Australia gay marriage postal vote

gh17111901

17166gh

Uncredited photographer | Undated | Getty Images | 17166gh.jpg

In 2017, the Australian government authorised a national voluntary survey to determine the level of support for legalising same-sex marriage. The survey was held via the postal service between 12 September and 7 November 2017. The survey asked the question “Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?”

A number of pressure groups, some personalities, and some of the media including “The Age”, campaigned vigorously first to stop the survey going ahead, and then to try to persuade people to reject gay marriage.

There were two legal challenges in the Australian High Court about the survey.

Shelley Argent, of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, and Felicity Marlowe, of Rainbow Families) and independent MP Andrew Wilkie went to the High Court on 9 August 2017 to seek a temporary injunction. The survey was also challenged in the High Court by Australian Marriage Equality and Greens Senator Janet Rice. The High Court found that the survey was lawful.

A 17-year-old boy who was excluded from voting challenged that with the Australian Human Rights Commission. About 50,000 Australians aged 16 and 17 were registered on the electoral roll to vote. The boy dropped his complaint on 22 September after legal advice.

The survey returned 7,817,247 (61.6%) “Yes” responses and 4,873,987 (38.4%) “No” responses. An additional 36,686 (0.3%) responses were unclear and the total turnout was 12,727,920 (79.5%).

The Liberal–National Coalition government had pledged to facilitate a private member’s bill to legalise same-sex marriage in the Parliament in the event of a “Yes” outcome.

Many same-sex marriage proponents were critical of the postal survey, viewing it as a costly delay and legally redundant to holding a conscience vote on same-sex marriage in the parliament.

As with the Brexit vote in Britain, there was a rush of people registering to vote; by 24 August 2017, the closing date for new registrations, 98,000 new voters had added themselves to the roll. Survey forms were mailed out during two weeks commencing 12 September 2017. They were required to be returned for counting by 27 October 2017.

The Australian Parliament both passed the gay marriage law on 7 December 2017.

https://marriagesurvey.abs.gov.au/

Updated 8 December 2017

Advertisements

The Two Brewers Double Arsonist

gh170807

17147

Jason Fossett | Press Association | 17147

Jason Fossett has been jailed for life after setting fire to a busy south London gay bar, the Two Brewers in Clapham, for the second time.

Fossett piled rubbish against the fire exit of  before setting it alight and fleeing on March 20. He pleaded guilty to arson with intent to endanger life at Inner London Crown Court. He could not remember starting the fire after “having a couple of drinks”.

He was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum sentence of three years and 244 days.

He was traced through his bank card after CCTV footage showed him buying two drinks at the bar on the night of the arson.

Officers searched his home and found receipts from the Two Brewers for that night, and a red leather satchel which matched that seen on the CCTV.

In 2004, Fossett was jailed for eight years for targeting the same venue in an arson attack. Police said there was no suggestion the attacks were hate crimes, although Fossett’s motivation is not known.

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/man-jailed-for-life-for-setting-fire-to-busy-clapham-gay-bar-a-second-time-a3605851.html

SP

Gilbert Baker dies

gh170401

17063

Gilbert Baker | Pride Winnipeg | 17063

Gilbert Baker, a San Francisco-based activist and artist best known for creating the rainbow flag representing gay rights, has died at the age of 65. He was living in New York.

Baker, who was born in Kansas in 1951, was stationed in San Francisco in the early 1970s while serving in the US Army, at the start of the gay rights movement.

According to the website biography Baker began making banners for gay rights and anti-war protests, often at the request of Harvey Milk, who would become the first openly gay man elected to public office in California when he won the 1977 race for a seat on the San Francisco board of supervisors.

Milk rode under the first rainbow flags made by Baker at the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade in June 1978.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/31/gilbert-baker-rainbow-flag-inventor-gay-rights-dies

SP

Edward Albee

gh16092401

16409gh

Edward Albee | Charles Hopkinson | 16409gh

Widely regarded as “America’s Greatest Living Playwright” following the death of Arthur Miller, Edward Albee died Sept. 16 after a short illness. He was 88. Albee’s partner of 34 years, sculptor Jonathan Thomas, died in 2005.

Albee enjoyed a meteoric rise to international success in the late 1950s and 1960s, winning the 1963 Best Play Tony Award for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolfe? and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama twice for A Delicate Balance ( 1967 ) and Seascape ( 1975 ).

Jonathan Abarbanel notes that

Three Tall Women was his most autobiographical work in which he created an openly homosexual character for the only time in his career, although one who does not speak. It’s a son dealing with his formidable mother who is seen as three different women at different ages. Nonetheless, a gay undercurrent can be detected in a number of his works, sometimes bordering on the overtly homo-erotic.

A generous and supportive man, he established a foundation in 1967 which still functions in support of The Barn, a center in Montauk, New York, providing residential support for artists of all disciplines. Albee was at The Barn when he died.

http://www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/Remembering-Edward-Albee-/56577.html

SP

A day in May

gh16051401

16215gh

Easons | 16215gh

Veteran Irish journalist Charlie Bird has just published his new book “A day in May” about the historic referendum last year in the Republic of Ireland which paved the way for gay marriage.

The book chronicles the lead-up to the historic Marriage Equality referendum last May.

