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Marriage Equality

Marriage Equality (73)

New York Fifth Grader Banned from giving speech on Same Sex Marriage

A New York (Queens) fifth-grade student was prohibited from giving a speech on same-sex marriage at a school competition.

The decision came after Kameron was prevented from giving the speech at a school competition Friday because the school's principal believed it was an inappropriate topic for the school's speech contest.

Some parents believed the conversation was one best saved for adults. Kameron disagrees.

"There is no point in really trying to hide it because us children, we are going to figure it out some time now or later," he said to a cable news station.

Kameron's speech focused on acceptance and his experience with his mother's friends who are gay. His principal said he would be dropped from the contest if he didn't choose another topic. He spoke about animal cruelty Friday. He lost.

"The animal cruelty was sort of like global warming or something like that," he said. "Everyone (talks about that)."

The principal's decision sparked outrage among gay rights advocates, who wasted no time sounding off about the issue. The NYCLU called the principal's decision censorship.

Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott spoke about the decision Friday.

"The principal felt that she needed to do more due diligence with her parent community because of the topic of the speech itself," he said.

Daniel Dromm, a gay city councilman and former teacher, said keeping Kameron's original speech out of the contest was wrong.

"I don't believe separate but equal works," he said. "I think this is a topic that everybody should talk about. There is nothing inappropriate about this topic."

The school said parents who have concerns about Monday's assembly can call the principal.

The boy's mother, who doesn't want to be identified, said she is happy with the compromise.

"I'm really glad that the DOE has took the time to pay attention," she said. "I feel like progress is being made."

Kameron has been invited to speak before the City Council and at several gay pride events but he says he just wants to read his speech in school for now.


New South Wales Tells Commonwealth To Enact Marriage Equality

Greens MP Cate Faehrmann’s motion in support of marriage equality today passed the NSW Legislative Council. The House has called on the Commonwealth to enact marriage equality.  A conscience vote was provided to Coalition and Labor party MPs, and the final vote was 22 to 16.

“This is a great day. I congratulate my NSW Upper House colleagues for their leadership. Today we are on the right side of history,” said Ms Faehrmann.

“Denying anyone the right to marry who they love is ludicrous. It’s last century and it’s time our Federal Parliament caught up. The NSW Legislative Council, Australia’s oldest House of Parliament, has shown great leadership in sending this clear message to the Commonwealth today.

“For the first time MPs from all major parties have joined together to vote in favour of marriage equality.

“Yes, this was a symbolic motion, but it is immensely significant. Today we have given voice to the majority of NSW citizens who don’t want our marriage laws to discriminate.

“Every single step towards full equality is to be welcomed and congratulated enthusiastically. I want to thank all of my colleagues who supported the motion, and acknowledge that for many, this was a very difficult motion to contend with.

“In the end, the arguments against marriage equality are based on personal and religious beliefs that have no place in our civil marriage laws. It’s time for full equality and the NSW Upper House has made that clear,” said Ms Faehrmann.

The successful motion (as amended) read as follows:

That this House:

(a) supports marriage equality

(b) calls on the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia to amend the Commonwealth Marriage Act 1961 to provide for marriage equality.

(c) notes that Article 18 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights provides that everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance”,

(d) calls on all participants in the debate on marriage equality to treat those with differing views with respect, dignity and tolerance, and

(e) calls for any amendment to the Marriage Act 1961 (Cth) to ensure that religious institutions are not forced to solemnise marriages they do not wish to.


NAACP Passes Resolution To Support Same Sex Marriage As A Civil Right

The NAACP has passed a resolution endorsing same-sex marriage as a civil right, putting it stamp on an issue that has divided the black community in America.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's board voted at a leadership retreat in Miami on Saturday to back a resolution supporting marriage equality, calling the position consistent with the equal protection provision of the US constitution.

"The mission of the NAACP has always been to ensure political, social and economic equality of all people," board chairwoman Roslyn M Brock said in a statement. "We have and will oppose efforts to codify discrimination into law."

Same-sex marriage is legal in six states and the District of Columbia, but 31 states have passed amendments to ban it.

"Civil marriage is a civil right and a matter of civil law. The NAACP's support for marriage equality is deeply rooted in the fourteenth amendment of the United States constitution and equal protection of all people" said NAACP president Benjamin Todd Jealous.

The Human Rights Campaign, a leading gay rights advocacy group, applauded the NAACP's step. "We could not be more pleased with the NAACP's history-making vote – which is yet another example of the traction marriage equality continues to gain in every community," HRC president Joe Solmonese said in a statement.


Doctors’ views on same-sex marriage ill-informed: academic

altA leading human rights expert has criticised the opinion expressed by a group of Victorian doctors that children of heterosexual couples do better in all measures than children of same-sex couples.

Associate Professor Paula Gerber, Deputy Director of Monash University’s Castan Centre for Human Rights Law said the opinion of 22 Victorian doctors contained in a submission to the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs by a group called Doctors for the Family was not based on any credible research.

Referring to the submission, Associate Professor Gerber, who is also a Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission board member, said the children of same-sex couples are not affected negatively by their parents’ relationships.

“Adolescents living with homosexual parents function as well as, or sometimes better than, those reared by opposite-sex partners, according to an overwhelming number of rigorous academic studies,” Associate Professor Gerber said.

“This evidence includes the highly regarded National Lesbian Longitudinal Family Study, empirical research by the American Psychological Associate and a study published in the prestigious American journal Pediatrics, among others.”

