If you haven’t already been paying attention, there’s something deeply concerning going on north of the border.
Queenslanders awoke today not only to find their hard fought civil unions scheme had been cruelly stripped back to a pet-like ‘relationship register,’ but the recently-elected Newman Government now has its sights set on abolishing recently passed laws to ban same-sex couples from having children through surrogacy.
This follows the complete gutting of the state’s HIV support organisation the Queensland Association for Healthy Communities, which also offered LGBTI Queenslanders the rare platform to seek support.
All this without once consulting the LGBTI community. For those who live in Queensland, the message is loud and clear – gays and lesbians in the Sunshine State are not equal, their relationships not worthy of the same respect.
Scarcely have we seen such gay rights reforms repealed in such quick succession in Australia. This should set off alarm bells throughout the country.
What is most concerning about the decision to downgrade the civil unions scheme particularly — and Premier Campbell Newman has admitted as much — is it was made solely to appease religious conservatives.
Last week the Courier Mail exposed internal struggles within the Liberal National Party, revealing a strong religious right hell bent on marking its territory. And they have done so, all over the LGBTI community.
All political leaders have to manage competing views within their party. But at the end of the day Newman is leader and this windback exposes his great weakness on this issue.
Many Queenslanders are now rightly asking: Why are the prejudices of a few allowed to override the fair and equal treatment of all?
The very plain answer is, conservatives Christians, with outdated views, are pulling the strings.
Last night a group of furious protesters inside parliament chanted, “Shame, bigots, shame” from the gallery.
They were later removed but their outrage was palpable. And so is mine. This is not just a decision that affects Queenslanders.
Taking away people’s access to fair and equal treatment is something that affects us all. We should not remain silent on this issue.