Stage disgrace

I recently attended a performance of the comedy The Little Dog Laughed at the Ensemble Theatre in Kirribilli and was embarrassed to discover many of the seats were empty.

This entertaining gay play deserves to be much better attended -” it was a Tony nominee for Best Play when it debuted on Broadway a couple of years ago.

It’s great to see Ensemble Theatre bring a play with gay characters before its usually conservative audience and this endeavour needs to be supported by the community, otherwise it will be regarded as a noble failure not to be tried again.

Running through until mid-August, I would urge readers to make the trip north of the bridge to enjoy this witty, fast-paced production, well-served by its talented and attractive cast. There is currently nothing more entertaining on Sydney’s stages!

-” Brian

QUESTIONS

Emily Gray (SSO 980), co-convenor of the GLRL is busy rewriting history again. This needs to be corrected in the journal of record.

The protection of older gays and lesbians in receipt of Centrelink benefits received little attention in the Lobby’s flawed consultation report All Love is Equal… Isn’t It? It recommended a -˜phase-in’ period of at least 12 months to allow lesbians and gay men adequate time to arrange their finances. No mention of grandparenting or a phase-in period for those over a certain age. Compare this to the recently announced eight-year phase-in for the increase in the age of eligibility for the age pension from 65 to 67.

I suspect grandparenting was swept off the negotiating table at an early stage.  Not that the GLRL even consulted with the experts in the field (Welfare Rights) in the policy development process. That didn’t occur until Welfare Rights contacted GLRL when the legislation was tabled. Such arrogance is indicative of the level of policy competence of the GLRL.

The silence from the GLRL, on the downside of the reforms, was deafening. It took some effort in late 2008-09 to rouse the GLRL from its Pollyanna-like -˜everything is rosy and aren’t we great’ state to readdress the issue with government.  The GLRL did so in a half-hearted manner as it was clear it did not support the initiative. All too late.

I would like to know what the GLRL has learned from this process and how it intends to apply this learning to other reforms.

-” Stephen

Register now

Given that the Rudd Government has twice rejected same-sex civil unions now (both in April 2009 and now August 2009) when will the Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby fight for relationship registration in NSW, as they have in other Australian states?

When will the Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby let the wider LGQBTI community know that FULL proof of your same-sex relationship can now be provided by REGISTERING your relationship at the state or territory level, as a result of the new laws the Rudd Government passed last year.

This is a relationship option that we have already developed and is available for NSW to implement now.

In her speech at their community forum in 2005, Professor in Law Jenni Millbank stated, What is common to every single jurisdiction that has granted same-sex marriage is a process that has been described by a Dutch expert as the law of small change. Then she goes onto outline the typical stages.  Relationship registration in NSW can form one of these small steps on the way to full relationship recognition (in the form of same-sex marriage).

Does the Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby realise that same-sex couples are still being denied their rights in NSW because they can’t prove their relationship exists?  Didn’t they read the Star Observer article of a man who had been denied his deceased partner’s superannuation because he could not fully prove his relationship existed to the superannuation fund this year?

Couples often have to avail themselves of these new rights near the end of their lives -” when their partners are gravely sick or dying -” and the majority of those on the GLRL board are under 40 (if not 30) and would not have had personal life experience of such in their own relationships.  They would not be able to personally and directly realise the importance and urgency of need that occurs when one has to prove that one’s same-sex relationship exists to those who do not believe in gay relationships or to those who do not fully understand the law as it currently stands.

Even the LGQBTI community does not fully understand all our new rights passed last year, so we should not expect all those in the business and public sectors to also fully know our new rights (there were over 100 laws changed across 19 government departments -” do you know them all?).

Please support relationship registration in NSW as a necessary step on the road to full equality.  There are couples who need a secure form of relationship proof now.

-” Peter

NO THANKS

The gay community says thanks for nothing, Mr Rudd and the Labor Party, except for perpetuating homophobia by not changing your stance on gay marraige. The next time any of you start preaching to other nations about human rights remember how you have denied these same human rights to your own citizens.

-” Rodger

THANKS CAAH

On behalf of Australian Marriage Equality, I would like to thank Community Action Against Homophobia (CAAH) for organising the National Day of Action for Same-Sex Marriage in Sydney. This was indeed a historic day for gay and lesbian rights.

Ben Cooper, Emilia Lawonski, and Rachel Evans from CAAH deserve our entire community’s gratitude for taking our fight for equality to the international media stage. Not only did the protest draw over 2000 participants, they also coordinated the illegal weddings of 90 couples. I urge our community to support CAAH with donations to help them to continue to make such a meaningful difference www.caah.org.au

–” Alex Greenwich, National Secretary, Australian Marriage Equality

NO MARRIAGE

First and foremost, we are a gay male couple who have been together for nearly 20 years and we are very proud gay men.

We have supported many of the changes that have been made down the long road of discrimination. However one change we do not support is this current campaign for marriage.

Civil unions, YES; marriage, NO.

The term -˜marriage’ or -˜married’ is not something we, as two gay men, want and the current campaigners do not speak for the whole gay community

In some cases, for some gay men and women, it appears they want equal rights but at the same time complain about receiving these same rights. An example being recent letters and articles about equal rights now offered by Centrelink.

We can’t have it both ways -” equal rights and then complain when we have received these equal rights.

-” William and Neil

THANKS EVERYONE

On behalf of the National Day of Action Coalition and Community Action Against Homophobia, we would like to say thanks to all those who were involved with organising and promoting the same-sex marriage protest in Sydney. We would also like to give a special thanks to the speakers and Katrina Fox, who did an amazing job as MC, and Pastor Karl Hand for officiating over the wedding ceremony.

Also, a big thank you to those who marched and to those who were illegally married. Congratulations to you all, without you this day would not be possible and you have all played a big part in creating momentum for legalising same-sex marriage in Australia.

The National Day of Action saw the largest turnouts for same-sex marriage ever in the history of the event. We are disappointed in the Rudd Government’s refusal to listen to the people and remove the ban on same-sex marriage.

We’d also like to take this opportunity to thank Sydney Star Observer for officially endorsing this year’s National Day of Action for Same-Sex Marriage. To have the endorsement of SSO meant a great deal to us.

We look forward to continuing the fight for same-sex marriage in the coming months and to organising an even bigger event next year and every year until we are equal.

-” Ben Cooper and Emilia Lawonski, CAAH Sydney

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