WE’RE HERE, WE’RE QUEER. . .AND WE’RE NOT GOING TO THE MAINLAND!

Today, 1 May 2017, marks twenty years since homosexual acts were finally decriminalised in Tasmania, through a bill finally passed through their upper house, the notoriously reactionary Legislative Council. During the Nineties, gay activists fought an epic battle for nearly a decade, in order to bring an end to these laws. Sometimes fighting against seemingly impossible odds, they never gave up.
These were the laws, in the Tasmanian Criminal Code, 1924:
122. Any person who –
has sexual intercourse with any person against the order of nature;
has sexual intercourse with an animal;
consents to a male person having sexual intercourse with him or her against the order of nature,
is guilty of a crime
Charge: Unnatural sexual intercourse.
123. Any male person who, whether in public or in private, commits any indecent assault upon, or other at of gross indecency with, another male person, or procures another male person to commit any act of gross indecency with himself or any other male person, is guilty of a crime.
Charge: Indecent practice between male persons.
(Morris 1995, pp6-7)

WE’RE HERE, WE’RE QUEER…AND WE’RE NOT GOING TO THE MAINLAND!

Today, 1 May 2017, marks twenty years since homosexual acts were finally decriminalised in Tasmania, through a bill finally passed through their upper house, the notoriously reactionary Legislative Council. During the Nineties, gay activists fought an epic battle for nearly a decade, in order to bring an end to these laws. Sometimes fighting against seemingly impossible odds, they never gave up.
These were the laws, in the Tasmanian Criminal Code, 1924:

122. Any person who –
(a)   has sexual intercourse with any person against the order of nature;
(b)   has sexual intercourse with an animal;
(c)   consents to a male person having sexual intercourse with him or her against the     order of nature,
is guilty of a crime
Charge: Unnatural sexual intercourse.

123. Any male person who, whether in public or in private, commits any indecent assault upon, or other at of gross indecency with, another male person, or procures another male person to commit any act of gross indecency with himself or any other male person, is guilty of a crime.
Charge: Indecent practice between male persons.
(Morris 1995, pp6-7)

‘This law had destroyed men’s lives’ {Brown 2014}. He and other gay men campaigned against the laws, with a courage and strength that defies all negative stereotypes about them. However, they were not the only ones who took this side in the argument. There were those with a commitment to human rights, for whatever reason, and those who simply regarded the laws as an anachronism by the end of last century. This was particularly true if they lived in other states, or countries, where their sodomy laws had been abolished.

There was another side to the debate, who presented their arguments vociferously. These were arguments such as that of Chris Miles, a politician and Baptist lay preacher, who claimed: ‘homosexuality was not acceptable in any society, let alone a civilised one’ {Morris 1995, p35}. He clearly was not a scholar in Classic Greek History. Then there was the gem from Jack Breheny, the Ulverstone councilor, whose comparison hardly flattered either, with ‘representatives of the gay community are no better than Saddam Hussein’ {Sainty 2016}.
Then there was George Brookes, a leading campaigner to retain Sections 122 & 123, and a member of the Legislative Council, whose views were not atypical. For a law that already carried 21 years’ prison time, about 7 years longer than it ever had in any other state, he stated: ‘I believe we ought to be tightening up the laws, making them a little more drastic . . . and maybe we would influence a few more of them to take the plane north’ {quoted in Milliken 1992}.

The gay activists would counter this with the memorable slogan: ‘We’re here, we’re queer. . .and we’re not going to the mainland’ {Croome @ Fidler 2011}.

 

 

WORKS CITED

http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/how-a-tasmanian-gay-rights-battle-influenced-the-world-20140412-zqt2p.html

 

 

 

Spring Reminiscing

“Spring shows what God can do with a drab and dirty world.”
– Virgil A Kraft

Now that’s something to remember, now that spring is here again. The cherry, plum and peach trees are in flower, with the vines not far behind, the air filled with the sweetness of wisteria and jasmine. The brunsfelsia trees are also a multi-coloured riot.

The rains are over, for now. The days are beginning to warm up and it can only get better. When the wind blows, it is no longer the bitter cold of winter, but carries a promise on the air. The promise is that it can and will get better.

Fresh green, for the leaves. Gold for sunshine. Blue for the beautiful warm sky.

What colours are there for me? Grey for my misery, brown for the dirtiness of life in the city, and black for the hearts of some.

The horrible people who tried to take advantage of me, the arrogance of others who can’t wait to look down their nose at you, and the treachery of those who enjoy kicking anyone who’s down.

To hell with them all!!!

Spring is here. By now I know that it isn’t only the plants that can regenerate. It isn’t only the birds that can sing their happiness.

Bring on the sunshine.

Eine Kleine Nachtmusik

It was late at night, on another night in another big city. On a weeknight like this, all the respectable working people were in their beds. Only insomniacs, and perhaps ghosts, walk at this hour.

It was so quiet here! About as quiet as it gets in the heart of the city. Despite all the cars flowing down this busy road, I felt all alone in the world.

There was action around for those who wanted it. In the pubs a few blocks away, everything was bright and gay. I could have joined in the fraternity there.

However I kept walking in the opposite direction, enjoying a bit of quiet.
Crossing the busy street, I came to a corner, where the duilding had stairs leading up to a type of verandah or patio, which looked like a stage. Inside, the impressive foyer led to a wide staircase. It was a grand entrance to a grand old edifice, which must have been really something back in the day.

Nowadays, it was a place where homeless people often dropped their swags and slept.

Tonight, someone had put an old piano on this impromptu stage. I wonder who it was organised that? I guess I should tell them that all the world is one. Sitting there was Jack, a man who I knew around the traps.

I knew that he was not the full quid, a few snags short of a barbie, or had kangaroos loose in the top paddock – there are so many expressions for it. Whenever he wasn’t abusive, however, I didn’t disparage him for this.

My auntie had Down’s Syndrome after all, the whole family could take off her rather cracked voice. Her two big interests in life were knitting, which she was pretty ordinary at, and the piano, her playing was quite extraordinary.

