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New rights for Australian gay and lesbian couples approved by Senate

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  1. this is a real shame, not the bit about granting equal rights but the bit about “not accepting legislation that mimics marriage”…if The US under Obama introduces federal gay civil unions/marriage then Australia will be left with the most reactionary, bigoted position amongst the developed English speaking nations. I don’t think that’s a position that Australia would relish, so hopefully if America moves quickly, Paul Rudd will have to re-think his governments policy. Ireland moving quickly to introduce it’s civil partnership legislation would also be a nudge in the right direction…

  2. Robert, ex-pat Brit 25 Nov 2008, 4:21pm

    Andy, I doubt if Obama is going to move quickly on this one. However, I think civil unions will be legislated before the end of his first term in 2012. Its not a high priority for obvious reasons. Ireland will get there sooner than the U.S. of course. There is no federal legislation drafted and I doubt this will be addressed until at least 2010. However, if New York State legislates marriage equality in 2009 or 2010 (legislation is already drafted), then maybe Obama will be pressured as a result of the success of Prop H8 to address civil unions legislation a bit sooner. Vermont, New Jersey and possibly Iowa may have marriage equality before too long, the first two currently have civil unions at the state level. This too will add pressure undoubtedly.

  3. Robert, ex-pat Brit 25 Nov 2008, 7:36pm

    Andy, what I forgot to add is that once the U.S. introduces civil unions….Australia will probably not be able to hold out on expanding the remaining rights inherent in marriage. Australia tends to look to the U.S. than to Europe on a lot of issues, some good, some bad. If you recall, it was after the U.S. started to impose state bans (30 states)on same-sex marriage that Australia followed suit almost immediately, much to its detriment and probably one of the worst social policies it adopted. It will change as time progresses, its inevitable as more countries enact equality legislation.

  4. Civil unions/partnerships are always moves to forestall equality in the hope that few will bother to seek actual equality – which would require equal access to marriage, and nothing less. Always the question must be “why not equality?” The answer is always that they see us as lesser people.

  5. All well and good to be 80% on the way to being equal but what about single people (of any persuasion)? Does this mean I only have to pay 80% of my taxes, Mr Rudd? And I no longer have to contribute to the thousands being paid to married couples having babies?

  6. Just today we had a backlash – Anti Gay activists were appointed on the mens health committee.
    The above link is a a petition that I urge you all to sign to keep gay rights in perspective.

  7. hi jenny, we’ve been through this endless times and certainly rob and i are making an effort not to go back there! For me equal rights means the same rights in terms of pensions/inheritance/taxes/next of kin status/immigration etc. Don’t know what nationality you are but civil partnerships in Britain offer EXACTLY the same rights/benefits as marriage in Britain. Therefore they are equal. Exactly the same benefits and exactly the same rights = EQUALITY. Ofcourse we can and have endlessly argued about the “right” to use the word “marriage” to describe these gay partnerships. I’ve come round to thinking that’s a valid argument for those who have an emotional attachment to that particular word,, but the most important thing surely is equality before the law, rather than equality in terminology. Perhaps your argument is that the two should move hand in hand and the gay community should not accept legal equality unless the terminolgy is identical to that used by hetrosexuals? But in my opinion that attitude can “forestall” legal equality. For historical cultural and mainly religious reasons, many more politicians and voters are uncomfortable with the idea of gay “marriage” than with civil partnerships, so it seems you can either wait/fight for years/decades etc for those attitudes to change, or work for equality with a different label, and once thats been awarded, upgrade it ( if you see it as an upgrade!) to the same label. Because although you said that civil parterships/unions are used to forestall full equality, historically that’s not the case…in many of the countries, eg holland, belgium,sweden and many US states eg california, civil unions have been stepping stones to gay “marriage”. They didn’t stop itt happening, they paved the way for it to happen. I agree with Rob, that if Obama stands by his promise to introduce civil unions in the US which he has said will offer identical rights to heterossexual marriage, then Australia will probably folow suit with civil union/parternship legislation of its own, and THEN we can argue about whether to call them “marriages”, that way we move forward….

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