R is for:

Religious right Whatever happened to the separation of church and state? Right-wing church groups today wield more political power in Australia than ever before. These groups, who seek to promote family or Christian values, have found the perfect ally in our conservative federal government.

And what a fine marriage it is: the church groups give the government donations, public support and their votes while the government gives the religious right the legislation it wants. Cosy, but it comes at a high cost for the gay and lesbian community. These groups consider gays enemy number one, the people who will ruin society and destroy families.

Which is why they lobby heavily against any federal or state-based legal recognition of same-sex relationships and parenting rights, usually with a great deal of success (the national gay marriage ban, overturning the ACT’s civil unions scheme, submissions to the NSW adoption review are recent examples).

And it’s not just the commonwealth they have influence over. The federal opposition ALP and most state governments are also under the spell, putting off gay law reforms and pandering to them for fear of losing their valued support.

Some religious rights groups to look out for include the Exclusive Brethren, Australian Christian Lobby, Family First, Australian Family Association and Christian Democrats.

Rugby What is the worst thing about summer? There’s no rugby on the tele. It’s when the warriors of Rugby League and Union pack their balls away, and we are the poorer for it.

There’s no regular parade of prime rugby beef as they go through their paces at training or on the field. Worst of all, there is no before or after the game coverage, with the players wearing little more than their jocks or form-fitting shorts.

Also missing is the delight of seeing Matthew Johns on The Footy Show, stripping down for some wonderfully inane skit alongside a pin-up like Sonny Bill Williams.

And speaking of pin-ups, the shaft-showing Nick Youngquest in the latest NRL nude calendar is the stuff many a fantasy is made of, as are any of the French rugby lovelies from the brazen Dieux Du Stade series.

But aside from visual glories, rugby players also regularly make us proud, be it the Australian team’s effort at the last World Cup, or our very own Ian Roberts as the first sports star to come out in 1994.

But gay sport’s proudest moment this year was when the Sydney Convicts brought home the Bingham Cup to be acclaimed as the greatest gay rugby team in the world.

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