Jack was similarly talented in certain ways: he played guitar, had once done a portrait of a veiled woman, she looked like a nun. On a bad day, all I would hear from him was “smelly arse” and the F word.

Tonight he was in a good mood, offering me a cigarette. I climbed the stairs and had a look around. Noticing the piano, I commented about how it made the place look like a stage.

He asked me if I could play? So I sat down and had a go, the only thing I could remember was Bach’s Minuet in G. All those years of piano lessons, all that practicing my mother nagged me about, just for this.

Jack told me it was good, but it was so much better when he took over. He played one of Beethoven’s symphonies, the notes flowing like water.
This was much appreciated by his audience of one, the music flowing over me like a mighty river. I sat on the stairs, my two hands to only ones clapping at his playing.

He then switched to Mozart. I may have been the only one sitting there, but I was not the only audience that he had. I noticed people sitting at the lights in their cars, by their reactions it was obvious they also appreciated his playing, as the music flowed over them.

You could hear the same music at the Opera House, or down at Symphony in The Domain. That would be one thing. It was quite another to hear such talent from such an unlikely person, in such an unlikely place. It was like splashing around in some dirty river, then coming up with pure gold.

I feel privileged that I was there to witness it on that night, to hear that music.

The Anniversaries – Resources

The Anniversaries.

RESOURCES

Overseas:

ABC (5/2/2014) Same-sex marriage: Scotland becomes 17th country to approve laws. Retrieved from: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-02-05/scotland-becomes-17th-country-to-approve-same-sex-marriages/5239268
Austalian Marriage Equality (2014) Marriage equality around the world. Retrieved from: http://www.australianmarriageequality.org/overseas-same-sex-marriages/
BBC (2013) Gay marriage around the world. Retrieved from: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-21321731
Botelho, Greg (2014) State-by-state: A frenzied few months on the same-sex marriage front. Cable News Network. Retrieved from: http://edition.cnn.com/2014/05/21/justice/same-sex-marriage-state-breakdown/index.html
Civil Partnership Act 2004. The National Archives. Retrieved from: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2004/33
CNN (2014) Same-sex marriage in the United States. Cable News Network. Retrieved from: http://edition.cnn.com/interactive/us/map-same-sex-marriage/
CNN Library (2014) Same-Sex Marriage Fast Facts. Cable News Network. Retrieved from: http://edition.cnn.com/2013/05/28/us/same-sex-marriage-fast-facts/
Euronews (2013) Reflecting on 12 Years of Gay Marriage in the Netherlands. Retrieved from: http://www.euronews.com/2013/04/01/reflecting-on-12-years-of-gay-marriage-in-the-netherlands/
Fifis, Fran & Arce, Rose (18/5/2004) Same-sex couples exchange vows in Massachusetts. Cable News Network. Retrieved from: http://edition.cnn.com/2004/LAW/05/17/mass.samesex.marriage/index.html
Frank, Nathaniel (2013) Scalia the Mullah. The Slate Group. Retrieved from:
Freedom to Marry (2014) History and Timeline of the Freedom to Marry in the United States. Retrieved from: http://www.freedomtomarry.org/pages/history-and-timeline-of-marriage
Freedom to Marry (2014) The Freedom to Marry Internationally. Retrieved from: http://www.freedomtomarry.org/landscape/entry/c/international
GLAD (2014) Goodridge et al. v. Dept. Public Health. Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders. Retrieved from: http://www.glad.org/work/cases/goodridge-et-al-v-dept-public-health/
GLAD (2014) Goodridge v. Department of Public Health Background Information. Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders. Retrieved from: http://www.glad.org/work/cases/goodridge-faq/
http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/jurisprudence/2013/06/scalia_and_gay_marriage_how_the_justice_misunderstands_morality.html
Kirk, Chris (2014) Your Guide to the Gay Marriage Fight. The Slate Group. Retrieved from: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/jurisprudence/2014/05/gay_marriage_map_where_is_same_sex_marriage_legal.html
Masci, David & Sciupac, Elizabeth & Lipka, Michael (2013) Gay Marriage Around the World. Pew Research Center. Retrieved from: http://www.pewforum.org/2013/12/19/gay-marriage-around-the-world-2013/
Masci, Sciupac and Lipka (2014) Gay Marriage Around the World. Pew Research Center. Retrieved from: http://www.pewforum.org/2013/12/19/gay-marriage-around-the-world-2013/
McBride, Alex (2006) Lawrence v. Texas (2003). THE SUPREME COURT. Retrieved from: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/supremecourt/future/landmark_lawrence.html
Miranda, Dr Roberto & Bradley, Robert & Prunier, Chanel (2005-07) About Us. VoteOnMarriage.org. Retrieved from: http://voteonmarriage.org/
Oyez Scholars (2011) LAWRENCE AND GARNER v. TEXAS. IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. Retrieved from: http://www.oyez.org/cases/2000-2009/2002/2002_02_102
Phillips, Frank (14/6/2007) Tight vote looms on same-sex marriage. The Boston Globe Newspaper Company. Retrieved from: http://www.boston.com/news/specials/gay_marriage/articles/2007/06/14/tight_vote_looms_on_same_sex_marriage/
ProCon (2014) 35 States with Legal Gay Marriage and 15 States with Same-Sex Marriage Bans. ProCon.org. Retrieved from: http://gaymarriage.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=004857
Ring, Dan (17/5/2006) 8,100 gay, lesbian couples marry after 2004 decision. The Republican. Retrieved from: http://www.masslive.com/metrowest/republican/index.ssf?/base/news-0/114787085559880.xml
RNW (2011) Ten years of same-sex marriage: a mixed blessing. Radio Nederland Wereldomroep. Retrieved from: http://www.rnw.nl/english/article/ten-years-same-sex-marriage-a-mixed-blessing
SBS (2014) At-a-glance: Same-sex marriage around the world. Retrieved from: http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2014/10/07/glance-same-sex-marriage-around-world
Solomon, Todd (2009) Same-Sex Marriage, Civil Unions, and Domestic Partnerships: Recent Developments and the Impact on Employee Benefit Plans. Society for Human Resource Management. Retrieved from: http://www.shrm.org/Conferences/annual/Documents/confsessions/09Ann_Solomon.pdf
The Associated Press (1/4/2001) Gay Marriage Goes Dutch. CBS Interactive Inc. Retrieved from: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/gay-marriage-goes-dutch/
This Day in History (17/5/2014) First legal same-sex marriage performed in Massachusetts. A&E Television Networks, LLC. Retrieved from: http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/first-legal-same-sex-marriage-performed-in-massachusetts
Thomson Reuters (2014) LAWRENCE et al. v. TEXAS. FindLaw for Legal Professionals. Retrieved from: http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=US&vol=000&invol=02-102
Wikipedia (2014) Boston marriage. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Retrieved from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boston_marriage
Wikipedia (2014) Civil Partnership Act 2004. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Retrieved from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_Partnership_Act_2004
Wikipedia (2014) Lawrence v. Texas. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Retrieved from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawrence_v._Texas
Wikipedia (2014) Same-sex marriage in Massachusetts. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Retrieved from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Same-sex_marriage_in_Massachusetts
Wikipedia (2014) Same-sex marriage in the United States. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Retrieved from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Same-sex_marriage_in_the_United_States
Wikipedia (2014) VoteOnMarriage.org. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Retrieved from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VoteOnMarriage.org
Witkowski, D’ann (24/11/2005) Creep of the Week: VoteOnMarriage.org. Between the Lines. Retrieved from: http://www.pridesource.com/article.html?article=16635

