Sofie Wainwright/ABC | 17157
ABC have been to meet some of Australia’s gay nomads, fed up with city life who prefer to live in caravan parks and tour.
Laine Isaac is new to the group and said he felt at ease spending time with like-minded people during his travels.
“You don’t have to be closeted [with gay nomads] … you can be outspoken and discuss things,” Mr Isaac said.
“It’s very difficult when you’re sitting down at a camp with straight people to all of a sudden say, ‘Hey, I’m not quite what you think I am’.”
Lynne Hocking said the group debunked the stereotype that all LGBTI people were urban and city dwellers.
They felt more accepted in their nomadic community than they did in Australian cities.
David Crosling/AAP | 17154
Thousands of people rallied for marriage equality in Australia’s second-biggest city of Melbourne today ahead of the postal ballot on same-sex marriage.
Australia has been slow not to have legalised same-sex marriage.
Shadow Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus of the Labor Party called on the Liberal Party-led government to do more to ensure the debate did not turn ugly ahead of the postal survey next month. “I’m particularly calling on the prime minister of Australia to speak out against any bile or hate speech that we might see in this campaign,” he said.
Australians will vote over several weeks from mid-September in the advisory ballot on whether to legalise same-sex marriage, which is supported by 61 percent of Australians, according to a Gallup opinion poll in 2016.
The issue has fractured the Turnbull government and damaged his standing with voters, which is now at a six-month low.
Michael McCormack | AAP | 17151
As you may have read or heard, Australia has launched an official national postal referendum on the issue of gay marriage.
Government Minister Michael McCormack is in charge of the Australian Bureau of Statistics which is conducting the marriage survey and has apologised for previously denigrating gay people. He wrote a newspaper editorial in 1993 in which he said a week never went by “that homosexuals and their sordid behaviour don’t become further entrenched in society … Unfortunately gays are here and, if the disease their unnatural acts helped spread doesn’t wipe out humanity, they’re here to stay”.
Today Mr McCormack said he had grown and learnt not only to tolerate, but to accept all people regardless of their sexual orientation. “I apologised wholeheartedly for the comments at the time and many times since, but I am making this statement to unreservedly apologise again today. … I want all Australians to show each other the respect that they deserve and embrace the things that make us all unique.”
He said he would respect the final result “and vote accordingly in the parliament”.
Gay marriage could bring down the Australian coalition government of Malcolm Turnbull at the next election according to a new poll commissioned for P-FLAG which found that a quarter of Coalition voters could change their vote over the issue.
Twenty six per cent of Coalition voters said they would be likely to support a change in government if marriage equality laws were not dealt with before the next election.
Aanother 40 per cent said they would back a change in government over it.
Only ten per cent said they would be less likely to vote for a government that allowed a free vote on gay marriage.
Australia’s marriage equality bill specifies that ministers of religion would be able to refuse same-sex weddings because otherwise it risks creating a right to refuse weddings based on disability or race.
The Australian Attorney General’s department warned a Senate inquiry into the government’s same-sex marriage bill that removing a provision allowing ministers to refuse gay weddings could create a host of unintended consequences.
The bill contains a section that allows ministers of religion to refuse to solemnise a marriage that is not a union between a man and a woman.
LGBTI campaigner Rodney Croome said the application of other discrimination laws showed why service providers should not be able to refuse gay weddings because of a religious objection to same-sex relationships.
“If it’s true that religious marriage celebrants are not allowed to discriminate on the basis of race or disability, then it would be a clear double standard for the government to allow civil celebrants and faith-based businesses to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation,” he said.
Pauline Hanson (l) and Shan Ju Lin (r) | Uncredited | 17003
Australia’s One Nation political party founder has sacked Queensland candidate Shan Ju Lin for her anti-gay comments, saying she will not let people trash her or her party.
Ms Lin was dumped on Saturday night after Facebook posts appeared saying that “gays should be treated as patients” and “abnormal sex behaviour leads to abnormal crime”.
Ms Lin also mocked outgoing US President Barack Obama’s LGBTI policies using a digitally manipulated picture of him in drag.
Party leader Pauline Hanson suspended Ms Lin, a school teacher, on Friday night and warned her to stop the posts, but said the “disparaging comments” appeared again on Saturday night. “These are not the views shared by One Nation, nor the views of fellow candidates and the general public,” Senator Hanson said in a statement. I will not stand by and allow people to trash the party or my name, so I make no apologies for being tough on candidates.”
Ms Lin was unapologetic and retorted, “Once gays realise they can put pressure on a candidate, they will start to target other One Nation candidates also.”
As if we would.
The Australian government’s proposal to hold a national vote on legalising same-sex marriage has been defeated in the upper house of parliament.
Same-sex couples can have civil unions or registered relationships in most Australian states but they are not considered married under national law.
Opinion polls indicate that most Australians support same-sex marriage.
Opposition parties and many supporters of same-sex marriage argued a referendum would be expensive and could unleash a divisive campaign. Instead they decided that Parliament, not the people, should decide.