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Federal

Jun 14, 2011

The Gillard government’s anti-gay marriage policy goes global

As well as not allowing same-sex couples to marry in Australia, the Gillard Government does its best to block Australians from entering same-sex marriages overseas, writes Rodney Croome.

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As well as not allowing same-sex couples to marry in Australia, the Gillard government does its best to block Australians from entering same-sex marriages overseas.

It does this by refusing to issue same-sex partners with the key document they need to marry in another country.

That document, known as a Certificate of No-Impediment to Marriage or CNI, confirms to a foreign government that the Australian who wants to marry under its laws is not already married in Australia.

The Australian government routinely issues this document to heterosexual Australians marrying overseas, but it has an explicit policy of refusing them to same-sex partners.

This causes an array of problems for Australians entering legal same-sex marriages in other countries. Many same-sex partners only find out about the CNI problem at the last minute and either have to call off their wedding or go through with the kind of unofficial commitment ceremony they wanted to avoid.

In many of the countries that allow same-sex marriages, marriage brings rights and entitlements not available to cohabiting couples. This leaves Australians whose same-sex marriages the Gillard government has blocked without recognition or protection in health care, pensions and immigration.

Then there’s the pain of being denied the same rights other Australians take for granted. According to Chris Murray, whose legal marriage to his Portuguese partner, Victor, could not take place because the government would not give him a CNI, “As much as I appreciated the support of friends and family, no amount of ‘don’t worry – it’s only a piece of paper’ or ‘but it’s your love that counts’ made up for the fact that my country was saying that my relationship was not only not worthy of recognition, but I had to be prohibited from having this relationship recognised elsewhere in the world.”

Because of these problems the Netherlands gives Australians an exemption from its CNI requirement (along with Zimbabweans). Meanwhile, the Norwegians are so angry that the Gillard government is pushing its prejudices down their throats, they attacked Australia’s same-s-x marriage ban at a recent UN human rights review.

But for the most part there’s nothing that countries who allow same-sex marriages can do about Australia’s CNI policy, and as their number increases so does the number of Australians who face the inconvenience, insecurity and indignity this policy creates.

The Australian government says it refuses to issue CNIs to same-sex couples because same-sex marriages aren’t recognised in Australia. But no-one is swallowing this.

According to Senior Lecturer in Law at the ANU, Wayne Morgan, “There is nothing in Australian law that would prevent a Certificate of No Impediment to Marriage (being issued) to a same-sex couple marrying under the laws of another country. This is an internationally accepted document that has nothing to do with the validity of the marriage back in the couple’s own country.”

A 2009 Senate Committee inquiry into same-sex marriage agreed. It found that, “A decision by a sovereign nation to allow marriage between a couple of the same sex should be a matter for that nation, and not a matter against which Australia should throw up bureaucratic barriers.”

Since then the Government’s discriminatory policy has suffered another blow.

In 2010 Tasmania became the first Australian state or territory to acknowledge overseas same-sex marriages as state civil partnerships, giving them all the same rights as married couples in state AND federal law.

This creates an absurd situation where the Australian government is giving full marriage entitlements to legal unions it has tried to block on the basis that they are not recognised in Australia.

So why does the Gillard government maintain such a ridiculous, harmful and discriminatory policy?

It’s hard to see the current bureaucratic block to overseas same-sex marriages as anything but another mean-spirited attempt by the government to convince right-wing Christian lobbyists it despises same-sex marriages as much as they do.

Yet again loving, committed same-sex partners have been sacrificed on the altar of political expediency.

I’m confident this won’t last much longer.

With Galaxy Research finding that 75% of Australians believe same-sex marriages are inevitable, history is clearly on the side of equality.

If the Labor Party doesn’t reverse its discriminatory stance on same-sex marriages at its National Conference in December, the next generation of Australians will condemn it in the same way we now condemn those Labor governments that upheld the White Australia Policy.

*Rodney Croome is the Campaign Director of Australian Marriage Equality and the co-author of Why v Why: gay marriage.

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39 thoughts on “The Gillard government’s anti-gay marriage policy goes global

  1. Rik

    Labour since 2007 is a classic lesson in how to take political good will and flush it down the crapper.
    It’s now clear to any thinking person that the only difference between the two major parties is their allocated seating in the parliment.
    I wonder what the gay and atheist vote is collectively worth in Australia?
    Anyone for the Gaytheist Party?

  2. Zarathrusta

    Gillard is the reason I will never trust Labor again. She is an utter disgrace. Everytime I walk into a polling place I will recall her suck up to the extreme right & fundamentalist Christians who will never vote for her, and the way she and Labor was prepared to go back on years of policy and promises.