Australia:

AAP (22/10/2013) Feds poised to challenge gay marriage laws. The Australian. Retrieved from: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/latest-news/act-prepares-to-debate-gay-marriage-bill/story-fn3dxiwe-1226744206090?nk=bf6a3449b5a078107a4a58e38deff6fd
AAP (27/5/2004) PM targets gays in marriage law. Fairfax Media. Retrieved from: http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/05/27/1085461876842.html
AAP (May 27/5/2004) Howard to ban gay marriages. The Age Company Ltd. Retrieved from: http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2004/05/27/1085461875956.html
ABC (29/7/09) Rudd firm on gay marriage stance. ABC News. Retrieved from: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2009-07-29/rudd-firm-on-gay-marriage-stance/1370872
ABC News (//2014) Senator David Leyonhjelm to introduce same-sex marriage legislation in private members bill. Retrieved from: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-11-26/new-same-sex-marriage-legislation-proposed-for-parliament/5918044
Akersten, Matt (2014) Marking 1 year since Canberra’s ‘5 Days of Equality. Diversity ACT Community Services. Retrieved from: http://www.diversityact.org.au/hub1/news/localnational/marking-1-year-canberras-5-days-equality
AMF (13/8/2014) On the 10th Anniversary of the Marriage Amendment Act 2004. Australian Marriage Forum. Retrieved from: http://australianmarriage.org/archives/on-the-10th-anniversary-of-the-marriage-amendment-act-2004
Australian Conservative (27/8/09) The push for gay marriage: John Howard contrasts Canada with Australia. Retrieved from: http://australianconservative.com/2009/08/the-bill-of-rights-debate-john-howard-compares-canadian-experience-with-australias/
Australian Human Rights Commission (2004) SUBMISSION TO THE SENATE LEGAL AND CONSTITUTIONAL LEGISLATION COMMITTEE ON THE PROVISIONS OF THE MARRIAGE LEGISLATION AMENDMENT BILL 2004. Retrieved from: https://www.humanrights.gov.au/marriage-legislation-amendment-bill-2004
Busby, Cec (23/10/2014) NSW expunges historic gay sex convictions. GNN. Retrieved from: http://gaynewsnetwork.com.au/news/national/nsw-expunges-historic-gay-sex-convictions-15464.html
Byrne, Elizabeth (13/12/13) High Court throws out ACT’s same-sex marriage laws. ABC Retrieved from: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-12-12/high-court-decision-on-act-same-sex-marriage-laws/5152168
Commonwealth Consolidated Acts (2014) COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA CONSTITUTION ACT – SECT 51. Retrieved from: http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/cth/consol_act/coaca430/s51.html
Commonwealth of Australia (2004) MARRIAGE AMENDMENT BILL 2004. THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA. Retrieved from: http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/cth/bill_em/mab2004175/memo1.html
Commonwealth of Australia (2004) Marriage Amendment Bill 2004. Retrieved from: http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Bills_Legislation/bd/bd0405/05bd005
Commonwealth of Australia (2012) Same-sex marriage. Parliament of Australia. Retrieved from: http://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/BriefingBook44p/Marriage
Coorey, Phillip (30/7/09) Rudd presses Labor not to bless gay marriages. Fairfax Media. Retrieved from: http://www.smh.com.au/national/rudd-presses-labor-not-to-bless-gay-marriages-20090729-e1m5.html
Copland, Simon (1/10/2013) Comment: The logic of Gillard’s opposition to same-sex marriage. SBS. Retrieved from: http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2013/10/01/comment-logic-gillards-opposition-same-sex-marriage
Courtney, Shae (2013) Marriage Equality in Australia (and the World). Right Now Inc. Retrieved from: http://rightnow.org.au/writing-cat/article/marriage-equality-in-australia-and-the-world/
Cox, Lisa & Jean, Peter (16/9/2013) Territory to legalise same-sex marriage. Fairfax Media. Retrieved from: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/territory-to-legalise-samesex-marriage-20130915-2tt9o.html
Cox, Lisa (15/7/2014) Poll shows growing support for same-sex marriage. Fairfax Media. Retrieved from: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/poll-shows-growing-support-for-samesex-marriage-20140714-3bxaj.html
Crime: HSC Legal Studies (2014) Provocation as a partial defence to murder. State Library of NSW. Retrieved from: http://guides.sl.nsw.gov.au/content.php?pid=242813&sid=3924375
Croome, Rodney (2011) A history of marriage in Australia. The Drum. ABC. Retrieved from: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-07-01/croomemarriage/2778326
Croome, Rodney (2014) Media Release: Advocates Welcome Gillard’s Declaration That Marriage Equality Is Inevitable. Australian Marriage Equality. Retrieved from:

