Jun. 19th, 2014 11:46 am
elfinblaze: (quiltbag)
- Latest opinion polls say that 64% of Australians support marriage equality. The site links to various polls, all of them (even the most conservative Murdoch owned ones) show well over 50% support, always somewhere between 60% and 80%. That's a massive change from when I was at university and I remember the numbers hovering around 50%. What a difference a decade makes.

- Most stupid thing I have read this week: The comments to this interesting piece, especially this one: "I am very disappointed in Hilary Clinton for expressing such a political opinion." I'm still laughing. Politicians shouldn't be political, and clearly talking about gender is too political... for a politician. Right-o.

- Hopeful news: Commonwealth funding of school chaplaincy program struck down in High Court
The High Court has upheld a challenge to the National School Chaplaincy Program, ruling the law used to maintain Commonwealth funding for chaplains is unconstitutional.

For non-Australians: in 2006, Prime Minister John Howard (the one who followed George W. Bush into Iraq), introduced the schools Chaplaincy program, which set aside money for all schools (private and public) to fund a school chaplain. This money was specifically for chaplains, and couldn't be used by a school to employ a student counsellor in a secular school instead. When Julia Gillard was Prime Minister, she expanded the program to cover secular counsellors too. Since Tony Abbott has become Prime Minister, he's restricted it again to religious chaplains.

Now the High Court has found that this whole program is unlawful. The above link has a copy of the decision. I'm trying to read the legalese and from what I can tell it came down to whether or not the commonwealth has the power to fund schools in this way, given that schools are a state jurisdiction. The High Court found that it doesn't.

Meanwhile, I'm doing the happy elfin dance. The government should never have funded religious counselling services in public schools.
elfinblaze: (quiltbag)
I have a headache working my way through this legal mess, but I think I have a handle on it now.

To summarise, for anyone as lost in this whole mess as I was, especially those of you not familiar with Australian law:

cut for length )

TL;DR: The good news is that High Court found that the definition of "marriage" in the Constitution includes same sex marriage because we are all "natural people." It also means that all it will take to bring about marriage equality in Australia is an act of (federal) parliament. No need for a referendum, and harder to challenge via the courts later.

Thank you ACT government for forcing the issue. As depressing as things are, this is why discussion is important and valuable.

Now! Anyone with a lot of money feel like challenging the Marriage Act on the basis of this ruling? Cause you're on pretty solid ground right now.


Sep. 20th, 2012 10:35 am
elfinblaze: (Glee QueerGlee)
I hate everything right now. Top of the list: my uterus and my computer. Terrible combination when they both decide to piss you off on the same day.

A word of advice: don't listen to P!nk's new album The Truth About Love for the first time in a drugged out haze, like I did. It had to grow on me after that, and I only realised on the third listen how much I loved the best bits. Which I really do. One thing I don't hate today is the album. Just my computer for ripping the tracks with errors in them. *beats it*

And I still hate cardboard flip covers! What does everyone have against jewel cases this year? All three new albums I've bought this year have had cardboard cases! I end up tearing and bending the cardboard cases in my frustrated attempts to get the bloody CDs out of them! So now I've transferred all those CDs into jewel cases so the cardboard cases don't get damaged every time I want at the CDs.

And here's a good explanation of the legal state of marriage law in Australia right now:
States leave Canberra behind in rush to same-sex marriage
The constitution grants the Federal Parliament a concurrent, rather than exclusive, power to make marriage laws. As with other areas such as taxation, this means that the states also retain power in the area.

Neither Family Law nor the Constitution are my strong points, and those topics bored me in Legal Studies, but this piece makes it very clear... well, just how murky the laws are in Australia, and what can and can't happen. I'm still not holding my breath though, just so everyone knows.

Told you I hated everything today. :) Stupid universe.
elfinblaze: (Glee)
Big news for the day: UN Human Rights Council passes gay rights resolution.

On the final day of the United Nation Human Rights Council's latest 18-day session, a resolution was passed that seeks to combat acts of violence and discrimination around the world based on a person's sexual orientation or gender identity.

The resolution calls for a worldwide study to be conducted into discriminatory laws and practices based on sexual preferences and to look at how human rights law could be put to use to end related violence and human rights violations.

Read the rest of the article, unless you're a nerd like me and want to read the source at the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights website instead: Council establishes mandate on Côte d'Ivoire, adopts protocol to child rights treaty, requests study on discrimination and sexual orientation.

Ok, so it's a resolution, not a declaration, but it's an opening for discussion. And you can bet that activists will rely on it in lobbying for more rights.

Up until now, the UN has been very reluctant to even consider the rights of the rainbow community, mostly because of resistance from the US, China, and Russia combined. So as it stood before today, there was not a single mention of this community in international law. Not even a mention! That's why I walked out of my Human Rights and International Law classes at university depressed, feeling like I didn't even exist. Because according to the UN, I didn't. This is a start.

So even though you are hardly a haven yourself, thank you South Africa for tabling the resolution. Thank you to all the countries that supported it, and thank you to both of my home countries, Germany and Australia, for co-sponsoring the draft resolution.

[EDIT: Autostraddle explains it well, the significance and what it means. And I'm glad I'm not the only one who gets that, "oh, hey, I'm considered human now, am I?" feeling.]

Full text from the relevant part of the UN news account copied and pasted under cut )


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