Monday, February 07, 2005

Senator Kay Patterson

I have just received a response to my letter to the above Minister, which I wrote before the government passed it's ban on gay marriage. Despite the fact that faxes from this person spew out of the machine at the station several times most days (this woman's responsible for the pulping of countless trees!) she couldn't get round to responding till now, it seems.

Her letter - I won't bore you with it - is virtually a carbon copy of what many of you will have received on this topic from other government mionisters and MPs, and merely reiterates the governments actions and views, without in any way attempting to address the real issues involved. So I won't bore you with it.

But I will share my reply.

Yr ref: KP:br 01.05

Dear Senator Patterson,

Thank you for your (extremely belated) response to my correspondence on the subject of same sex marriage. I would like to point out a few things.

Firstly, the issue is not one of marriage, per se. The issue is equality and fairness, marriage merely the means.

I have been in a monogamous relationship with my partner for over twelve years now, which I think is fair to say is better than many heterosexuals – and even more politicians! – seem to be able to manage.

Yet our relationship is not recognised as having the same value or status as one of those common casual and temporary unions, merely because we are of the same gender. In order to achieve near-parity of recognition, we are forced to jump through a number of difficult and expensive legal hoops, none of which would be necessary if we could simply have our union recognised as having equal status and value to your own.

The simplest and most straightforward way to achieve this is marriage, with identical rights, privileges and responsibilities. This would send a clear message that we are equal citizens in this country.

I recognise that a lengthy period of ‘civil unions’ of steadily increasing scope would be necessary on the road to this, as has been embarked upon by many European countries, in order to accustom the generality of the population to the fact that we are, in fact, not really any different to anyone else.

The responsible course for any politician of any party is to lay out such a road map, complete with timelines and milestones, to redress the current inequality. This is something called ‘leadership’, in contrast to the servile and cynical pandering to a mob of hysterical self-styled “Christians”, in which your party has indulged itself.

Secondly, very onerous responsibilities are laid upon those who enter parliament and especially upon those who take ministerial responsibilities. Once you are in that position, you have a legal and moral duty to use your powers for the benefit of all Australians, and not just those who belong to your party, or vote for you. This is especially true in regard to minorities, for if this principle is not strictly adhered to, the rights of minorities can be trampled by the tyranny of the majority, as has happened in this instance.

Under normal circumstances ministers of low integrity avoid the odium of acting on behalf of minorities that their supporters dislike, by leaving open avenues of appeal to the courts. Indeed, the courts are the major bulwarks against this kind of abuse of majority power.

In this instance, not only did your government abuse it’s powers in legally enshrining second-class status for a significant minority of your citizens, but also acted in such a way as to bar all avenues of redress via the courts. This is dictatorial, not democratic behaviour, and you should be ashamed of having participated in it.

Thirdly, not only did you consign the said minority of your own citizens to second-class status, but you also abrogated to yourself the right to demote overseas citizens visiting or residing here, who are legally married in their own countries, to that same second-class status, along with their children, which clearly over-reaches your jurisdiction, and is an interference in the domestic affairs of other sovereign states. This is arrogance of a high order.

Your dry recital of the legal niceties involved in this insult does not even begin to address the issues involved, and contributes nothing to remedying the current situation.


Doug Pollard

Sunday, February 06, 2005

So-called "Christian" love

This piece may be about America, but the authors 'righteous anger' is something we could do with more of here in Oz - his responses have universal application. And you don't have to be Christian, or even religious, to appreciate the truth of Archbishop Bruce J. Simpson's take on recent evil court decisions resurrecting the 'gay panic' defence, along with others which set the value of a gay life at less than anyone elses. It all smacks of 'Jim Crow' for me - it's OK to murder a queer because they ain't worth as much as a straight white boy. And what are we doing about it? Hiding our heads in the sand.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Bland Ambition

Congratulations to The Australian for picking up this stunner of an article on the soppy, soggy girly versions of Greek heroes that Hollywood is churning out - and kudos to Mark Simpson for writing it. I was woo-hooing and leaping out of my chair, despite the miseries of a kidney stone.

If I may quote:

"The ancient world was a time when men were men - and the boys were nervous."

"Alexander, by the way, was not 'bisexual' in the way the publicity for the movie has carefully suggested. He was only 'bisexual' in the way that Elton John was 'bisexual' in the 70's."

"Macedonia - even by Greek Standards - was a giant, jumping, open-all-hours ancient leather bar. In fact, the ancient Greeks were scandalised by the 'barbaric' and 'beastly' behaviour of the Macedonians . . . . actually Macedonia was the kind of place that would terrify most of today's leather queens. . . the pre-Christian barracks erotica of Macedonia ultimately defeats Stone precisely because it is too masculine, too pagan. Stone is a liberal Judaeo-Christian pussy."

And much much more. Do have a read, it's a breath of fresh air.