Cullen, Simon (19/9/12) Lower House votes down same-sex marriage bill. ABC News. Retrieved from: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-09-19/same-sex-marriage-bill-voted-down/4270016
Cullen, Simon (20/9/12) Australian Senate votes down same-sex marriage bill. ABC News. Retrieved from: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-09-20/an-senate-votes-down-second-bill/4272428
Curtis, Katina (22/10/2013) Feds poised to challenge gay marriage laws. AAP. The Australian. Retrieved from: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/latest-news/act-prepares-to-debate-gay-marriage-bill/story-fn3dxiwe-1226744206090?nk=bf6a3449b5a078107a4a58e38deff6fd
Dunkin, Alex (2012) Eight Years of Marriage Discrimination. Gay News Network. Retrieved from: http://gaynewsnetwork.com.au/eight-years-of-marriage-discrimination-8137.html
Editorial (23/10/2013) ACT crosses the rainbow bridge. The Age. Fairfax Media. Retrieved from: http://www.theage.com.au/comment/the-age-editorial/act-crosses-the-rainbow-bridge-20131022-2vz80.html
Fitz-Gibbon, Kate (2014) Kate Fitz-Gibbon responds to NSW provocation law reform. Criminology @ Deakin: Crime, Surveillance, Security and Justice. Retrieved from: https://blogs.deakin.edu.au/criminology/kate-fitz-gibbon-responds-to-nsw-provocation-law-reform/
Fitz-Gibbon, Kate (2014) The injustice of the provocation defence in NSW continues. Criminology @ Deakin: Crime, Surveillance, Security and Justice. Retrieved from: https://blogs.deakin.edu.au/criminology/the-injustice-of-the-provocation-defence-in-nsw-continues/
Foschia, Liz (5/3/2014) NSW legislation will limit ‘defence of provocation’ for murder charges. ABC. Retrieved from: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-03-05/nsw-legislation-to-limit-27defence-of-provocation27-for-murde/5300490
Gerber, Dr Paula (2012) Wiping the slate clean: historic convictions for gay sex must be expunged. The Conversation. Retrieved from: http://theconversation.com/wiping-the-slate-clean-historic-convictions-for-gay-sex-must-be-expunged-9768
Gerber, Dr Paula (2014) Expunging convictions for gay sex: an old wrong is finally righted. Monash University. Retrieved from: http://monash.edu/news/show/expunging-convictions-for-gay-sex-an-old-wrong-is-finally-righted
Gillin, Lauren (16/10/2012) Calls to expunge gay sex convictions. ABC. Retrieved from: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-10-16/calls-to-expunge-gay-sex-convictions/4315858
GLAAD (2014) #5DaysofEquality: Dec. 7 – 12, 2014. Retrieved from: http://www.5daysofequality.com/
Hay, Bob (2007) The Modern Gay Rights Movement. Bob Hay Online Resources. Retrieved from: http://bobhay.org/_downloads/_homo/NHH%2022%20Diversity%20in%20Diversity%20-%20The%20Modern%20Gay%20Rights%20Movement.pdf
Henderson, Anna (23/9/2014) Julia Gillard on gay marriage: Former PM says only a matter of time before same-sex unions legal in Australia. ABC News. Retrieved from http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-09-22/gillard-says-same-sex-marriage-a-matter-of-time/5760460
HIGH COURT OF AUSTRALIA (2013) THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA v THE AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY[2013] HCA 55 Retrieved from: http://www.hcourt.gov.au/assets/publications/judgment-summaries/2013/hca55-2013-12-12.pdf
High Court of Australia. The Commonwealth v Australian Capital Territory [2013] HCA 55 (12 December 2013). AustLII. Retrieved from: http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/HCA/2013/55.html
Hinton-Teoh, Ivan (2014) Media Release: Advocates Hope Freedom To Marry Bill Will Be “Turning Point”. Australian Marriage Equality. Retrieved from: http://www.australianmarriageequality.org/2014/11/25/medi-release-advocates-hope-freedom-to-marry-bill-will-be-turning-point/
Jahshan, Elias (23/10/2014) Advocates welcome final approval of NSW bill to extinguish historical gay sex convictions. Star Online. Retrieved from: http://www.starobserver.com.au/news/local-news/new-south-wales-news/advocates-welcome-final-approval-of-nsw-bill-to-extinguish-historical-gay-sex-convictions/129236
Jean, Peter & Cox, Lisa (22/10/2013) ACT passes same sex marriage bill. Canberra Times. Retrieved from: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/act-passes-same-sex-marriage-bill-20131022-2vy5o.html
Jennett, Greg (2004) Howard rules on gay marriages. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved from: http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2004/s1117638.htm
Kirby, Justice Michael (2004) Family Law: The Special Contribution of Alastair Nicholson. Australian Journal of Family Law. Retrieved from: http://www.hcourt.gov.au/assets/publications/speeches/former-justices/kirbyj/kirbyj_may04.html
Lawrie, Alastair (2014) 10 Things I Hate About Marriage Inequality. WordPress. Retrieved from: http://alastairlawrie.net/10-things-i-hate-about-marriage-inequality/
M Neilsen (10/2/2012) Same-sex marriage, Background note, Parliamentary Library, Canberra. Retrieved from: http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22library%2Fprspub%2F1409734%22
M Neilsen (2012) Marriage Amendment Bill 2012 [and] Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2012 [and] Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2010, Bills digest, 158, 2011-12, Parliamentary Library, Canberra. Retrieved from: http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22legislation%2Fbillsdgs%2F1720409%22
