An attempt to give same-sex partners of military servicepeople equal rights to compensation, grief counselling and death benefits payments has failed in the Federal Senate. Democrats senator Brian Greig tried to amend the wording of the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Bill to include same-sex partners.

Both the Liberal and the Labor Party refused to accept the amendment. This ongoing discrimination means that if a gay or lesbian serviceperson is killed or injured, their surviving partner is not shown the same care, consideration or compassion as would a heterosexual partner, Greig said. Gay men and lesbians have been legally serving in the Australian Armed Forces since 1992. Liberal Party Senator Alan Ferguson said the Democrats were trying to push legislation through the wrong channels. Besides, Ferguson said, there were very few gay men or lesbians in the Armed Forces. I do not imagine that a great many of these 150 odd people that are there in Iraq are in same-sex partnerships, he said. Both the Liberal Party and the ALP called on Greig to present a Private Members Bill to explain discrimination against same-sex couples. The Democrats Sexuality and Gender Identity Discrimination Bill has been on the Senate Notice Paper for nine years, with the major parties refusing to let it be debated to conclusion, Greig said.

A new international gay and lesbian sporting organisation was founded this week to rival the Federation Of Gay Games. The Gay And Lesbian Sport Association (GLISA) launched its worldwide event brand Outgames at the Gay And Lesbian Athletics Foundation annual conference in Boston last week. GLISA is a not-for-profit association aiming to celebrate, support and promote gay and lesbian culture through sport. In the next couple of months GLISA will try and increase its membership numbers by contacting known gay sporting organisations around the world. The new organisation is planning to be the umbrella support organisation for the breakout gay games Montr?’s Rendez-Vous 2006. One of GLISA’s founders Ole Udsholt said the new organisation would better serve the needs of the gay and lesbian sporting world. We will consolidate and make financially sound a new GLBT sports movement, Udsholt said.

Queering Christ
University students with a queer Christian bent are planning a public forum to bash out issues of pride, spirituality and queer theology.

Panel speaker and Metropolitan Youth Pastor Johnathan Jones said the forum would be for students getting in touch with their inner Christian.

Our hope is that this forum will mark an important turning point in the lives of queer Christian students, Jones said.

It will be a chance for them to raise their burning questions and help them to move forward into a full relationship with their God and each other.

The forum is part of The University of Sydney’s Pride Week celebrations. Other speakers include Catholic priest Peter Mahr and Australian Christian Movement feminist and social justice activist Shehara Viswanathan.

Queering Christ is presented by the University of Sydney Union, the University of Sydney student ministry Queer Campus Christians in association with the national Queer Project of the Australian Student Christian Movement.

The Queering Christ forum will be held at on Monday 5 April at 2pm in the Reading Room of the Holme Building, near the Parramatta Rd Footbridge.

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