    From now on:
    Labor will never be considered for my first preference. I will put almost anything ahead of them except the fundamentalists. For years I voted against the Liberal Tories, and their hateful refugee attacking, homophobic crap, and what did we get Labor Tories who are even more feral.

    Labor will have to PROVE they are left before I’ll let them anywhere near office. They will have to PROVE they are less Tory than the Liberals, because I simply will never just believe anything they say ever again. In fact if they say it, I’m likely to believe the exact opposite.

    All of which adds up to Labor having about a 2% chance of getting a higher preference than the disgusting Liberals on any ballot paper I fill out.

  3. Sir Lunchalot

    Gillard is a national embarassment and KRUDD a national joke and disgrace. Next

  4. f531f3b28ae6b07f01ad44bf62360840

    @Sancho,

    ‘What he’s saying is perfectly rational: if we accept that one minority group deserves equal rights, we MUST extend that to every other group that demands the same, without any examination of its merits or history.’

    I’m yet to hear why polygamy, poly-amory, and incestuous relationships are inherently wrong.
    Somehow (according to you) we just ‘know’ that they are.

    But we ‘knew’ that homosexuality was ‘wrong’ throughout western history up to 25 years ago.

    And now it’s mainstream.

    ‘Simply because homosexuality is proven to be a natural human inclination – albeit in a minority – which serves to harm no-one, doesn’t mean we can then refuse the rights of family members to intra-marry and produce horribly disabled children’.

    So if a hypothetical Alan and Steve want to get married, you’d be all for it. But what if Alan and Steve were brothers? Or father and son? On what basis would you prohibit them from getting married?

    ‘History has demonstrated amply that Australians are incapable of weighing an issue on its merits or changing their minds in response to evidence, just as individuals cannot.’

    If history has shown us anything, it has shown us that an articulate, well-organised minority lobby group is able to change society’s mind in a relatively short period of time. To think that only 25 years ago, homosexuality was in the same category as incest, and now is mainstream, is simply phenomenal.

    Do you think people would have supported gay marriage in 1986? Or even 1996?

    Why not?

    Because they were all bigots?

    Society doesn’t move that fast without some serious political activism and lobbying.

    And in the case of homosexuality, such lobbying has been a resounding success.

    My point is not that we’ll be legalising incest (although Switzerland is having a crack), or polygamy, the day after we legalise gay marriage.

    My point is simply that we’ll have no rational basis for preventing them from being legalised, and especially not if/when gay marriage becomes legal. Of course society won’t want to move immediately on these things: neither did it move immediately on homosexuality (as I said, it took years of lobbying, but it got there in the end).

    But given that the right cultural conditions are in place, I’ve yet to hear why any lobby group that supports those ‘taboo’ practices won’t be able to move society’s views in the same way that the gay lobby did…and do it much quicker, too, now that the road has been paved.

    All I’ve heard are analogies to coffee/hard drugs, etc, that are not in the same category as various forms of sexual practice between consenting adults. If you want to show why those other sexual practices will remain taboo regardless of what happens with gay marriage, then I’d be happy to hear it.

    @ Jeremy Sear,

    ‘Point is, if you can find an argument against gay marriage, then let’s hear it. Don’t try to attack it by pretending it’s the same as other things which may have arguments against them.

    Eg
    1. You want to attack A, but have no arguments against it.
    2. B is something that may or may not have good arguments against it, but sounds bad.
    3. You pretend that if you legalise A you must legalise B (which would only be true if there were also no good arguments against B; ie, if step 2 was false.) The point is to smear A by the sound of B’

    Well then, let’s hear the arguments against step ‘B’.

    But it seems the arguments that are rallied against adult consensual incest, polygamy, poly amory etc have all been knocked for six by the gay lobby: in which case, what arguments are left?

    Take adult consensual incest. If the following premises are culturally accepted, then how do you stop incest from gaining legality and acceptability:

    1) What other people do between the sheets is their business, and we have no right to judge them (privitisation of sexual ethics);

    2) Any two (or more) consenting adults that love each other should be allowed to marry;

    3) Society’s views are changing on the matter of what is sexually acceptable, thus tradition is not a reliable guide as to what is ‘right’ or ‘acceptable’. I.e. there are no moral absolutes when it comes to (adult consentual) sexual relations

    Now considering lawmakers in Switzerland are seriously considering legalizing (adult consensual) incest, it seems many there (e.g. their Greens) don’t seem to have any rational problems with it.