Marriage Legislation Amendment Bill 2004. Bills Digest No. 155 2003–04. Parliamentary Library. Retrieved from: http://www.aph.gov.au/binaries/library/pubs/bd/2003-04/04bd155.pdf
McKim, Nick (2013) ACT Becomes Rainbow Territory. Tasmanian Times. Retrieved from: http://tasmaniantimes.com/index.php?/pr-article/act-becomes-rainbow-territory/
Mukhopadhyay, Sounak ()’Gay Marriage Will Be Legal in Australia’: Former Prime Minister Julia Gillard. International Business Times. Retrieved from: http://au.ibtimes.com/articles/567215/20140923/gay-marriage-legal-australia-former-prime-minister.htm#.VI1bztKUeNs
My Big Gay Wedding (2014) Same-sex marriage: The Marriage Amendment Bill 2004. Retrieved from: http://www.mybiggaywedding.com.au/laws/australia/
National Centre Against Bullying (2014) The Hon. Alastair Nicholson. The Alannah and Madeline Foundation. Retrieved from: http://www.ncab.org.au/alastairnicholson/
News Ltd (22/10/2013) ACT legalises same-sex marriage. Retrieved from: http://www.news.com.au/national/act-legalises-samesex-marriage/story-fncynjr2-1226744362166
Nicholson, Alastair (2004) THE LEGAL REGULATION OF MARRIAGE. University of Melbourne Law Students’ Society. Retrieved from: http://www.law.unimelb.edu.au/files/dmfile/29_2_7.pdf
Open Australia (2012) Marriage Amendment Bill (No. 2) 2012; Second Reading. Retrieved from: http://www.openaustralia.org.au/senate/?id=2012-09-17.3.2
Osborne, Paul (20/4/11) Howard laws create gay marriage loophole. Fairfax Media. Retrieved from: http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-national/howard-laws-create-gay-marriage-loophole-20110420-1dof2.html
Parliament of NSW (2013) Partial defence of provocation (Inquiry). Retrieved from: https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/Prod/Parlment/committee.nsf/0/78B96853E8FC1F2DCA257A22001D0442
Patty, Anna & Alexander, Harriet (24/3/2013) Provocation defence should be severely limited, say MPs. Fairfax Media. Retrieved from: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/provocation-defence-should-be-severely-limited-say-mps-20130423-2icu6.html
Pennicuik, Sue (2014) Sentencing Amendment (Historical Homosexual Convictions Expungement) Bill 2014. The Greens. Retrieved from: http://greens.org.au/sentencing-amendment-historical-homosexual-convictions-expungement-bill-2014
Perth Now (29/7/2009) PM Kevin Rudd says no to gay marriage. News Ltd. Retrieved from: http://www.perthnow.com.au/lifestyle/pm-kevin-rudd-says-no-to-gay-marriage/story-e6frg3pl-1225755944534?nk=b040ccedf86e7f9860af62a410261b96
Ryall, Jenni (7/12/2014) A global offering of love to 31 Australian couples whose marriages were voided. MashableAustralia. Retrieved from: http://mashable.com/2014/12/06/5-days-of-equality/
SMH (19/9/12) Gay marriage bill defeated. Fairfax News. Retrieved from: http://www.smh.com.au/national/gay-marriage-bill-defeated-20120919-266a8.html
Tomazin, Farrah (12/1/2014) Victoria to expunge criminal records of men convicted over gay sex. Fairfax Media. Retrieved from: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/victoria-to-expunge-criminal-records-of-men-convicted-over-gay-sex-20140111-30ntq.html
Warden, Ian (22/10/2013) Joy as ACT passes same sex marriage laws. Canberra Times. Retrieved from: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/joy-as-act-passes-same-sex-marriage-laws-20131022-2vyip.html
Wikinews (2006) Australian Senator to introduce bill for same-sex marriage. Wikimedia Foundation Inc. Retrieved from: http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/Australian_Senator_to_introduce_bill_for_same-sex_marriage
Wikipedia (2014) Alastair Nicholson. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Retrieved from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alastair_Nicholson
Wikipedia (2014) Marriage Act 1961 (Australia). Wikimedia Foundation Inc. Retrieved from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marriage_Act_1961_(Australia)
Wikipedia (2014) Marriage Equality (Same Sex) Act 2013. Wikimedia Foundation Inc. Retrieved from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marriage_Equality_(Same_Sex)_Act_2013
Wright, Tony (8/12/2013) Same-sex marriage was all the rage in the national capital. Canberra Times. Retrieved from: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/same-sex-couples-rush-into-marriage-before-high-court-decision-20131207-2yy6p.html
BOOKS
Cook, Rachel (2010) Closets Are For Clothes: A History of Queer Australia; Black Dog Books, Fitzroy.
Hughes, Robert (1986) The Fatal Shore: The Epic of Australia’s founding. Alfred A Knopf Inc, New York.
Hull, Kathleen (2006) Same-Sex Marriage: The Cultural Politics of Love & Law. Cambridge University Press, New York.
Irving, Terry & Cahill, Rowan (2010) Radical Sydney: Places, Portraits and Unruly Episodes; UNSW Press, Sydney.
Johnston, C & Van Reyk, Paul; Ed. (2001) Queer City: Gay and Lesbian Politics in Sydney. Pluto Press Australia Ltd, Annandale.
Robinson, Shirleene (2008) Homophobia: An Australian History. The Federation Press, Sydney.
Smith, Babette (2008) Australia’s Birthstain: The Startling Legacy of the Convict Era. Allen & Unwin, Crows Nest.

