accepted amendments to various pieces of legislation years ago and the battle would have ended. There is nothing stopping me from having a long term committed relationship, nor buying a house with my partner but there is something stopping me from getting married to my partner and employing surrogacy as a means to conceive a child thanks to the policies of conservative governments. I want to get married (which brings with it legal protections, status, access to certain public resources as well as being a symbol of hope and commitment) and I want to be able to father a child without the State government declaring me a criminal.
    I feel every person in Australian society should be supportive of this, not just the majority. It is only when people respect each other unconditionally that true equality will have been met.

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