    And if it’s happening in a progressive country like Switzerland (although it probably won’t get voted through this time), that doesn’t bode well for the rest of civilised society now, does it?

    My point always has been, that if we allow gay marriage, then on what rational basis will we not allow the other (current) sexual taboos out there?

    If you have other arguments that I haven’t heard of, against the other sexual taboos, then please let me know.

    But as a society, I think we need to weigh things up very carefully, before we tamper with an important and unique institution like marriage.

    Especially when the tampering is something that has been politically lobbied for (by a minority group), such that people are now afraid to ask basic questions (like mine above), for fear of being labelled a bigot, and a homophobe, etc.

    Unless I’m mistaken, these questions aren’t being asked, let alone answered, within the mainstream media.

    No one would dare.

  5. f531f3b28ae6b07f01ad44bf62360840

    @ Blair,

    ‘Would you care to share the studies from San Francisco that have granted you this understanding that there are very few people that identify as homosexual that wish to marry?’

    My apologies – I got that wrong. It’s not that they didn’t want to marry (the respondents were couples, but not all married), but over 50% were living in open relationships, as opposed to monogamous relationships:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/29/us/29sfmetro.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

    It writes:
    ‘New research at San Francisco State University reveals just how common open relationships are among gay men and lesbians in the Bay Area. The Gay Couples Study has followed 556 male couples for three years — about 50 percent of those surveyed have sex outside their relationships, with the knowledge and approval of their partners.’

    Whilst this study shows that gay marriages are more ‘open’ than heterosexual marriages, doing the study over 3 years can hardly give an accurate picture of how stable (or not) such marriages are over the long term (especially if kids are involved).

    So, if I understand it correctly, when it comes to gay marriage, marriage is being redefined not merely in terms of the sex of the partners, but the monogamous aspect of it is also being thrown out.

    Doesn’t that change the definition of marriage beyond recognition?

    Why call it marriage? It’s hardly recognisable as such. Why not call it something else?

    ‘Do you really believe that every single person who enters into a heterosexual relationship remains monogamous or on entering that state sanctioned union that they were not already poly-amorous?’

    I think the research shows that in pretty much any heterosexual marriage where one partner sleeps with someone outside the marriage, there is much damage done to the marriage, not to mention the family as a whole.

    ‘ I find it strange that the only way opponents of marriage equality can fight the reality of legalization is to bring in totally unrelated arguments and to shift things to the mechanics of our sex lives.’

    The logic of the gay movement is the same logic of those who are pushing for the legalisation of incest (Switzerland), polygamy, and poly-amoury. It’s not an unrelated argument: the logic is compelling:

    1) What other people do between the sheets is their business, and we have no right to judge them (privitisation of sexual ethics);

    2) Any two (or more) consenting adults that love each other should be allowed to marry;

    3) Society’s views are changing on the matter of what is sexually acceptable, thus tradition is not a reliable guide as to what is ‘right’ or ‘acceptable’. I.e. there are no moral absolutes when it comes to (adult consentual) sexual relations.

    If we accept the above premises, which have been argued by (among others) the gay lobby, it’s hardly ‘totally unrelated’ when another sexual minority comes along, demanding the same recognition that the gay lobby has, using very similar, if not exactly the same, arguments.

    Like it or not, whether intended or not, the above arguments put forward by the gay lobby have gained traction in our culture, and so it’s hardly surprising when other groups walk the same path, demanding the same recognition, for exactly the same reasons.

    ‘ Will you link our growing acceptance to the spate of floods, fires, earthquakes and tornadoes that assault the globe, unleashing social turmoil and a breakdown of society?’

    If you’re willing to mount a rational argument against what I’ve written, then please do.

    ‘ There are several other examples that go back to the Roman Empire’s admission of Christianity as a state religion which show how marriage has been altered and that alteration comes because the circumstances of government and the people changed’

    Has marriage ever been (in any culture on the planet, in human history) between same sex couples? Maybe it has, but I’d be interested to see.

    But that’s beside the point. Just because the circumstances of the people and government change, doesn’t necessarily make it a good change: just look at the way pedophilia was practiced in parts of ancient Greece: I’m sure you wouldn’t argue that it was a good thing, just because it was an accepted practice in that culture, right?

    ‘For any developed and advanced country to also claim to be civilized it should show how it treats those who are not a majority and allows for full and equal expression of all minorities in balance with all members of that nation.’