The Anniversaries

For many years, homosexual couples have been having informal forms of marriage such as commitment ceremonies, ring exchanges, civil unions and domestic partnerships. The change from a personal milestone in their relationships, to demanding legal recognition of marriage in some countries, has certainly become a hot issue.

“In this general social context, same-sex wedding rituals represent a form of political resistance, regardless of how their primary creators (the couples) describe their intentions.”
{Hull, p 73}

If you only listen to headlines, you could mistakenly believe that only gay people get married these days and the rest merely ‘shack up’. This is far from the case, especially in Australia. We will look at a couple of anniversaries, that both happened ten years ago. One established many other wedding anniversaries in its wake; the other made it only a dream for some people, in particular same-sex couples.

Should Australia join the 18 countries that currently have legal, same-sex marriage? {http://www.pewforum.org/2013/12/19/gay-marriage-around-the-world-2013/} Will we ever join this group?

Firstly there are those who regard marriage as too sacred to fall into the hands of homosexuals. Like the famed sociologist Durkheim’s “classic distinction between sacred and profane, Marriage seems to function as a kind of totem for some heterosexuals, a sacred object that must be protected from defiling contact with the profane (same-sex intimacy). Hence the rhetoric about defending, protecting and preserving marriage, without any real specificity about how same-sex couples would actually harm the institution.” {Hull, p208}

A good example of this is the Australian Marriage Forum, with the following appeal to tradition. “Marriage exists in all societies (with only rare aberrations which only prove the norm) because infants at every time and every place need the patient love and nurture of both their mother and their father. All cultures take the biological ‘given’ of the natural pair-bond and reinforce it with customs and ceremony to achieve the social goal of stable families and communities. Historically this has been important for the protection of the pregnant woman and vulnerable children, as well as for the economic viability of the family unit.” {http://australianmarriage.org/clients}

Like the unfortunate Archduke Franz Ferdinand did a century ago, they always think of the children. The ones who are growing up in single-parent families do not have the nurture of both their mother and father, whether through divorce, separation or teenage pregnancy. However, these single parents are mostly heterosexual.

Secondly, there are some gay people who reject the model of traditional heterosexual marriage, just as many straight couples do. In both cases, it should be their right to choose.

Thirdly, there are those who regard same-sex marriage as the pot of gold at the end of the gay liberation rainbow. To them it has become as much of an issue now, as legalisation was in the Seventies and Eighties.

Does it have to be gay marriage? How about the recent repeal of Provocation as a defence for murder, which began with a straight domestic violence and murder case? Now, under the Crimes Amendment (Provocation) Bill 2014 [NSW], “the so-called gay panic defence would also be abolished.” {http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/provocation-defence-should-be-severely-limited-say-mps-20130423-2icu6.html}. Then there are the new bills, beginning in Victoria, to expunge historic gay sex convictions. {http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/victoria-to-expunge-criminal-records-of-men-convicted-over-gay-sex-20140111-30ntq.html}

One question that doesn’t seem to be asked much, just taken for granted, is: how will it improve the lives of gay and lesbian people? Sure they could then have a . . . fairytale wedding, but how about living happily ever after? There is someone’s cynical opinion that sure gays should be able to get married, let them be as unhappy as anyone else.
“Despite the arrival of legal same-sex marriage in Massachusetts, same-sex couples in the United States do not have access to the same legal rights and privileges available to opposite-sex married couples.” {Hull, p73} Sodomy laws were only repealed nationwide, under the case of Lawrence v Texas 2003. {http://www.oyez.org/cases/2000-2009/2002/2002_02_102}

Even in the Netherlands, the first country to bring in same-sex marriage, there is still homophobia. Gay children are much more likely to be bullied at school than straight ones, and some neighbourhoods are not safe for same-sex couples, even if they are married. {http://www.euronews.com/2013/04/01/reflecting-on-12-years-of-gay-marriage-in-the-netherlands/}

How much more then would this be the case in Australia? Here, homosexuality was originally associated with the crowded hulls of ships, chain gangs, convict barracks and Female Factories. There were some harsh punishments in those days; buggery was a capital crime, often commuted to Transportation. Captain Arthur Phillip, our first Governor, commented: “There are two crimes that would merit death – murder and sodomy. For either of these crimes I would wish to confine the criminal until an opportunity offered of delivering him as a prisoner to the natives of New Zealand, and let them eat him.” {Smaal & Moore, quoted in Robinson 2008, p71}

Then there was Colin Delaney, the NSW Police Commissioner from 1952-62. He claimed in a speech in 1958 that homosexuals were our “greatest social menace”.{Irving & Cahill 2010, p323} Under his command, good-looking undercovers were dispatched to the ‘beats’ as agents provocateurs, meaning that arrest rates went through the roof. {Willet @ Robinson, p119} In the meantime, organised crime in the state was overlooked.

As Australians, will we continue to be ashamed our convict past, then the sodomy and homophobia that went with it? Just as they were scandalised by all of this at the Select Committee on Transportation in 1837. Or will we be able to accept our past and move on into the 21st Century future? Only time will provide the answers to this.

In the meantime, we will look at two anniversaries from 2004. Both celebrate 10 years, this year. Only one of these anniversaries would lead to many more for same-sex couples.

THE FIRST ANNIVERSARY

The first country to offer full marriage benefits to homosexual couples, as enjoyed by the smiling bride and groom, was the liberal-minded Netherlands. This law came into effect on the very interesting date of 1 April 2001. {http://www.bbc.com/news/world-21321731} Four couples were married on that day by Job Cohen, the Mayor of Amsterdam, who told them: “There are two reasons to rejoice: You are celebrating your marriage and you are also celebrating your right to be married.” {http://www.cbsnews.com/news/gay-marriage-goes-dutch/}

By 2003, neighbouring Belgium had followed suit. In the United State there was a case going the courts called Goodridge v The Department of Public Health, originally brought by 7 same-sex couples in April 2001. {http://www.glad.org/work/cases/goodridge-et-al-v-dept-public-health/}

Last century there was advocacy for marriage equality in Hawaii and Vermont, which led only to civil unions in the latter. It would be Massachusetts, home the first white settlements in the United States, that also made history in another century. On 18 November 2003, a 4-3 verdict in this case decided that: “Limiting the protections, benefits, and obligation of civil marriage to opposite-sex couples violates the basic premises of individual liberty and equality under law protected by the Massachusetts Constitution.” {quoted in Hull 2006, p10}

So now we arrive at the first anniversary. The first marriage licenses under this decision, were issued on 17 May 2004. {http://www.freedomtomarry.org/pages/history-and-timeline-of-marriage} It was always going to be a fabulous wedding day at City Hall. . .for many people.

