AUSTRALIA: Premier Of New South Wales Backs Same-Sex Marriage
Gay Star News reports:
The premier of the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) has come out in support of same-sex marriage. ‘As a Liberal who believes that commitment and family units are one of the best ways in which society is organized, I support the concept of same-sex marriage,’ said Barry O’Farrellto Fairfax Media, dismissing the argument that gay marriage would damage traditional marriage as ‘utterly ridiculous’. O’Farrell urged Liberal party leader Tony Abbott to allow a conscience vote on the issue, as Liberal MPs and senators being told to tow the party line against same-sex marriage is a significant obstacle to passing legislation in Australia. Shadow education minister Christopher Pyne said today that the Liberal party may allow a conscience vote in the next parliament. ‘The party room will get to decide that,’ he said. ‘We might well end up with some recognition of same-sex couples.’ O’Farrell was inspired by this week’spassage of marriage equality legislation in New Zealand. ‘It was NZ that in 1893 first gave votes to women; it took us another nine years to do it,’ said O’Farrell. ‘It shouldn’t have to take us another nine years to get the lead of our cousin across the ditch.’ The NSW state leader said it would be better for the federal government to pass legislation, but if necessary states could go ahead themselves. The five lawmakers (The Nationals Trevor Kahn, Liberal Bruce Notely-Smith, Greens Cate Faehrmann, Labor Penny Sharpe and independent Alex Greenwich) who make up cross-party working group on bringing marriage equality to NSW, welcomed the Premier’s support. ‘NSW now has the same political setting that lead to the successful NZ vote, with both leaders supporting the reform, all parties having a conscience vote, and all sides of politics working together to progress the reform,’ said a statement from the group. The Labor oppostion leader in NSW John Robertson, who’s son is gay, also supports marriage equality. Campaign group Australian Marriage Equality (AME) said that O’Farrell’s support shows that same-sex marriage is ‘no longer a left/right issue but one that conservatives can support because it’s about equality, individual freedom and family values’. ‘With strong support from such a prominent Liberal we can see the light at the end of the tunnel on this important and urgent issue,’ said AME national director Rodney Croome. Prime Minister Julia Gillardand opposition leader Abbott both reiterated their opposition to marriage equality this week. Bills legislating for same-sex marriage were voted down Australia’s House of Representatives and Senate last September. Australia will go to the polls in a general election in 14 September this year. Australian Greens are the only party to include same-sex marriage as a policy.
Australia: Police Brutality Mars Sydney Mardi Gras
A spokesman for the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras this morning sent us the below press release.
Late Tuesday evening, SGLMG received and viewed footage involving NSW Police arresting a spectator with excessive force at the Sydney Mardi Gras Parade on March 2, 2013. This incident is quite distressing and our thoughts are with the individual, his family, friends and those that witnessed this. The Board and Management of SGLMG assure the community and parade viewers that we have requested a meeting tomorrow with the Minister of Police and that we are working with the state Member for Sydney, Alex Greenwich, MP Sydney, to have this incident investigated and addressed.
Minutes before the above statement arrived, I was tipped to the [above] video by JMG reader Dennis. While we don’t yet know the backstory regarding this young man’s arrest, I must warn you that I literally gasped when the cop slammed his head into the pavement. Unforgivable.
UPDATE: The Australian gay news site Same Same is on the story. The victim claims he was arrested for attempting to cross the road during the parade.
Same Same has also been contacted by witnesses to another alleged police assault in the same vicinity on the night, with claims that a young man was punched and left bleeding after his head was smashed against concrete after he had already been handcuffed by police officers. A witness at the scene with her two teenaged sisters says the violent actions of the officers involved left her younger siblings seriously traumatised. “They were crying while the police bashed the boy’s head into the cement,” she said. “It was horrible, disgusting behaviour.” Another witness adds: “They picked him up by the throat and slammed him into the ground with his head hitting the ground that hard it sounded like a bowling ball hitting the ground,” she said. “This was while he was in handcuffs.”