    Surely using that argument, we should in no way censor, but allow ‘full and equal expression’ of consentual incestuous relationships, like that between Professor David Epstein and his adult daughter: http://www.slate.com/id/2277787/. I mean, really, they weren’t harming anyone else, were they? Why did society crack down on them so hard? Surely what they were doing in private wasn’t anyone else’s business?

    ‘The times change, and we change with them.’
    Nice quote, but it’s hardly a helpful guide on making ethical decisions (unless one acquiesces to cultural relativism).

  6. Sancho

    Predictably, supporters of instability and social breakdown have crawled out to attack F53.

    What he’s saying is perfectly rational: if we accept that one minority group deserves equal rights, we MUST extend that to every other group that demands the same, without any examination of its merits or history.

    Simply because homosexuality is proven to be a natural human inclination – albeit in a minority – which serves to harm no-one, doesn’t mean we can then refuse the rights of family members to intra-marry and produce horribly disabled children.

    History has demonstrated amply that Australians are incapable of weighing an issue on its merits or changing their minds in response to evidence, just as individuals cannot.

    For example, a few days ago a young man offered me several grams of methamphetamine at what he claimed was a reasonable price. Initially I refused, but he sensibly pointed out that I’d just purchased a cup of coffee – which contains the stimulant caffeine – so what was the difference?

    As a result, I haven’t slept for seventy-four hours and my penis is bleeding from non-stop masturbation, but what option did I have? I am obliged to consume any substance that is superficially similar to caffeine without making any comparisons between their qualities.

    Really, the Jeremy Sears and Blair Martins are very lucky that traditionalist groups don’t demand the same treatment gays do. Imagine if some right-wing Christian organisation demanded that we dismantle parliament and govern with the bible. We would have no choice but to comply.

  7. Stuart Saunders

    They have no business asking gender of intended spouse.

    Should be sued for discrimination if they do.

    Otherwise take it to UNHR.

  8. ladystardust64

    I think that while there may well be places where it is commonplace for tapir’s to mate with doddery Aunts and the like, and far be it for me to judge, that’s not what we are talking about here. I know it was originally mentioned in jest but the point was taken and unfortunately run with in a dubious direction.

    The issue of same-sex marriage impacts on the lives of our friends and family. People that we work with, that we love. People that we hope can live happy and fulfilled lives. People that just want to commit to their chosen partners in front of their loved ones. Seriously, what is the problem with that?

    I am not a mathematician and the numbers that have been trotted out here hurt my brain so how about this graph.
    http://www.good.is/post/the-only-gay-marriage-graph-that-really-matters/

    This is not to say that there are not other groups that feel marginalised. Let’s just deal with them one at a time ok?

  9. Jeremy Sear

    Pissweak attempt at a slippery slope, f531f3b28ae6b07f01ad44bf62360840.

    We can deal with each proposal for equality on its merits.

    If someone wants to put up a polygamy proposal, we can assess it directly. It wouldn’t be legalised just because gay marriage was (as you can see in all the countries that have gay marriage and don’t allow polygamy).

    Point is, if you can find an argument against gay marriage, then let’s hear it. Don’t try to attack it by pretending it’s the same as other things which may have arguments against them.

    Eg
    1. You want to attack A, but have no arguments against it.
    2. B is something that may or may not have good arguments against it, but sounds bad.
    3. You pretend that if you legalise A you must legalise B (which would only be true if there were also no good arguments against B; ie, if step 2 was false.) The point is to smear A by the sound of B.

    It’s a faulty syllogism. You’re trying to make advocates for A argue for B, which is not their case at all. If you had arguments against A, you wouldn’t need to add B. You only add B in the hope of disingenuously smearing A with the (unspecified) problems with B that you know you can’t run against A.

    Maybe the argument against polygamy is that there’s no way to regulate it properly – who knows, we don’t have a specific proposal to assess. Point is, whatever’s wrong with polygamy clearly isn’t wrong with gay marriage, or you wouldn’t need to bring up polygamy to raise it.

    Same with all the other “but if we legalise gay marriage we’ll have to legalise X” distractions. They’re not a real argument. They’re a dishonest smear.

  10. Blair Martin

    @53etc:
    Would you care to share the studies from San Francisco that have granted you this understanding that there are very few people that identify as homosexual that wish to marry? Or is it as I have read your comment that you’ve drawn a long bow to somehow connect the supposed “non-monogamous” nature of homosexual relationships to a concept that they don’t wish to marry? Would you like to also draw that same bow on heterosexuals and use those divining skills as well? Do you really believe that every single person who enters into a heterosexual relationship remains monogamous or on entering that state sanctioned union that they were not already poly-amorous?