The first couple to have a modern-day Boston marriage were Marcia Kadish and Tanya McCloskey, from Malden. {http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/first-legal-same-sex-marriage-performed-in-massachusetts} All in all, 262 couples were wed that day. {http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Same-sex_marriage_in_Massachusetts} Thomas Menino, the Mayor of Boston, commented. “We’ve broken down the barrier. I am so proud of these people. I am very proud to be mayor of this city today.” {http://edition.cnn.com/2004/LAW/05/17/mass.samesex.marriage/index.html}

There were already forces at work to end the honeymoon. Governor Mitt Romney did not approve of gay marriage; neither did former mayor Ray Flynn, Justice Joseph Nolan and some religious groups. They formed an organisation called VoteOnMarriage. Their policy was: “Marriage as the union of a man and a woman is the universal model and predates all nations, religions and laws. The heterosexual marital relationship reflects the fundamental essence of laws of nature and anatomy, and ensures procreation and the nurturing of children.” { http://www.voteonmarriage.org/faqs.shtml}

In Washington, then President George W Bush called for a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. He was always someone to make war, not love. This was blocked by the US Senate on 14 July 2004. {http://edition.cnn.com/2013/05/28/us/same-sex-marriage-fast-facts/}

In Massachusetts, the bill to amend the state constitution was overturned on 14 June 2007. {http://www.freedomtomarry.org/pages/history-and-timeline-of-marriage} The final vote was 151-45, overwhelmingly in favour of same-sex marriage. {http://www.shrm.org/Conferences/annual/Documents/confsessions/09Ann_Solomon.pdf}

Until 2008, when it was joined by Connecticut, Massachusetts was the only state out of 50 to allow same-sex marriage. In 2004, eleven other states brought in amendments to their constitutions that marriage only applied to the bride and groom. Some even banned civil unions. {http://edition.cnn.com/2013/05/28/us/same-sex-marriage-fast-facts/}

Today, same-sex marriage is recognised in 35 States, as well as the District of Columbia. {http://gaymarriage.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=004857} The people who were married in 2004, over 6000 {http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Same-sex_marriage_in_Massachusetts}; will celebrate their tenth anniversaries this year.

THE SECOND ANNIVERSARY

On 27 May 2004, only 10 days after the Massachusetts marriages began, then prime minister John Howard brought in a bill called the Marriage Amendment Act. Attorney-General Philip Ruddock introduced this into parliament, which was to:

− define marriage as the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life; and

− confirm that unions solemnized overseas between same sex couples will not be recognized as marriages in Australia. { http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/cth/bill_em/mab2004175/memo1.html}

This was clearly a reaction to the recent gay marriages in the US, which were setting news outlets on fire. Then there was the Civil Partnerships Act in Britain, beginning its passage through parliament, giving same-sex couples a marriage like relationship. This passed on 18 November 2004, the most famous ceremony between Elton John and David Furnish. {http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2004/33}

As far as Liberal governments are concerned, it always seems to be quite alright for us to help fight Uncle Sam’s wars. Just as long as we don’t pick up any radical new ideas from America, let along implement them.   A major reason given by both Howard and Ruddock for implementing the law at that time, was to ban overseas adoptions by gay couples, as might be implemented by a treaty. Ruddock commented: “The government is fundamentally opposed to same-sex couples adopting children.” {AAP 2004}

With this fine rhetoric of ‘saving’ children, this government proceeded to strip the rights of a minority. They gave them a small carrot: people who lived in a “financially interdependent relationship”, including same-sex partners, could inherit each other’s superannuation tax-free. {Jennet @ Lateline}

What was Howard’s stated reason for this? “We’ve decided to insert this into the Marriage Act to make it very plain that that is our view of a marriage and to also make it very plain that the definition of a marriage is something that should rest in the hands ultimately of the parliament of the nation.   “(It should) not over time be subject to redefinition or change by courts, it is something that ought to be expressed through the elected representatives of the country.” {http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2004/05/27/1085461875956.html}

So now someone needs the permission of parliament, in order to decide who to love, who they wish to spend their lives with? And this in a society that is supposed to be democratic; it sounds like Orwell, 20 years out of date.

Rodney Croome has pointed out that this tactic was often used as a reward for convicts – or withholding marriage as a punishment. More recently, before they were enfranchised in the 1967 Referendum, Aborigines were sometimes forbidden under “protection” laws from making mixed marriages, just like in the American South. An infamous example was Gladys Namagu in 1959. {http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-07-01/croomemarriage/2778326}

The new bill passed through the House of Representatives fairly easily. Any Opposition from Labor was pretty limp-wristed. Nicola Roxon commented, “Labor has made clear we don’t support gay marriage. Clearly, marriage has a history within Australia already, it is a heterosexual institution.” {http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2004/s1117638.htm} The Marriage Amendment Act was supported wholeheartedly by Family First and the Christian Democrats, led by Fred Nile.

The only real opposition to the bill came from the Greens. Their leader Bob Brown, the first openly gay member of Federal Parliament, described both Howard and the bill as “hateful”. He refused to retract these comments, then also referred to it as the “Straight Australia Policy”. {Wikipedia} “The Greens have labelled both the current and the first Bill discriminatory against the gay and lesbian community and condemned both the Government and the Labor Party for failing to acknowledge the change, within present day society, in the make up of couples.” {http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Bills_Legislation/bd/bd0405/05bd005}

A straight ally was Senator Andrew Bartlett, of the Democrats, who remarked that it devalued his own marriage. He later brought in a bill to try to reverse it. {http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/Australian_Senator_to_introduce_bill_for_same-sex_marriage}

On 12 August 2004, the Marriage Amendment Act would eventually pass through the Senate, voted 38-6; then it became law.

Not only gay and lesbian groups would protest against the new Amendment. The Hon. Alastair Nicholson QC, former Justice of the Supreme Court of Victoria and then Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia, gave a speech on the subject to Melbourne University on 16 September 2004. He commented: “In my view, this Act is one of the most unfortunate pieces of legislation that has ever been passed by the Australian Parliament.” {Nicholson 2004, p557}

He went on to explain that there had been no definition for over 100 years, since Federation in 1901. Now the definition used by the Marriage Amendment Act was originally used by Lord Penzance in 1866, in the case Hyde v Hyde: “the voluntary union for life of one man and one woman, to the exclusion of all others.” {Nicholson, p558} In 1866 male homosexuality was still illegal. However Penzance’s definition was inaccurate back then, because there was always adultery, plus the Divorce and Matrimonial Causes Act of 1857.

