SLEAZE BULL
The directors of New Mardi Gras state “the decision to leave the Hordern this year came after extensive thought and research”. Yeah right, just like the extensive thought and research that went into the recent Mardi Gras party/parade split debacle.
— John

SPERM RIGHTS
The Senate has an inquiry into sperm donors (LegCon.Sen@aph.gov.au).
This is an important issue for the GLBT community touching on one of humanities most basic rights “The right to bear…” . Not the right to bear arms, nor the right to bear our bodies nor the right to bear our thoughts and sexuality but the right to the pain and pleasure of parenthood for all GLBTQI people.
Some lesbians need sperm, some gay men have a compulsion to become ‘gay dads’ some bisexual people may feel that their playmates/partners may not be the DNA suppliers or co-parents that they want and TQI people may have different needs regarding sperm.
My submission was No 1 but I know that the GLBTQI community and GLRL should have their voices heard in this important inquiry which will have a profound effect within the community.
­— John

MARRIAGE #1
The Australian Human Rights Commission’s call for same-sex rights couples to marry is a boost to the unstoppable mood sweeping this country (SSO #1031).
Even just a year ago, equal marriage rights was still hotly contested. Today, the Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby is championing this as a fundamental right — along with same-sex adoption rights.
This shows that a year of intensive campaigning and public discussion about this outstanding question of justice for the LGBTI community has shifted a lot of people’s attitudes.
Julia Gillard is happy to declare she is not married and is not religious, but maintains that marriage is for heterosexual couples. She’s not adversely affected — materially, socially and emotionally — because of her choices.
This is the nub of the problem: while same-sex couples are refused the choice to marry, they are being denied rights that many others take for granted, and choose whether or not to exercise. The fact that these rights are denied to a section of the community is discrimination: it helps reinforce prejudice and bigotry.
This coming election, vote for the parties that do support marriage (and adoption) rights for same-sex couples. I also urge everyone to vote with their feet and join rallies on August 14 ­— the six year anniversary of the ban on same-sex marriage.
— Rachel

MARRIAGE #2
Good on you Michael (SSO #1031). That is what my partner of 19 years and I have been saying for ages. Yes, a commitment ceremony or as we have said on numerous occasions in letters here — a civil union — and the issue is solved.
Do what they did in New Zealand — legilise civil unions for gay couples. No one is offended and those of us who want a legal piece of paper and all the rights that a “married” couple have then have them.
— William

MARRIAGE #3
We are appalled to read Penny Wong’s anti-gay marriage comments. Her rationale that there are ‘cultural, religious, historical view(s) around that which we have to respect’ is simply not good enough.
We ask therefore whether she would have opposed enfranchisement for women, which was in opposition to ‘existing cultural, religious, historical views’.
Naturally she would also have opposed the end to slavery, as there were also ‘cultural, religious (and) historical views’ that wanted it kept.
We live in the 21st century. It is time Labor followed the example of Britain and so many other countries and dragged itself out of the 18th.
— Scott

MARRIAGE #4
Penny Wong is a disgrace. Yet another reason to vote for The Greens in the Senate.
— David

MARRIAGE #5
Senator Wong recently argued against gay marriage out of respect for “cultural, religious and historical views”.  I find this argument extraordinary.  May I remind the Senator that were it not for the many hard fought battles against “cultural, religious and historical views”, it is highly unlikely she, as a 1) gay, 2) woman, 3) of Asian heritage, would currently enjoy her position of legislative power and privilege. Likewise, the Prime Minister, a 1) single, 2) atheist, 3) female who lives “in sin” with her partner would almost never be granted the keys to the Lodge.
I’m a gay man. And like Wong and the PM, I personally couldn’t give a stuff about the institution of marriage. But unlike these leaders, I do care deeply about according fundamental human rights to all. I don’t want to marry. But in a country where marriage is supposedly a secular and civil institution, I expect the full right to choose.
These two politicians enjoy positions of great influence because previous governments rightfully dismantled many elements of discrimination.  This was done, not because these measures were necessarily popular or uncontroversial at the time, but because they were just.
So today, with great national pride, we have Australia’s first Asian-born and first openly gay federal minister, and the country’s first female and first unmarried Prime Minister.
What a great tragedy therefore these two people, both of whom have benefited so much from the hard work of others, see no need to overturn outstanding elements of discrimination for which they see no personal political benefit. I for one, was hoping for so much more.
— Matt

CARE FACTOR
Four years ago a good dyke friend was diagnosed with breast cancer. She went through all the treatments and thought it had gone for good, but recently discovered it had metastasized in several locations.
Thanks to the social worker at the hospice several home care support organisations have been engaged to help fulfill her wish to live at home for as long as possible, but they cannot provide the 24-hour companionship and care my friend needs. Unfortunately there is nothing like Community Support Network, set up to provide volunteer carers to people with HIV, for GLBT with cancer and other life threatening diseases.
I would like to call a public forum to discuss if and how we can provide volunteer carers and companions to help maintain our friends independently in their homes when they are ill.
If you want to help organise the forum or participate in other ways please contact me at this email address: carecommunity@hotmail.com
— Jamie

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