Freshly Doug Monday

What happens when you talk sense to an Aussie pollie: pic Zachary Bryant

I love the way politicians tie themselves in knots when it comes to marriage equality. How simple can it be? Repeat after me:

Marriage is the union of one adult with one other adult, freely entered into, intended to be monogamous, and lifelong

Easy, isn’t it? The same rules for every couple. No exceptions, exclusions or omissions. Politicians, however, abhor anything that isn’t a compromise, so what we are currently being offered in France and Britain is Marriage, but……

. . . . . without adoption and IVF rights (France), and without divorce on the grounds of adultery or non-consummation in the UK.

“The only surprise in the bill was a clause making it impossible for gay or lesbian people who marry to divorce on grounds of adultery.

“Lawyers and MPs said the distinction created inequality between heterosexual and homosexual couples in the divorce courts and could ultimately lead to he abolition of the centuries-old concept of adultery.

“It came after Government legal experts failed to agree what constitutes “sex” between people of the same gender.

“Gay couples will also be barred from having their marriage annulled on grounds of non-consummation for the same reason.”

People, get it right: marriage equality means EQUALITY – same rules for everyone. Thank you.

The US military seems to have a problem with understanding equal marriage, too, after a lesbian wife was refused membership of the spouses club at Fort Bragg because she ‘didn’t qualify’. They relented after she knocked back a ‘special guest membership’ as insulting.

The currently conservative states, including Victoria (though not for much longer if the polls continue as they are), are getting pissy because the proposed anti-discrimination law changes will override, they say, their own anti-discrimination laws. Robert Clark, the normally invisible and inaudible Victorian Attorney General (who thinks LGBTI folk are all poor handicapped folk to be pitied, you know, like spina bifida babies), believes the whole thing is unconstitutional. Good luck with that one Bob.

Elsewhere in the world, India, of all places, produced a report light years away from the mealy-mouthed stuff emanating from similar august Australian bodies.

The committee, originally formed to investigate how to curb sexual violence in India following the fatal gang rape of a 23-year-old woman, went much further than expected, calling for protection for all sexual identities:

”If human rights of freedom mean anything, India cannot deny the citizens the right to be different. The state must not use oppressive and repressive labelling of despised sexuality. Thus, the right to sexual orientation is a human right guaranteed by the fundamental principles of equality.”

“We must add that transgender communities are also entitled to an affirmation of gender autonomy. Our cultural prejudices must yield to Constitutional principles of equality, empathy and respect.”

The committee also recommended better sex education in schools:

“Children need to be able to access informed, non-prejudiced sources on sexuality. Challenging the perception of sexuality as being purely heterosexual is an ongoing agenda for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) activism…. Collaborating or networking with LGBT activists is a beginning to understanding different sexuality experiences,”

Which is all nothing more than plain commonsense. Australian politicians know it,too, as do most of the eminently sensible Australian electorate, so can we please cut out the fake moral panic and get on with doing something about it?

Prof Kerryn Phelps AM is back in the news again. Hot on the heels of her and wife Jackie Stricker-Phelps honour as Barnardo’s 2013 Mother of the Year, she was back in the papers.

Dr Phelps said she was disappointed that politicians had failed to follow the will of a majority of Australians by legislating to permit same-sex marriages.

“I just think that politicians continuing to obstruct is unconscionable. They’re there to represent the electorate and they’re not doing it,” she said.

Promoting her new book, Ultimate Wellness, The Three Step Plan, Dr Phelps said she had no regrets about declining past suggestions to stand for Parliament.

The response was an outburst of “Kerryn for PM” posts on twitter and Facebook. Kerryn, stick to your decision and keep well out of it. I’ve had a few glimpses into the cesspit lately and believe me, you don’t want to go there.

Check out this great idea from the Gay & Lesbian Task Force USA – an online training academy for activists or, as they prefer to say, organisers. We sure could use one here in Oz.

And finally, Uganda again, for the anniversary of the murder of local GBLTI activist, David Kato. It’s quite long, but well worth your time to hear from LGBTI Ugandans themselves.

About the author

Veteran gay writer and speaker, Doug was one of the founders of the UKs pioneering GLBTI newspaper Gay News (1972) , and of the second, Gay Week, and is a former Features Editor of Him International. He presented news and current affairs on JOY 94.9 FM Melbourne for more than ten years. "Doug is revered, feared and reviled in equal quantities, at times dividing people with his journalistic wrath. Yet there is no doubt this grandpa-esque bear keeps everyone abreast of anything and everything LGBT across the globe." (Daniel Witthaus, "Beyond Priscilla", Clouds of Magellan, Melbourne, 2014)