The victim also claims the he was kicked by several officers. The Sydney Morning Herald is now reporting the story.
AUSTRALIA: “Talk About Gay Marriage This Christmas” Campaign
Gay Star News reports:
High profile Australian supporters of marriage equality have joined forces to encourage people to talk about the importance of letting gays and lesbians marry when they spend time with family this holiday season.A new online video campaign by advocacy group Australian Marriage Equality (AME) features Tasmanian Premier Lara Giddings, Labor Senator Louise Pratt, Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, former Australian Medical Association head Professor Kerryn Phelps, independent Sydney MP Alex Greenwich and NSW Greens Legislative Council member Cate Faehrmann.It also features Carl Katter, the openly gay brother of one of the Australian parliament’s most outspoken critics of same-sex marriage – the independent MP Bob Katter - and ACT gay man Ivan Hinton and his parents and partner - who were the face of a campaign showing the family values behind marriage equality in August this year.‘Christmas is a time when family and friends gather together, making it the perfect time to spread the message about the importance of marriage equality,’ AME national convenor Rodney Croome said.‘We know from experience here and overseas that attitudes to marriage equality are shaped, more than anything else, by personal one-to-one conversations. It doesn’t matter if you’re [Australian Opposition Leader] Tony Abbott’s sister, a church parishioner, a farmer, or a mum or dad - the more people talking about marriage equality the harder it will be for our MPs to oppose reform.’The campaign will also be supported by a selection ofshareable Facebook coversande-cards with the same theme.The group has also unveileda giftshop websitethat allows supporters to buy Christmas gifts for loved ones that contribute directly to the marriage equality campaign in Australia.For as little as $9.90 you can have 100 voting guides distributed in a strategic electorate before the next Australian Federal Election on behalf of a loved one.A gift of $250 will put a marriage equality commercial on TV, while a donation of $490 will send a supportive member of clergy to the Australian Parliament to lobby politicians.There are other options to suit any price range.
Australia: The Age Newspaper Calls For A Royal Commission Against Catholic Church For Child Rape Cases
Via it’s website:
ENOUGH is enough. How much more evidence of child-sex crimes by clergy is needed before a royal commission is launched? This newspaper has been saying for months the Victorian parliamentary inquiry is woefully inadequate. It lacks the time, resources and independence to deliver justice to the many thousands of victims and to generate the changes that might prevent many thousands more innocent children falling prey to paedophile priests.
There is abundant evidence not only of these cruel and despicable crimes, but that the Catholic Church has long been protecting perpetrators, people who ought to be investigated and, if convicted, imprisoned. The church’s hierarchy should long ago have given all relevant documentation to the police, who complain that it disgracefully refuses to refer any of the alleged cases to authorities. A royal commission would force such disclosure, without which justice will not be done.
This is a national issue - another reason why the Victorian inquiry is inadequate. On Thursday, a 30-year veteran of the New South Wales police force told a national TV audience of a cover-up by the Catholic Church of child sex crimes by some priests.
The Victorian inquiry has heard harrowing testimony from victims, experts and law enforcers. It has heard estimates that there are tens of thousands of victims. It has heard an estimate that as many as one in 15 priests is guilty of these crimes. It has heard that rape of children by priests continues.
The church claims it has dealt with the issue effectively and appropriately through internal processes. This is absurd and insulting; there can be no confidence that an organisation can properly and independently investigate itself, particularly when it has been seen to conceal the crimes.
This newspaper believes it is time the federal government leads action against this scourge. We are calling for a national royal commission. That is the best hope of rendering justice to the victims and their families and loved ones, of bringing criminals to justice and of saving more vulnerable young people from horrific abuse.
The paper also calls for Marriage Equality, saying that President Obama’s victory after endorsing gay marriage should be proof enough to back this right for gay people, even in a religious society like both the Australian and American.
Australia: Tasmania’s Marriage Equality Bill Fails
Tasmania’s upper legislative chamber has rejected its marriage equality bill. Last month a similar bill passed in the state Assembly.