    Your continual slandering of the marriage equality movement by linking it to other movements is becoming tiresome. Yes, you have thrown a supposed quote from advocates of polygamy claiming that our “success” is helping them? Really? I find it strange that the only way opponents of marriage equality can fight the reality of legalization is to bring in totally unrelated arguments and to shift things to the mechanics of our sex lives. If that is your only method of debate, then I pity you. What next? Will you link our growing acceptance to the spate of floods, fires, earthquakes and tornadoes that assault the globe, unleashing social turmoil and a breakdown of society? Oh wait… Danny Nalliah already has: http://catchthefire.com.au/blog/2008/05/03/reaping-what-we-have-sown-as-the-church-in-australia/ (amongst many others I could copy and paste….)

    I see in your arguments that you have a very strong objection to marriage equality because it (somehow) will alter the “meaning” of conventional marriage. What is this “meaning”? Repeatedly over the past 1700 years of Christian dominated Western government that “meaning” has changed. Even in my lifetime an ostensibly Christian country (USA) had to witness the Loving v Virginia case which brought marriage equality to those from difference racial backgrounds. Somehow, that didn’t destroy everyone’s marriage or the “real meaning” of marriage. There are several other examples that go back to the Roman Empire’s admission of Christianity as a state religion which show how marriage has been altered and that alteration comes because the circumstances of government and the people changed.

    Finally, I would argue with your “1% to 2%” figure for a homosexual population but I really don’t have the desire to debate statistics which are seriously questionable. For any developed and advanced country to also claim to be civilized it should show how it treats those who are not a majority and allows for full and equal expression of all minorities in balance with all members of that nation. I find your arguments that any pesky minority is getting more power than it should childish and demeaning.

    F53etc: Tempora mutantur nos et mutamur in illis. (The times change, and we change with them.)

  11. f531f3b28ae6b07f01ad44bf62360840

    @sancho (part 3).

    Sorry, I meant to say ‘0.5% of the population that want to get married to the same sex’, NOT ‘0.5% of gay people wanting to get married’.

  12. f531f3b28ae6b07f01ad44bf62360840

    @sancho, (part 2)

    In the US alone, there is estimated that there are around 40,000 – 60,000 people in polygamous relationships. That comes out to between 0.01% – 0.02% of the population.
    While a little smaller than the (optimistic) figure I came up with of 0.5% of gay people wanting to get married, it’s still a movement. All they need to do is get organised, and it won’t be too difficult to ride on the back of the gay-liberation arguments, and get recognition and legality. The hard work has already been done!

    As for poly-amory, there’s also a push to make that more mainstream, as per this article:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/love-sex/taboo-tolerance/meet-the-polyamorists-ndash-a-growing-band-of-people-who-believe-that-more-lovers-equals-more-love-1785263.html

    Interestingly enough, the polyamorist activists credit the gay lobby for helping bring their movement that much closer to the mainstream.

  13. f531f3b28ae6b07f01ad44bf62360840

    @sancho,

    ‘That’s not even considering the huge numbers of Australians who want to marry their close relatives, which is surely comparable to the homosexual population.’

    Considering the homosexual population is around 1-2%, they have had massive success in making a practice that was considered taboo only a generation ago, now acceptable by the mainstream of Australia. You can still be (very) small, and yet have a (very) big impact on society.

    The problem with the polygamous/poly-amorous/incestuous practitioners is that they are not (yet?) organised enough to push their agenda. And oh, I would have thought the link to Switzerland wanting to legalise incest enough evidence to show that moves are already afoot in (western) countries in that direction. (Not that I think it will get through this time – but the way to ‘de-tabooing’ a sexual practice has already been paved by the homosexual lobby: it won’t nearly be as hard to get other ‘taboo’ sexual practices into the mainstream now that homosexuality has well and truly moved from ‘taboo’ status to mainstream status).

    The slippery slope may be slippery yet!

    Back to your objection above: let me ask how many homosexual people want to marry? From what I understand of studies done by the gay community in San Francisco, monogamous partners in the homosexual world are in the minority, not the majority.
    So lets be generous, and say 0.5% of Australians want to marry someone of the same sex. Is that reason enough to radically redefine marriage in historically unprecedented ways?

    If so, then why draw the line at 0.5% of the population? What if a smaller percentage, say 0.05% of the population want to enter polygamous/poly-amorous/incestuousness marriages? Or 0.005%? If these people see polygamous/poly-amorous/incestuousness marriage as their right (the same way the homosexual community sees gay marriage as their right), who are you to tell them what is, and isn’t acceptable?

