Dear Kevin,

Just like John Howard, you have succeeded in thwarting the ACT’s bid for a civil partnership scheme that includes formal, legislated relationships ceremonies for same-sex couples.

Not everything has gone your way. The Stanhope Government is to be commended for wresting the significant concession that it can still make administrative arrangements for a specially-delegated state official to supervise at same-sex ceremonies.

This will be important for Canberra couples seeking official recognition of their unions.

But there are still many questions you owe it Australia to answer.

Why shouldn’t same-sex partners be able to stand up in front of their friends and family, and receive the blessing of the state for their union?

Why shouldn’t same-sex partners marry and share in an institution which you believe is so important for society?

Why do “Christian” lobbyists have so much influence with you that you put their Bronze Age prejudices ahead of equal legal rights and ACT self-government?

Why do you continue to insist that your preferred model of a Tasmanian-style registry is simply a way for couples to register an existing de facto relationship when you know this is untrue, and that in reality it is a fully-fledged civil union scheme which is recognised as such overseas?

Why do you maintain that the recognition of de facto couples in federal law is “equality” when it is clearly only one step in that direction, and endorse it as “practical” reform when you obviously understand the importance of symbolic recognition?

And why do you justify all this by declaring that marriage as the union of a man and a woman is “traditional” and “sacrosanct”, when you know these were the defences for slavery and for denying women the vote?

Poll after poll shows the Australian people accept full legal equality for same-sex partners.

Why are you at odds with the nation that so recently elected you to bring about real change?

Sincerely,

Rodney Croome.