Associate Professor Gerber said a peer-reviewed paper published in Pediatrics found that children who are raised by married parents, be they same-sex or opposite-sex, benefit from the legal and social status granted to their parents.

“Opposition to marriage equality has the potential to harm children being raised by loving same-sex couples, because it sends a message that their families are inferior to other families,” Associate Professor Gerber said.

“Evidence shows that gay and lesbian parents tend to be more responsive to their children, more child-oriented and more egalitarian in their sharing of the workload. These characteristics are all associated with a more positive child outcome.”

Associate Professor Gerber said she was disappointed and surprised at the statement by Doctors for the Family that same-sex marriage would normalise homosexuality and have negative health impacts through an increase in HIV and syphilis.

“I had thought that our society was beyond demonising homosexuality as something other than normal, it is disheartening to hear such views being expressed by members of the medical profession,” Associate Professor Gerber said.

“While everyone is entitled to hold and express their opinions on same-sex marriage, it is preferable that those opinions be grounded in scholarly evidenced-based research, rather than prejudices and misconceptions.”


Australia comes one step closer to Marriage Equality

Australian Marriage Equality is reporting that over 125,000 Australians have expressed support for marriage equality through a survey conducted by the House of Representatives Social Policy and Legal Affairs committee.

Final results are expected to be published on Monday, but by Friday the 20th of April 58.1% of the 218,048 respondants had expressed support for the bill. A last minute push by advocacy groups Australian Marriage Equality, Amnesty International and GetUp could see the number of supportive respondants grow even higher.

Australian Marriage Equality national convener Alex Greenwich said the result showed how passionatey Australians support the reform.

“Marriage equality is clearly not a fringe or minority issue – it is an issue which speaks to core Australian values.”

“No other reform has ever motivated this many Australians to engage in a parliamentary inquiry.”

“Marriage equality goes to heart of the nation’s aspiration to be a fair and equal society.”

Mr Greenwich thanked the over seventy clergy from all faith backgrounds who urged their fellow Australians to write to the inquiry in support of marriage equality because of the benefit the reform will have for families and communities. (List of Clergy can be found here)

“Religious leaders are increasingly opening their hearts to this reform, and it is now time for political leaders to join them in supporting what a majority of Australians clearly and emphatically want”.

Mr Greenwich said that pro-equality submissions to the inquiry are also of very high quality with many people from across the social, religious and political spectrum taking the time to explain why their support equality.

Submissions to the House of Representatives Social Policy Committee inquiry closed Friday, April 20th.

59% of submissions to a parallel inquiry by the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee were in favour of marriage equality.

Opinion polls show about 60% of Australians believe same-sex couples should be allowed to marry.


Over 10,000 rally on ALP Conference over Marriage Equality

Sydney, Australia saw a massive political protest from what politicians called "real Australians" today as 10,000+ marched from Hyde Park, through Pitt Street Mall and through city streets, snaking its way to the Darling Harbour Convention Centre where the ALP Conference is being held.

Although the party, which currently holds office, successfully amended its platform to support equal marriage rights for ALL Australians, it bowed to pressure from the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard and the right faction of the party to have a conscience vote in Parliament. As the opposition is currently voting as a block NO on the issue, the legislation to take out the discrimination in the law would fail.

The crowds chanted "JOOOOOLIAAAA" and "shame Julia Shame" outside the conference, before key speakers, including Labor politicians and power brokers who made the platform change happen.

Doug Cameron called for "real Australians to take action and make sure that the Liberals also allow a conscience vote on the issue" he also called for all citizens to contact their federal MPs not matter what side of politics they were on, to voice their support for Equal Marriage Rights.

You can see photos from today's march and rally in our photo galleries.


Australian State of Queensland introduces Civil Unions

Civil unions are set to be introduced in Queensland with a late night session of Parliament introducing a bill to grant equality to same sex couples.

A motion that the bill be read a second time has secured majority support. Four Labor MPs ended up voting against it – Jo Ann Miller, Michael Choi, Geoff Wilson and Margaret Keech.

Independent MP for Nicklin Peter Wellington joined the majority of Labor MPs in supporting it, but all the other crossbenchers and independents voted against. The LNP voted as a bloc against it.

The vote was 47-40. A loud applause rings out in the chamber and in the public gallery.

This wekeend, the Labor Party will hold it's national conference, where full Equal Marriage rights will be debated as a policy change for the party.


SA Liberal Leader is second Coalition leader to back marriage equality

South Australian Liberal Party Leader, Isobel Redmond, has become the second State Coalition Leader to declare support for marriage equality.

In response to support for marriage equality from SA Premier, Mike Rann, Ms Redmond has expressed her own support for the reform (details here)

Ms Redmond joins fellow conservative and Queensland Liberal National Leader, Campbell Newman, in supporting same-sex marriage (details here).

Australian Marriage Equality National Convener, Alex Greenwich, welcomed Ms Redmond’s support saying it shows leaders on all sides of politics are opening their hearts and minds to equality.

“Increasing support for marriage equality from conservative leaders shows this is not a political issue but a human issue”, Mr Greenwich said.

“Australians are increasingly embracing the importance of marriage equality, and it means a lot to same-sex couples and our families that conservative leaders are now sharing this view”.

Mr Greenwich said Ms Redmond joins British Conservative Prime Minister, David Cameron, and US Republican former Vice President, Dick Cheney, who have both recently declared support for marriage equality.

“Conservative leaders are increasingly aware marriage equality is not a political football or a wedge issue but something that is important to real families living who are simply asking for equality”.

David Cameron’s statement can be found here

Dick Cheney’s statement can be found here

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