Gay marriage advocates have vowed to keep campaigning as numbers mount against them in the first attempt at pioneering state-based same sex marriage. The numbers for reform in Tasmania were lost tonight when the eighth voice against the bill was declared in the 15 member state upper house, the Legislative Council. Australian Marriage Equality spokesman Rodney Croome said lower houser approval and some backing in the council were great achievements, given that Tasmania was last to decriminalise homosexuality. “If opponents of this bill think they have put the debate to bed they are wrong,” Mr Croome said.
Last month Tasmania’s legislature voted to recognize same-sex marriages from other countries.
Australia: PM Julia Gillard’s Government & Liberal Party Succeed In Cock-Blocking Marriage Equality In Parliament
Australia’s House today rejected a marriage equality bill by the lopsided vote of 98-42. As the vote took place Australians witnessed the unusual sight of Prime Minister Julia Gillard and other Labor leaders crossing the chamber to sit with those opposed to LGBT equality.
Labor backbencher Stephen Jones says he’s confident same-sex marriage ceremonies will be conducted in Australia within the next 10 years, as his bill to allow gay marriage was overwhelmingly voted down in the lower house. The bill, one of four currently before the parliament to amend the Marriage Act to enable gay marriage, was defeated 98-42 in the House of Representatives today. The vote in the lower house came as debate continued in the Senate on a parallel bill for gay marriage put forward by four Labor senators. Finance Minister Penny Wong said “homophobia has increasingly come to the fore” during the parliamentary debate over the last few weeks.
House members of the ruling Labor Party were allowed to vote their conscience, but the members of the Liberal Party-led opposition coalition were ordered to vote against the bill, prompting the Green Party to demand in vain that the vote be postponed until all members could make a free vote.
Greens deputy leader Adam Bandt said Tony Abbott and Julia Gillard had broken the hearts of gay and lesbian couples and their families around the country. Labor factions had allowed the vote to go ahead knowing it would fail “so they could cry crocodile tears afterwards and then blame Tony Abbott”. “There are many in the Labor Party who just want to clear the decks before an election year and just push this off the agenda … but equality is not going to go away”, he said. The House of Representatives is also considering another bill to legalise same sex marriage, sponsored by Greens MP Adam Bandt and independent Andrew Wilkie.
Today’s House vote took place during a storm of controversy in the Australian Senate after Liberal Sen. Cory Bernardi compared same-sex marriage to bestiality. Bernardi abruptly resigned from his post as party secretary after members of all parties demanded that he be fired.
Australia’s anti-gay Christian activists are thrilled with the vote.
The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) has thanked federal lower house MPs who voted to defeat a bill in support of same-sex marriage. ACL managing director Jim Wallace said the vast majority of Australians were keen to move on from the issue. “I would like to thank the opposition for keeping its election promise and for all those members of Labor who, as a matter of conscience, voted to ensure that marriage remained between a man and a woman,” he said in statement. A bill similar to Mr Jones’ is currently being debated in the Senate and is also expected to be voted down.
Moments after the vote result was read, NOM issued the below exultant tweet.
UPDATE: Australian Senate rejects Marriage Equality (Via Joe.My.God.):
As was expected, yesterday the Australian Senate followed the lead of the House and rejected a same-sex marriage bill. The vote was 41-26.
Australian Greens senator Peter Whish-Wilson used the debate to take a swipe at the “highly offensive” remarks of Liberal Cory Bernardi who suggested legalising gay marriage could lead to calls for the legalisation of bestiality. The comments sparked a furore and cost Senator Bernardi job as a shadow parliamentary secretary. “I can’t think of anything more offensive you could say to a gay person,” Senator Whish-Wilson told parliament. To the howls of Coalition senators, he said he hoped voters realised that’s what they were going to get if they voted Liberal. “Obviously we’ve hit a raw nerve. He wears your colours and he has gone up in the chamber and made an extreme comment,” Senator Whish-Wilson said. Democratic Labor Party Senator John Madigan said he was appalled at the vilification of MPs who opposed the change. “Under the guise of compassion for the desire of same-sex couples, we have endured a non-stop campaign of denigration against those who have refused to buckle under the weight of an attack designed to pour scorn and guilt on those who have the temerity to refuse to deny their principles,” he said.
