SIMPLER APPROACH
As vote counting resumes today for the NMG board elections, regardless of the results and differences in opinion, I would like to thank the outgoing board members.
They have all given their time and energy to one of the world’s great GLBTQ organisations, and the world needs more people like them.
I would encourage all to give up a little of their time in order to effect positive change for our community and fight for full equality.
While not announced in the informal proxy count at the AGM, I would like to acknowledge the support of over 150 members given to David Walker, Michael Douglas and me who did not get their proxy vote counted or even reported on, as their email alone was not considered a valid proxy submission, but simply an electronic signature.
If elected, I will work towards having a simpler approach for future NMG elections.
— David Wilson

ELECTION #1
Phew! I’m glad that’s over for another few years. My little letterbox was straining under the weight of the flotsam and jestam of glossy brochures, with their air-brushed images and various claims.
Elections are like water; a means of cleansing the body politic, all the way from effluent-belching Bondi Beach to affluent Darling Point, and beyond.
Malcolm Turnbull’s 10 percent upswing and Labor’s 10 percent downswing in the safe seat of Wentworth seem more important than the Greens’ mini-swing of about 2 percent, now worth 17 percent of Wentworthian votes as counted to date.
But Mr Turnbull’s different attitudes to a carbon tax, refugees, gay marriage etc — at variance with his own party — highlight how our important living and social environments are major, nascent ‘green’ issues.
Perhaps these will allow him to indulge in considering forming his own party.
— Andrew

ELECTION #2
The Australian Family Association may not have succeeded in getting money for staying married, but the Australian Christian Lobby’s website (August 14) boasts about the Coalition commitment that, if elected, they will provide $200 vouchers for couples getting married to encourage them to use marriage education, counselling or parenting programs.
Speaking at an annual National Marriage Day celebration dinner on August 12 the Shadow Minister for Families, Kevin Andrews, announced the new policy to support and strengthen Australian marriages.
In a media release about the new policy, Liberal senator Guy Barnett said the vouchers would be redeemable before or after the wedding, for an approved marriage education, counselling or parenting service.
— John

ELECTION #3
The mainstream media have let us down.
Same-sex marriage seems to be the only issue where the candidates don’t have to provide a reason for their stance, other than ‘I don’t believe in it’ or ‘because it’s party policy’.
What reason could there be for opposing it? Opinion polls say the vast majority of Australians are in favour of allowing same-sex marriage.
In the Howard days, he used to say he did not want to degrade the institution of marriage. What institution is that?
The history of marriage is not a pretty one. It began as a ceremony to pass ownership of the woman from one man (father, walking the woman down the aisle) to another man (husband waiting to receive ownership of her). There were dowries exchanged at the handover.
There still is the language of animal husbandry (bridal = horse). Is this the institution some politicians want to protect?
Marriage needs to be mordernised, so that it is no longer an institution of degradation, sexism or homophobia. Marriage should be modernised to become an institution of equality.
Shame on Peter Garrett and Tanya Plibersek for opposing it.
— Lenny

ELECTION #4
There are more issues of concern in this election than same-sex marriage; for instance, the economy and employment rights.
Although same-sex marriage is a human rights issue, we should not lose sight of the fact that in this election there are realisticaly only two choices for prime minister, Gillard and Abbott. Imagine life in this country under Abbott as prime minister. If you do not want that outcome, ask yourself realistically how can I contribute to that not occurring.
The answer is obvious. Although perhaps not ideal for the GLBTI community (or the People’s Front of Judea), it is the lesser of two evils.
— Paul

ELECTION #5
Dear Julia,
If Australia’s Christian heritage is something you respect so much, you should stop living in sin with your partner.
You are a hypocrite.
You are pandering to the Christian lobby groups because you think you will get more votes from them than you will lose from the gay community and their friends.
I actually think we have more chance of getting equal marriage rights with the Liberals in government.
Shame, shame, shame!
— Grahame

