The Australian government’s decision to refuse same-sex marriages has been compared to slavery by gay rights groups.
Last week the Australian government announced more than 100 reforms that will give gay couples the same rights as straight couples.
The move was welcomed by Australia’s LGBT community. However, they also questioned the government’s decision to maintain the ban on gay marriage.
LGBT group ‘Australia Marriage Equality’ (AME) has criticised the government for not going far enough:
“The Federal Government has got it wrong by asserting that discrimination is only about financial entitlements,” said AME national convener, Peter Furness.
AME also criticised the Government for the complexity of it’s plans:
“With around 100 Acts to be amended, this is an extraordinarily complex way to deliver financial equality when the government could simply amend a few words in the marriage act.
“The Rudd Government’s policy to recognise same-sex relationships through state-based registers may have the blessing of anti-gay hate groups like the Australian Christian Lobby, but it does not grant same-sex couples the dignity, respect and equality they deserve.”
Attorney General Robert McClelland insisted:
“We made it clear before the election that the government regards marriage as being between a man and a woman and we don’t support any measures that seek to mimic that process.”
Prominent gay rights advocate Rodney Croome yesterday compared Mr Rudd’s opposition to gay marriage to arguments made in favour of slavery and denying women the vote. He told Australia’s Herald Sun newspaper:
“The Prime Minister never provides justification for his opposition to same-sex marriage or civil unions, other than to say that marriage has been traditionally known as a union between a man and a woman,”.
“My point was that people justified slavery up until it was abolished and justified not giving women the vote up until they were enfranchised by saying that it was the tradition.
“That’s not a good justification for keeping things as they are.”
Rodney Croome is the spokesperson for the Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group, and one of the founders of the Australian Coalition for Equality (ACE).
He fronted the successful campaign to decriminalise homosexuality in Tasmania, which until May 1, 1997 was a criminal offence punishable by up to 25 years jail.