Okay, okay. You can get on the bus, just sit at the back

October 24, 2007

When contrasting the two major parties in the upcoming federal election, it’s interesting to see that the lesser of two evils can still be pretty crap. From the Age:

OPPOSITION Leader Kevin Rudd has angered members of the gay community by saying he is opposed to homosexual marriage and refusing to be drawn on the question of gay couples adopting children.

Well, it’s no great surprise considering Rudd’s religious views, but interestingly he doesn’t offer that as a rationale. So what possible non-religious objections could there be to to gay marriage?

“When it comes to the Marriage Act, that is the responsibility of the Federal Parliament,” Mr Rudd said. “And the Marriage Act relates to a union between a man and a woman, and that remains Labor policy as it has been into the past and as it will remain into the future.

The past? The Marriage Act has related to “a union between a man and a woman” for a whole three years since 2004 when the the Howard government (with the full complicity of the Australian Labour Party) introduced the Marriage Legislation Amendment Bill, explicitly excluding same sex couples from the legal definition of marriage. This is quite ironic (if not profoundly hypocritical) considering changes to social security legislation that allow agencies like Centrelink to recognize same sex relationships as equivalent to marriage when assessing a reduction of benefits.

On the issue of adoption by same sex couples, Rudd is just dodging the issue:

Journalists asked fruitlessly for Mr Rudd to state his personal view of gay couples adopting children. “As I said, these things are regulated by the states,” he responded.

Asked repeatedly to declare his personal opinion, Mr Rudd refused.

Although I think it’s fair to say that his silence speaks volumes about his personal opinion.

Australian Coalition for Equality spokesman Rodney Croome addressed the comments:

He said Labor’s policies on same-sex entitlements had improved significantly since the last federal election with a commitment to legalise equality for de facto same-sex couples and to having relationships registries in each state.

“Labor’s current policy will address some of the deep disadvantage and discrimination which currently exists in Australian law,” Mr Croome said.

“But even if Labor fulfils all of its promises it will still not be possible for same-sex partners to publicly and officially declare their love for each other in front of their family and friends, as they can in Canada, Britain, New Zealand and many other Western countries,” he said.

He really summed it quite concisely here:

“Labor is effectively saying same-sex couples can get on the bus, but we still have to sit at the back.”

Leader of the Australian Greens Bob Brown (along with the Australian Democrats, the only other party to oppose the Marriage Legislation Amendment Bill in 2004) has commented:

“Kevin, you’re wrong. Gay and lesbian people should be treated the same as heterosexual people under the law,” Senator Brown told reporters in Canberra.

“When people form a relationship, they love each other, they get together, they share their lives, then the law should not be an impediment and they shouldn’t discriminate,” he said.

“That means removing the discrimination that Labor and the coalition have on marriage laws against this section of the community who happen to have same-sex relationships.”

It really breaks my brain. So many serious issues facing us as a nation and a species, and so much effort is expended to stop two people from solemnizing their commitment to each other because of matching genitalia. It’s pathetic, and as a society it makes us look very, very small.


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