WHITEWASH
I would like to congratulate the past board of NMG on the great progress that they have made in the last 12 months in areas of compliance, governance and community consultation and on an AGM that was stage-managed with the precision and discipline that the Libs and Labor Party can only dream of!
Almost two hours and over 100 PowerPoint slides took us through every detail of what the board had been up to — there was even room for one slide about the disastrous financial result.
In the total of 10 minutes allowed for questions from members we heard carefully rehearsed questions and practised answers delivered as stylish setpieces.
The professionalism of the event was wonderful, however, as with national politics, openness, consultation, vision and honesty were casualties of the process.
Thank you to the Star for reporting the dirt of this election process, I hope you don’t get shut down by the NMG legal machine and spin doctors.
— Geoff

EQUAL RIGHTS
How does legalising same-sex marriage effect anyone who is not gay? It doesn’t.
I am straight. I have a gay son who is in a 10-year relationship. They wish to spend their lives together — to be married, yet it is denied them. Why?
Society should afford gay individuals the same rights that they claim for themselves?
If we are serious about equality, we need to bring it into the legal arena and make it happen. Perhaps denying these rights to the gay community makes those in power feel superior by refusing a bill that would grant this right to all.
Marriage between consenting adults wishing to spend their lives together in a union of love can only foster commitment and stability among all of us, no matter what our sexual orientation.
It is argued that to grant the sacrament of marriage to same-sex couples will demean the biblical meaning of marriage — that sacred union between a man and a woman … till death do us part.
Currently, one in two marriages fail. Straight people alone are responsible. So why not give gay people a 50/50 chance of succeeding.
If we only ever do what has always been done, we would still be burning witches at the stake, committing slavery, denying women the right to vote, killing indigenous people and stealing their children. With knowledge comes power. With ignorance comes no same-sex marriages. I don’t want gay marriage rights, I want equal rights for all.
— Lois

MARRIAGE QUESTIONS
Can I ask why the GLBTQI activists who seem so hellbent on gay marriage in Australia don’t ever protest over what is happening to GLBTQI people in Iran and other parts of the world where gay people are being killed just for being gay?
Sure, it would be nice to be able to marry the man I loved — if I could find a man in Australia capable of anything more than random fucking — but I think it more important that groups such as Community Action Against Homophobia and similar groups protest outside the embassies of countries where GLBTQI people are being killed on the basis of their sexuality and demand of the Australian Government that we remove our ambassadors and high commissioners in places like Iran or better still, ban trade, to force these issues into the mainstream media.
When the gay media continues to publish crap that makes non-GLBTQI Australians think we’re all sluts incapable of being in a loving marriage, can we really expect any outcome other than “No, piss off, you’re not getting gay marriage”?
I look forward to the day when GLBTQI folk start publishing engagement and wedding announcements in the gay media and, should I live to see the day, The Australian, The Sydney Morning Herald and even The Land.
Why aren’t people doing this already? This would pack a lot more punch than two waxed muscle boys in G-strings being photographed at ARQ on a Saturday night.
— Bruce

TELSTRA FAILS
Michael Kirby describes Telstra as a “leader in responding to diversity in employment” (‘Religious loopholes “will close” ’, SSO 1034).
Michael needs to realise that the communications union, the CEPU, has expressed concern at the general treatment of workers at the telco, and this of course includes gay people.
So while the company may promote equal opportunities for minority groups, it appears to be failing in the conditions of employment for all.
— Stuart

LEARN FROM CAAH
With the successful equal marriage rights protest on August 14 that followed the same route that the ’78ers marched along, it got me thinking about the modern Mardi Gras parade.
The equal marriage rights protest was a true display of our community’s values of social justice, equity and inclusion that over recent years in particular the modern Mardi Gras has been criticised for not being.
Instead of holding consultations that produce the same results, New Mardi Gras might want to have a chat with CAAH Sydney and find out how to organise a successful, inclusive and corporate-free parade.
I look forward to the next marriage equality protest on November 27, Town Hall, 1pm.
— Ben

GO TO COURT
Since all states and territories in Australia have, as I understand, gay anti-discrimination legislation, there seems to be a clash here with marriage being only limited to heterosexuality.
This should be challenged in a court of law. It seems to me that there is a very good chance that gay marriage could be ruled to be legal.
— Paul

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