CHURCH AND STATE
At this moment when our parliament seems ready to debate same sex marriage, may I offer an argument that the French have used effectively: simply, the separation of church and state.
Followers of religions are encouraged to practice their beliefs, as they see fit, within their walls, but at the town hall where traditionally the mayor celebrates civil unions, all couples who wish to be united in good faith are welcomed.
No religious terms are allowed to creep into the contract; all citizens are entitled to expect equal consideration.
Thus gays and lesbians, as well as people of non-western faiths and atheists are considered equal.  I urge all members of our new parliament to adopt this last tenet of non-discrimination.
— Anton

MARRIAGE ANNOUNCEMENT
The announcement of Prince William’s marriage to his long-term girlfriend makes for good news copy but I’m really looking forward to Buckingham Palace announcing Prince Harry’s  marriage to his longterm boyfriend.
– John

DOMA
The estate taxes demanded by the United States’ Internal Revenue Service against its gay population are a disgrace (“Defence of Marriage Act challenge”, SSO 110). As such, it would be completely jusitified for gay people to engage in acts of civil disobedience in an effort to bring about an end to that country’s financial abuse and discrimination.
– Stuart

ALSO #1
I refer to the from a Mr Richards regarding Alsocare  (SSO 110).
It was refreshing to read that someone at last has the courage to call it as it is. I was present at the initial meeting called to consider the formation of Alsocare on September 7, 1987.
At that time 23 years ago, I was 60 years of age and, as a member of ALSO, I was concerned that consideration be given to the establishment of appropriate venues for elderly gay people like myself — many of whom were either in receipt of meagre superannuation benefits, or in many industries no super benefits at all.
I was very encouraged by the formation of Alsocare and my former partner and myself, like many others at the time, decided that the final survivor of the relationship would name Alsocare as the beneficiary.
However I, like many others, have become disillusioned by the spending policies of Also management where, in my opinion, Alsocare funds have been disbursed for purposes other than those originally intended.
I decided some years ago to no longer support the organisation.
In my view it was an excellent idea subsequently consigned to the trash can. It was never conceived as a lucky-dip for ALSO extravagances.
Thank you Mr Richards for putting the case so eloquently.
– Harry Nash

ALSO #2
Following my letter published in Southern Star on November 18, a welcome but hardly transparent, reply came from the ALSO president.
I’m delighted Jason Rostant admits funds were bequeathed and applied by ALSO directors. What we differ on is how these funds were disseminated, which could easily be resolved.
To say that I, or indeed other members in the past, did not know or have access to ‘legal estate conditions’ suggests something secret applied in all cases. Normally wills are open to a form of public access.
Are these bequests all secret Jason? I think not.
I challenge Jason to, as part of the coming AGM, name the bequest amounts and terms; what was done with the funds; and how much, if any, is left.
As I recollect the bequests I refer to were progressively published in past ALSO Annual Reports — nothing secret about them back then.
Perhaps we could provide some way of recognising those persons.
It is the terms listed in a will that are paramount not ‘interpretations’ or ‘wishes’ that have somehow emerged and perhaps taken up by ALSO Foundation.
The pronouncement by Jason regarding Val’s Cafe is at last a start in the age care field, but I’ve yet to encounter a usable bottom line.
I welcome the belated recognition by ALSO of needs within the aging population, and yes, I will and have already given assistance.
I just hope this latest report will stand up to the validation rigour of the four past reports.
– Geoffrey R Richards

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