Gay marriage law will stand

ACT Attorney-General Simon Corbell writes: Re. “How the ACT gay marriage law is designed to fail” (yesterday). I welcome the interest that continues to be shown in the Marriage Equality (Same Sex) Act 2013, passed by the ACT Legislative Assembly on October 22, 2013. The progress towards recognition of equality for same-sex couples, and the human right of all members of our community to participate in the institution of marriage, is a matter of concern to all of us. The territory does not purport to speak for any stakeholders and does not seek to control the broader debate in other jurisdictions. The territory welcomes a similar approach from others.

In his piece, Brian Greig comments on proceedings that have been brought in the High Court by the Commonwealth against the territory in relation to the Marriage Equality (Same Sex) Act 2013. His remarks, plainly, are not intended to be an authoritative comment on those proceedings or the issues before the court. Indeed, they are more closely directed at the legislation and the issues before the ACT Legislative Assembly. Those remarks involve an obvious degree of speculation as to the assumed motivations or intentions of the legislature and the outcome of the proceedings before the court. They also involve considerable speculation as to the impact of those proceedings on future development of laws in this area. Grieg is wrong to suggest that the passage of the Marriage Equality (Same Sex) Act 2013 is designed to deliberately provoke the Commonwealth government. Instead, passage of the act is a continuation of the ACT Labor government’s long-standing commitment to removal of legal discrimination for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people, which dates back to 2002-03.  It is also the fulfilment of an election commitment made by the ACT ALP at the 2012 ACT election.

As the matter is presently before the High Court, it is inappropriate for me to comment further, other than to say that the territory is confident of its legal position.

On health and the media

Dr Rosemary Stanton, nutritionist, writes: Re. “Media and a scientific leap of faith: a Catalyst for thought” (yesterday). Did Catalyst ignore highly respected researchers, or did the many real experts decline to be part of the story? Had they checked the website of the four US nutrition/medical “experts”, they would have noted that three of them market a range of high-priced supplements.

The program was not all bad, but it failed to provide much balance. Dietary guidelines have advised reducing saturated fat because the bulk of medical evidence shows it lowers blood cholesterol. If high cholesterol is your only risk factor for heart disease, there’s little need to be too worried. But if you’re overweight, unfit, have high blood pressure, diabetes or a family history of early heart disease, then cholesterol levels matter. Note, however, that guidelines also advise limiting sugar (and salt).

The huge range of worse-than-useless low-fat products where sugar and refined starches replace the fat were never recommended. With so many people swallowing the distorted views presented by Catalyst, food technologists are probably busy working on a new range of high-fat, sugar-free foods (with artificial sweeteners). Swapping ingredients doesn’t t solve the problem. Cutting back on all junk foods will.