Australia: Anti-Homophobia Campaign Backed By Professional Rugby League
Gay Star News:
A new Australian campaign tackling homophobia has been endorsed by the Australian Football League (AFL) rugby code. TheNo To Homophobia campaignwas launched at the Victorian state parliament today by the Victorian Mental Health Minister Mary Wooldridge and the Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Ken Lay. Wooldridge said it was everyone’s responsibility to take action on homophobic attitudes. ‘This is a call to action in relation to saying no to homophobia,’ Wooldridge said. A commercial promoting the campaign will screen nation wide on Australian television for a period of 12 months. The commercial shows a range of homophobic incidents in workplaces and in the community and reminds people that ‘anybody can report this behavior.’ Campaign spokeswoman Anna Brown told the Brisbane Times that it was a ‘community driven grassroots campaign.’ ‘The consequences of this harassment can last a lifetime,’ Brown said. ‘We’re really encouraging the community to understand that we all have a responsibility to stand up to homophobic harassment wherever it occurs, and even if we’re not the target ourselves, so if you witness harassment and do nothing, you’re condoning it.’ The campaign comes just weeks after a high profile fining of an AFL player for using a homophobic slur on the field. St Kilda player Stephen Milne was fined $3,000 for calling another player a ‘f*cking homo’ during a game at the beginning of August. Milne is a repeat offender and was fined in 2010 for making another homophobic comment to a referee. AFL chief Andrew Demetriou hoped his code’s support for the campaign made LGBT Australians feel they were welcome at AFL games. ‘A campaign of this nature promoting respect for each other, healthy relationships and a safe, inclusive environment is imperative if we are to affect positive cultural change,’ Demetriou said. ‘We believe the AFL is one game for all Australians … Through both our actions and the guidelines that govern our game, we are committed to providing a truly inclusive, safe and welcoming environment that fosters healthy, respectful relationships on and off the field.’
Australia: Pure Pole Studs (Male Pole Dancers) To Compete On Everybody Dance Now
It takes a real muscle-man to pole dance - that’s the message from a trio of self-confessed ‘pure pole studs’ ready to take on Network Ten’s new show Everybody Dance Now, which premiered on Sunday.Travis Scott, Chris Talbot and Luke Quadrio, who train in Fortitude Valley, form the buff trio Pure Pole Studs and will star in the show hosted by Sarah Murdoch and dance masters Kelly Rowland and Jason Derulo.Mr Scott, 25, is a pole dance instructor at the Fortitude Valley’s Pure Pole Academy and said there were some moves female pole dancers just couldn’t do.The key, he said, was male upper-body strength.“I’ve been trying to bring this sport away from adult night clubs and we want to put it out there that men can do pole dancing too - we know it’s physically demanding,” he said.The men perform at private parties including hen’s and buck’s nights, saying the public enjoyed their routines.“Some are a little hesitant at first but when they see what we do they like it,” Mr Scott said.“More men are coming to the forefront wanting to try pole dancing.“It doesn’t matter about your sexuality - Chris and I are partners and we love what we do.”And Mr Scott said he was excited about the opportunity to show the general public what men can do when it comes to pole dancing.“I really got into pole dancing about two years ago after performing in a few Brisbane night clubs,” Mr Scott told City News.“I have a strong dance background in ballet and contemporary after studying at QUT Kelvin Grove.”Mr Talbot, 27, is a personal trainer and natural fitness body builder while Mr Quadrio, 26, has had acrobatic training in China.The team remained tight-lipped about the routines Pure Pole Studs will perform during the show.Dancers on the show will compete in duels in front of a studio audience that decides the most entertaining routine.There is no judging panel and the acts must win over the voting studio audience.The winner of the show will take home $250,000.
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