Justice Nicholson sums it up: “None of the proponents of this legislation seem to have asked themselves whether it is not a bit strange to be falling back on 19th century definitions of marriage when seeking to define marriage in 2004.” {Nicholson, p558}

A more 21st century definition is from the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court: ““We construe civil marriage to mean the voluntary union of two persons as spouses, to the exclusion of all others.” {http://www.glad.org/work/cases/goodridge-faq/}

In Australia, brides should probably wear a retro-style crinoline gown, and the groom a top hat. Since 2004 all wedding celebrants, as part of the service, must announce: “Marriage, according to law in Australia, is the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life”, or words to that effect. {http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/cth/bill_em/mab2004175/memo1.html}

SINCE THEN. . .

In 2004, same-sex marriage was something like a tsunami that passes under ships out at sea, without them realising just how big it was to become. However many changes there may have been in various countries in the years since, the Act has effectively contained them from spreading to Australia.   So far, the Marriage Amendment Act has prevented any state or territory from bringing in same-sex marriage.

Although there have been many rallies for marriage equality since, at that time nobody thought of it. They were too busy protesting the Howard government’s involvement in the war in Iraq.

Even civil unions were disallowed under the Howard regime’. In 2006 the ACT would pass the Civil Unions Act {Hay, p10}. This was vetoed, as it would be again in 2007. Only under Rudd’s ALP government, in 2009, would the Civil Partnerships Amendment Bill be passed. This even allowed the happy couple to have a ceremony. {Cook 2010, p115}

The incoming government considered changing the Marriage Amendment Act, but didn’t. Kevin Rudd commented: “We went to the last election being very clear-cut about our position on marriage under the Marriage Act being between a man and a woman.” {http://www.abc.net.au/news/2009-07-29/rudd-firm-on-gay-marriage-stance/1370872} His change of heart in 2013 would be too little, too late.

Julia Gillard was also opposed, mainly because she had a feminist disregard to marriage in general. {http://au.ibtimes.com/articles/567215/20140923/gay-marriage-legal-australia-former-prime-minister.htm#.VI_0Wcm4acx} In 2012 the Greens would put bills through both Tasmanian and Federal Parliament. These were unsuccessful, defeated in the House of Representatives 98-42. Both Gillard and Wayne Swan voted against. {Cullen 2012} However, she has said recently that she believes gay marriage is will eventually be brought in here. {http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-09-22/gillard-says-same-sex-marriage-a-matter-of-time/5760460}

The closest we have been to same-sex marriage was again in the ACT in 2013, the backyard of the newly elected government of Tony Abbott. He once commented about gay marriage: “I’m not someone who wants to see radical change based on the fashion of the moment.” {http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Tony_Abbott} In September 2013, the same month he was elected, the bill was introduced into ACT Parliament.

The Marriage Equality (Same Sex) Marriage Act 2013 would pass on 22 October, with a vote of 9-8. {Marszalek @ News Ltd} “This pivotal moment in our history was heralded from the public gallery with cheers, balloons and a chorus of Love is in the Air.” {http://www.theage.com.au/comment/the-age-editorial/act-crosses-the-rainbow-bridge-20131022-2vz80.html}   On that day everyone was feeling bright and gay, regardless of sexual orientation. “There was such universal joy and rapture in and around the Legislative Assembly at midday on Tuesday as the same-sex marriage legislation succeeded that one even half expected the usually scowling statue of Ethos (on the Assembly’s doorstep) to be smiling for once.” {http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/joy-as-act-passes-same-sex-marriage-laws-20131022-2vyip.html}

The new Liberal government announced a challenge to the law in the High Court.   However this did not spoil the party – just yet.

On 7 December the wedding bells began. Over the next five days, gay couples would be making history, as the first to marry in Australia. It would become known as the Rainbow Territory and the City of Love, quoting Andrew Barr. { http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/latest-news/act-prepares-to-debate-gay-marriage-bill/story-fn3dxiwe-1226744206090?nk=bf6a3449b5a078107a4a58e38deff6fd}

On 12 December, the honeymoon was over. The High Court unanimously overturned the new legislation, with all the marriages being annulled.   The only issue which this Court can decide is a legal issue.” {http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/HCA/2013/55.html} The main reason for this decision was the independence of the ACT, as a Territory, under Section 28 of the Australiana Captial Territory (Self-Government) Act 1988. “A provision of an enactment has no effect to the extent that it is inconsistent with a law defined by subsection (2), but such a provision shall be taken to be consistent with such a law to the extent that it is capable of operating concurrently with that law.” {http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/HCA/2013/55.html}

The court then found that the laws were inconsistent with the Federal Marriage Act, they could not operate concurrently. “The whole of the Marriage Equality (Same Sex) Act 2013 (ACT) is inconsistent with the Marriage Act 1961.” {http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/HCA/2013/55.html}   The reason was not in the original Marriage Act, but the 2004 Amendment, that defines marriage as between a man and a woman.   The laws passed by John Howard had held out against the most serious challenge in the past ten years.

Like the legend of Pandora’s box, when everything is lost the one thing left was hope. The High Courts also rule that the definition of marriage under the Constitution, could be extended to same-sex couples. Particularly Section 51: “The Parliament shall, subject to this Constitution, have power to make laws for the peace, order, and good government of the Commonwealth with respect to:

(xxi) marriage;

(xxii) divorce and matrimonial causes; and in relation thereto, parental rights, and the custody and guardianship of infants;” {http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/cth/consol_act/coaca430/s51.html}

Therefore, the only way possible for same-sex marriage in Australia, is if a future government amends the Marriage Amendment Act 2004. This must be done at a Federal level.

We should probably give the verdict on this matter to Justice Nicholson: “One can only hope that a future Commonwealth Parliament will approach the issue in an informed and principled way and repeal this shameful piece of legislation. {Nicholson 2004, p268}

The future? Well that’s a book yet to be opened, a website yet to be clicked.