    I mean, isn’t a ‘human right’ something we should uphold, regardless of how few people are clamoring for it? (And clamoring for it, they already are, as per Switzerland’s vote on legalising incest).

  14. Blair Martin

    Therefore, Shooba, using your dictum of “biologically incompatible”, the Act should encompass those opposite sex attracted couples who through genetic defect, accidental damage/injury, deliberate medical procedure (vasectomy) or age (post menopause) are unable to have children via their conventional marriage and thus should be refused admission to the state of matrimony.

    It does become rather silly, doesn’t it?

  15. Sancho

    But I agree, Shooba!

    There is absolutely no physiological or scientific reason to prohibit consanguineal relationships. If there were evidence for high rates of genetic defects in the offspring of such unions Australians would be justified in forbidding them, but since the consent and health of a child (for example) is not an issue, then same-sex marriage between consenting adults clearly paves the way for inter-family marriage.

    That’s not even considering the huge numbers of Australians who want to marry their close relatives, which is surely comparable to the homosexual population.

    In fact, the slide toward allowing brothers to marry sisters began long before gay marriage was on the radar, when we legalised unions between biologically incompatible races. Even Chinese and blacks are marrying whites these days!

  16. Shooba

    @Sancho

    There was no need to be snide. F53 asked a legitimate question, and frankly I still don’t think you answered it.

    The whole SSM argument is based on human rights and discrimination. We justify excluding “kids and livestock” from voting on logical grounds, based in physiology and science.

    The concept of Genetic S-xual Attraction Marriage is something that is inevitably going to be raised if SSM is legalised. What justification is there for discriminating against GSAM? Science and physiology? Well, if we’re already allowing two biologically incompatible people to marry, why not two others?

    The point F53 made (and that you sidestepped) is that the government has to define parameters. Marriage cannot be open slate. If your only criteria is “consenting adults,” you are opening up a can of philosophical worms.

  17. Blair Martin

    I can only endorse Sancho’s response tenfold. F53 has no competent understanding of society and development, his/her argument is beyond facile.

    As for Gillard’s response to Wilkie’s question, would someone please remind me what is the penalty for deliberately misleading Parliament?

  18. kate

    @Sancho

    *applause* *applause*

    !!

  19. Sancho

    That’s a very good point, G53. However, gay marriage is the least of our worries, since you’ve correctly identified that in matters of national debate and legislation, Australians are incapable using their own judgement and must accept the most extreme demands and definitions found on the internet.

    To start with, fully armed battle tanks must be made available to the Australian public. We’re allowed cars and firearms, so who can deny an Australian’s natural right to choose which vehicle and weapon (or combination) they own? Gay equality is surely a peripheral issue when we need to debate the domestic arms race that, by rights, should be taking place on our streets.

    Then there’s drugs. Society’s views are changing on the matter of what is recreationally acceptable, thus tradition is not a reliable guide as to what is ‘right’ or ‘acceptable’. Many adults consume cannabis and attitudes to its legalisation have softened significantly.

    There are many American libertarians on the internet who advocate full legalisation of all drugs, so why are we discussing gay marriage when compulsory heroin consumption in Australia is, in the final analysis, acceptable: it’s only society’s bigoted views that need to change

    Further, that “slippery slope” argument has been consistently validated throughout history.

    As predicted, granting women the vote led inevitably to children and livestock participating in elections. Removing the bible from science and governance caused the sad decline of western society from the middle ages onward, just as we were warned. And who doesn’t envy the nations that had the sense not to adopt democracy over the rule of priests and monarchs?

    Since Australians are incapable of debating the complexity of an issue like gay rights and we can only choose between extremes, we must adopt the most outlandish proposals we can find. It’s the only outcome that make any sense.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to help my catatonic aunt prepare for her polygamous marriage to a tapir and an 8-year-old boy with Down syndrome. At one time I would have found something morally objectionable in that, but there’s a blog that says it’s okay.

  20. Stephen

    Maybe the Dalai Lama was right. Maybe she is a bloke. If’s she a woman, she’s the meanest one I’ve seen in a long time, she almost makes Julie Bishop look cool. This bare-faced prevarication on the floor of the house is abolutely typical. Labor can dump her now, and lose the next election. Or not, and ditto.

