The 58 pieces of Federal legislation that discriminate against same-sex couples could be removed by the end of this year.

Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) head Graeme Innes was called to a meeting with Federal Attorney-General Robert McClelland last week to discuss the changes, which were outlined in the commission’s 2007 Same Sex: Same Entitlements report.

The news comes as the NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby (GLRL) prepares to launch its campaign to pressure the Rudd Government to fulfil its election promise to remove the discriminatory laws, before the end of the year.

I remain in discussion with the new Attorney-General about when the 58 laws listed in our report will be amended to remove that discrimination, Innes said.

I believe with continued pressure from the community these discriminatory laws will be removed, and will be removed quite soon.

The GLRL will start that pressure campaign at Fair Day this weekend with the launch of its 5808 campaign.

Along with the annual Sea of Hearts display and a lobby stall, GLRL co-convenors Emily Gray and Peter Johnson will seek community support to hold the Rudd Government to its promise and seek a timeframe for the removal of the 58 laws. The Lobby is set to meet McClelland in March to put its case.

From there it’s going to be a matter of meeting with -¦ other allies in Parliament, then just ensuring that it happens and that all the legal ramifications of it happen -“ rights before responsibilities, Johnson said.

The only concern in getting it through is if the Coalition supports it or not. It seems at this stage they will, but the intricacies of how they choose to support that could hold things up.

Innes said the Opposition had also committed to supporting the removal of the discrimination -“ and he assured the community of his continuing support.

Human rights are not specific to a country or region; they belong to humans, he said.

Therefore the fact that gay and lesbian Australians are significantly discriminated against in Australia is of great concern to me.

But the GLRL is not taking the changes for granted and, as well as Fair Day, plan to use this year’s 30th anniversary Mardi Gras parade to further the push for change.

It will field a Bring It On-inspired Mardi Gras parade float, with 58 cheerleaders representing each of the pieces of discriminatory legislation.

info: To find out about the 5808 campaign visit www.glrl.org.au or ring 9571 5501.

Have your say: Do you think the Rudd Government will keep its promise? Visit www.ssonet.com.au.

With bnews -“ www.bnews.com.au

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