Freshly Doug Weekender

Sarah G

The really bad stuff. About priests who may have the blood of innocent children on their hands. News today that a pack of Catholic priests of the Hospitaller Order of St John of God, running homes for intellectually disabled boys in Victoria, raped and may even have murdered some of their charges.  At least seven boys have since committed suicide.

The current Victorian Parliamentary Enquiry into institutionalised child abuse is proving to be toothless, inept, under-resourced and simply not up to the job. The number of cases where the clergy continue to escape justice is enough to freeze your blood. A truly horrifying catalogue.

In New South Wales, a senior serving police officer, Detective Chief Inspector Peter Fox, appeared on Lateline to claim that the Catholic church covered up crimes of paedophile priests, silenced investigations and destroyed crucial evidence to avoid prosecutions in the Newcastle-Hunter area. NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell brushed off demands for a Royal Commission.

UPDATE: O’Farrell announces ‘inquiry’ : please sign petition for full Royal Commission.

Ms Gillard, if you have an ounce of compassion in your body, you must override all these petty state cover-ups and whitewash attempts and announce a full-bore national Royal Commission now.

More bad stuff: after reporting that Malawi would suspend the operation of its anti-gay laws, I have now to report that under pressure from the churches, they have backtracked, and denied the laws were ever suspended.

More backtracking in Hong Kong, where a motion in the legislature calling for public debate on the need for a law to ensure equal rights for people of all sexual orientations was unexpectedly voted down, in a heated session. Religious representatives insisted any such measure would curb their rights to speak out on what they insisted was a moral, not a legal, issue.

More pressure from churches – especially those perpetrators, concealers, aiders and abbettors of child rape and murder known as the Roman Catholic Church – is also having some success in crippling the moves towards marriage equality in France and Britain.

Quite why anyone pays attention to these people is beyond me. The only attention they deserve is an immediate heavy police invasion of their offices and a seizure of all their files. Before they shred any more of them.

It seems that the Gillard government is finally wising up to the irrelevance of the Australian Christian Lobby. No sooner had they begun bleating “Where’s that internet porn filter you promised?” than the government answered “Not doing that any more.” – although they did offer Stephen Conroy, who has championed the measure against all sense through thick and thin, one little fig-leaf to cover his embarrassment. The government will force ISPs to block the Interpol blacklist of paedophile sites. Finally an end to pandering to the Christaliban and the glimmering of common sense.

The Australian Christaliban Lobby is attempting to ramp up a campaign against an equal marriage bill due in the South Australian Parliament, which I covered in a recent Rainbow Report (podcasts of my show on iTunes or the Community Broadcasting Association site). The ACL have so far said nothing about a similar bill making its way into the ACT parliament. Hopefully the politicians have now learned they have more to gain from ignoring their manufactured bluster. 

Gay marriage in Oz next? After all, Barack Obama has just proved that you can support gay marriage and win an election, even in the face of the most toxic pseudo-religious irrationality found anywhere on the planet. With 60,893,249 votes to Romney’s 57,956,903, and 332 Electoral College votes to Romney’s 2006, it’s an emphatic victory. Obama even beat Justin Beiber’s record for the most retweets.

By taking a bold leap, endorsing marriage equality – thanks to a nudge from VP Joe Biden (thanks Joe!) – Obama instantly swung the highly effective, organised and energised gay vote behind him, which contributed significantly to his victory.

“Exit polls show 5% of voters identified themselves as gay, lesbian or bisexual. (Voters weren’t asked whether they are transgender.) Of those, 76% voted for Obama. While that number is high, it’s also a six-percentage-point increase over the 2008 election for the president,” reported The Advocate.

Opponents remain in denial (including our own Andrew Bolt). For those with a strong stomach for bile, here’s an example.

It should be obvious by now to everyone in the Australian Labor Party, that Julia Gillard could swing a highly motivated and energised block of voters and campaigners behind her in the general election, for which the government is already clearing the decks. All she has to do is admit she was wrong on gay marriage and announce she will go to election campaigning for it. And let Joe de Bruyn go hang with his dinner buddies, George Pell and Tony Abbott.

Meanwhile for those with a firm grasp on reality and a vision unclouded by virulent bigotry, out lesbian TV anchor Rachel Maddow had a perfect rejoinder to the Republican denialists who still cling to the ‘we wuz robbed’ myth: please watch the whole video on this site, it’s a doozy.


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)