  21. John

    Julia Gillard is a liar. She said: “Of course, what a certificate of no impediment means is that there is no impediment to the recognition of that marriage under Australian law.”
    That is total bullshit. A tri-partisan Senate Committee said so in 2009. Julia Gillard has deliberately mis-represented the purpose of CNIs. CNIs are issued to establish that there is no impediment to an Australian marrying overseas, not to establish there is no impediment to the recognition in Australia of the marriage they intend entering.
    The Government’s refusal to allow gay Australians to receive a Certificate of No-Impediment to Marriage is an inhumane disgrace. The Attorney-General, Robert McClelland, can remedy this breach of my human rights and the human rights of about one million other Australians by issuing a directive to the Public Service. No legislation or regulation is required.
    He should just do it!

  22. John

    Same-Sex Relationships
    Mr WILKIE (Denison) (14:43): My question is to the Prime Minister. Australians wanting to marry overseas need certificates of no impediment to marriage from the Australian government, but the government refuses to issue CNIs to same-sex couples seeking to marry in countries allowed same-sex marriage despite the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee recommending in 2009 that the government should do so and the understanding Australians overseas should comply with the laws of the country they are visiting. The ban on issuing CNIs to same-sex couples looks petty and mean spirited. Will you lift it?
    Ms GILLARD (Lalor—Prime Minister) (14:44): I thank the member for Denison for his question. He has asked me about the issuing of certificates of no impediment where an Australian citizen is getting married overseas. Of course, what a certificate of no impediment means is that there is no impediment to the recognition of that marriage under Australian law. Given that under Australian law through the Marriage Act a marriage is between a man and a woman, it would not be proper to issue a certificate of no impediment because in truth we do not have the mechanism under current law to recognise a same-sex marriage overseas. I understand that the question of same-sex marriage is a controversial one in the community. I have made my views very well known and the position of the government is also very well known. But I am under no illusion that members in this place and members of the Australian community more broadly have different views on the question of same-sex marriage. As is the way of things in our great Australian democracy, I am sure we will continue to debate that.
    With the certificates of no impediment, it would only be proper to issue those if Australian law changed. Of course, my view and the view of the government is that there should be no change to Australian law in the terms of the Marriage Act. However, the government does have a proud track record of amending Commonwealth legislation to remove discrimination against same-sex couples. There are, by recollection, more than 80 pieces of legislation in which such discrimination has been removed. Such discrimination did impact directly upon the lives of people, for example with superannuation benefits where the benefits could transfer from one member of a couple to another. Those kinds of discrimination and impediment have been dealt with by the government. The Labor policy is to note that state jurisdictions can move to registers and recognitions of relationships and a number of jurisdictions have done so. Indeed the member for Denison represents in this place a state that has moved in that direction. I understand that there will probably be a continuing community debate. I think there will be some intensity in that debate about same-sex marriage, but it would not be appropriate to take the course that the member for Denison asks me to with Australian law and the Marriage Act defining marriage as between a man and a woman.

  23. Blair Martin

    Charles Richardson: Labor (and Gillard) deserve every bit of flack they are getting over this issue. They supported the Howard Government’s discriminatory amendments in 2004 and did not make one effort to repeal those amendments when they came to office.
    Gillard is nothing but the greatest disappointment to arrive in the Lodge since Billy McMahon. At least Keating, who may have had his moments as Treasurer, showed leadership and future thinking statesmanship in his couple of years there. Gillard leaves no legacy but one of lost opportunities, broken promises and empty gestures. The only saving grace is her current possible replacement via an election is even more egregious and unthinkable that what she’s become.

  24. a47646f90c7f7e674cc8d94208c6ed24

    Wow, I have to say this really makes me loathe Australia and the Australians who tolerate this kind of awful bigotry.

  25. f531f3b28ae6b07f01ad44bf62360840

    @Sancho,

    Appreciate the reply.

    Whilst that definition per se is put forward by the particular blogger (and their supporters), the logic behind it (as far as I can tell) is the same as what the gay lobby is using to legitimise gay marriage (not to mention the homosexual lifestyle), namely:

    1) What other people do between the sheets is their business, and we have no right to judge them (privitisation of sexual ethics);

    2) Any two consenting adults that love each other should be allowed to marry;

    3) Society’s views are changing on the matter of what is sexually acceptable, thus tradition is not a reliable guide as to what is ‘right’ or ‘acceptable’. I.e. there are no moral absolutes when it comes to (adult consentual) sexual relations.

    If we grant the above premises, it seems only logical to conclude that any other sexual practice which we currently view as taboo (e.g. adult consentual incest), is, in the final analysis, acceptable: it’s only society’s bigoted views that need to change. (Witness how much people’s attitudes have shifted on homosexuality in the last 30 years).

    If that’s the case, then what’s stopping us going down the track of full ‘marriage equality’, with polygamy, incestual marriage, and the like becoming legalised?

