A leaking hole has been blown in the Federal Government’s case against same-sex marriage with the news that transgendered individuals with partners of their reassigned gender will be recognised as married from July 1.

Recognition will only be granted to those who marry as opposite-sex couples before the transgendered partner undergoes surgery, but it’s a powerful precedent, and one unlikely to go unnoticed by social conservatives.

Post-operative transgendered individuals are considered their reassigned gender by law throughout Australia, but breaking up such marriages would have been just too ugly and would have generated too many headlines.

But it begs the question: other than political expediency, what makes an opposite-sex couple who later become a same-sex couple fit for marriage but not a couple who’ve been the same gender since birth?

The inconsistency of allowing some same-sex couples to be married but not others sets a powerful precedent for campaig-ners to exploit -” particularly while the Labor-governed states refuse to honour the ALP National Conference’s pre-election promise to create nationwide
relationship registries.

Speaking of the National Conference, the decision to bring its next meeting forward six months has set off a flurry of speculation about an early election in September.

If it were to occur, it would be a full Senate election, meaning both Steven Fielding and Nick Xenophon would be up for election.

With Fielding unlikely to receive much in the way of ALP preferences, Family First’s foray into federal politics is probably at an end. Xenophon is likely to be returned and is largely pro-gay -” cautious on marriage but likely to support civil unions, putting him ahead of most of the federal Labor team.

But the Greens could be the big winners should they clinch another two Senate seats and grab an unshared balance of power -” allowing them the strength to force the government’s hand and deliver final and complete GLBT equality.

With NSW Greens leader Lee Rhiannon poised to switch to federal politics, they look set to wage a strong campaign to win back the Senate spot of former Greens GLBT spokeswoman Kerry Nettle.

At this stage the Government’s big election promise to the gay community seems likely to be federal anti-discrimination legislation, though I remain willing to be surprised by a federal registry.Significant reforms in the meantime are unlikely.

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