    It seems sheer discrimination to radically redefine marriage for same sex partners, yet exclude other redefinitions.

    (Lest you think I’m being too imaginative, the upper house of the Swiss Parliament recently put forward a bill to their government to legalise adult consentual incest, as per to this link from the telegraph).

  26. Sancho

    The short answer, F53, is “yes”.

    You’ve cited a definition of equality according to a single American blogger, not the views of the Australian majority which is in favour of equal marriage rights for same-sex couples.

  27. zut alors

    For someone who is flagrantly creating a precedent by co-habiting with a defacto in The Lodge, Gillard exhibits an inconsistent and indomitable conservatism when it comes to other Australians’ relationships.

    Perhaps if there’s yet another newspoll taken, this time showing the voters in Sydney’s western suburbs approve the idea of same sex marriage, then the CNIs will soon be in the post.

    The day Gillard toppled Rudd I knew she’d be a grave disappointment.

  28. JamesG

    Just like that other red-headed Cnut, Gillard is trying to hold back the tide.

  29. John

    The real Julia doesn’t like children, refugees and homosexuals.
    The real Julia likes Christian extremists.
    The real Julia is both a fake and a flake.

  30. ladystardust64

    I want to know what the real Julia thinks about all this. From what I have heard in the past, I can’t reconcile this tripe with the highly intelligent, capable, civic and democratically minded Juila Gillard that used to inhabit the body of the automaton that we now call PM.

    It’s Blaze of Glory time Julia. What have you got to lose. Take your stand and go out swinging. Or not, who’s to know …

    All of this BS really pisses me off. Stand for something. Anything. Just stand up.

  31. davidk

    Labor used to be left, then centre-left, then centre right and it is still heading further over under Gillard. . Maybe it should merge with the Libs to make a three way coalition leaving the greens to fill the void.

  32. f531f3b28ae6b07f01ad44bf62360840

    Interesting article.

    I did have a question regarding the whole same sex marriage debate.

    If we did get same sex marriage into law, as per many other countries,
    would be willing to discriminate against groups who are calling for FULL marriage equality, as per the definition below:

    “Advocating for the right of consenting adults to enjoy love, sex, and marriage without limits on the gender, number, or relation of participants. Full marriage equality is a basic human right”
    (Source: marriage-equality.blogspot.com).

    If we are willing to discriminate against, and exclude such groups, from the institution of marriage, on what grounds would we exclude them?

    Or are we willing to go the whole way, and redefine marriage to be inclusive of ALL people who wish to marry, not just non-related couples?

    Just a question.

  33. SusieQ

    I never knew this happened (CNI’s) and its appalling, but hardly suprising, especially when you have people like the right wing faction of the ALP doing its Chicken Little routine at the mere mention of gay marriage. This issue is such an easy fix for the government- much less complicated than carbon taxes and mining taxes – surely it would pass through parliament easily enough? We may not have many pleasant memories of the Rudd govt, but everyone remembers the apology to the stolen generation don’t they?
    Who cares what the Christian Lobby thinks – why should they have everything their way all the time?

  34. Charles Richardson

    To be fair, it should be pointed out that this isn’t something the Gillard govt introduced: it’s a Howard govt policy and dates to at least 2005, as this _Age_ article documents: http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/gays-hit-in-overseas-nuptial-bid/2006/01/13/1137118970292.html . That’s no excuse for Gillard, but she shouldn’t cop all the blame.

  35. ladystardust64

    PM Gillard is really making it difficult to raise empathetic, morally conscious teenagers.

    Grow some Julia and stop toppling towards the right wing nutbags. Enough is enough, beyond a joke, blah blah blah. This issue is not going to go away because as it currently stands it is wrong. Everything about it is wrong. Fix it and your legacy will be long and fondly remembered. What if your Tim was a Tammy and you loved her just the same. She might even have a shed too. Would you want anyone else telling you what to feel – how to be you?

    I don’t think so.

  36. John

    Hooray for Andrew Wilkie in QT this afternoon.

  37. Allison

    the law is an ass (or arse)

  38. 9302202e5a6abd06a6b4260ead62ee10

    well really after getting the farmers off side, the miners off side, the refugee advocates off side,the clubs offside,kevin rudd offside,she really doesnt want another enemy like the churches offside does she?

  39. John

    Julia Gillard appears to be the most homophobic prime minister in Australia’s history. The absurd aspect is that people on the other side of politics, such as those who criticised her for being “deliberately barren”, have been conducting a whispering campaign that she is a closet lesbian and that her hairdresser consort is just a handbag.

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