The book includes 50 powerful interviews with members of the LGBT community in Ireland and their family and friends, which was inspired by his involvement chairing the ‘Yes Campaign’ in last year’s referendum.

http://www.independent.ie/entertainment/television/tv-news/charlie-bird-labels-himself-one-of-the-most-heterosexual-men-in-the-world-ahead-of-marriage-next-week-34692560.html

http://www.easons.com/p-4254000-day-in-may.aspx

SP

Guido Westerwelle

gh160319

16177ga

Guido Westerwelle (left) with Angela Merkel | Reuters | 16177ga

Guido Westerwelle, the former chair of Germany’s Free Democratic Party, German Foreign Minister from 2009 until 2013, and  Vice Chancellor of Germany from 2009 to 2011 has died from acute leukaemia in Cologne. He was 54. German media reported that Mr Westerwelle had been diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia and had undergone a bone marrow transplant. His foundation said he died as a result of complications associated with his treatment.

Guido Westerwelle was the first openly gay man to hold high office in Germany. He and his long-term partner Michael Mronz entered a civil partnership in 2010.

Gay Activist sends condolences to Mr Mronz, family, colleagues and friends.

Westerwelle was born on December 27, 1961 near Bonn, the capital of former West Germany. His parents were both lawyers who divorced when he was only 10. He grew up living with his father and his three brothers.

He was not popular at school. His teachers remembered him as someone who liked to take center stage, but who also came across as well-mannered and conservative as well as vain, loud-mouthed and opinionated.

At 19 Guido Westerwelle became a member of the liberal, pro-business FDP, and soon took over as chairperson of the party’s youth organization, the “Young Liberals.” At the age of 39 he became FDP party chairman, which he was to remain for 10 years from 2001 to 2011. He experimented with new campaign tactics, traveling through the country in his yellow “Guidomobile” van and appearing in the “Big Brother” reality TV show.

His speeches in parliament were the highlight of debates. His hard work resulted in the FDP reaching 14.6 percent in general elections in 2009, making it possible for conservative chancellor Angela Merkel to enter into a conservative coalition with the FDP after four years of grand coalition with the SPD.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-35842927

http://www.dw.com/en/guido-westerwelle-a-fine-orator-who-became-germanys-chief-diplomat/a-19127506

SP

David St. Vincent

ungh160206

16107ga

David St. Vincent | Press Association | 16107ga

Gay Activist is sad to record the passing of British travel writer and gay activist David St. Vincent, age 47.

Police are now regarding his death as suspicious, almost a month after his decomposing body was found in his Bucharest apartment. Police spokeswoman Bogdan Ghebaur said on Friday the case of 47-year old David St. Vincent has been handed to the Bucharest prosecutors’ office. His body was discovered on Jan. 12 and police initially suspected he had died of natural causes.

He was a founder of Accept, a group that was instrumental in the 2001 decriminalization of homosexuality in Romania.

Gay Activist sends condolences to family, friends and colleagues.

http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/world/article/Romania-British-travel-writer-s-death-treated-as-6809000.php

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/david-st-vincent-death-of-british-travel-writer-and-gay-activist-in-romania-treated-as-suspicious-a6856811.html

SP

Gay Marriage in the UK

gh15102102

How to Man Up | 14018

Gay Marriage in England, Scotland and Wales

The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 became law on 17 July 2013. The Act permitted same sex marriages in England and Wales commencing from 29 March 2014. Couples wishing to be among the first to marry had to give formal notice of their intention to marry on 13 March 2014.

The Act introduced the marriage of same sex couples in England and Wales, and contained measures about gender change by married persons and civil partners, about consular functions in relation to marriage, for the marriage of armed forces personnel overseas, for permitting marriages according to the usages of belief organisations to be solemnized on the authority of certificates of a superintendent registrar, for the review of civil partnership, and for the review of survivor benefits under occupational pension schemes.

A marriage between two people of the same sex became legal, but religious organisations were not compelled to perform them. There were guidelines by which the religious opt-out will be enforced and enabled. Same sex marriages could be conducted in religious buildings and the Act states how they should be performed and registered.

For members of the Church of England, that means that you will not be able to get married in Church, you will have to get married somewhere else, and then go and see your Vicar to have your union blessed informally by him. He is required to discuss aspects of the Church’s teachings about marriage with you.

Same sex marriages are allowed in other religions and in Chapels in the Armed Forces. Deathbed same sex marriages are also legalised. Marriages of same sex couples in Churches in Wales are legalised.

Couples who have already had a civil partnership ceremony would be able to convert their civil partnership into a full marriage from 10 December, 2014. To convert a civil partnership into marriage, a couple will have to attend a registry office and sign a declaration that they wish to be married in front of a registrar. A set of Statutory Instruments to enable this is being drawn up between a number of Government Departments.

Persons who have had a gender change can take part in same sex marriages.

The Foreign Marriage Act of 1862 was repealed.

15,098 gay couples have legally married since gay marriage became legal on 29 March 2014.

7,366 were new marriages and 7,732 were conversions from civil partnerships to marriages.

The number of couples opting for civil partnerships fell by 70% between 2013 and 2014. The most popular month in which to get married was August 2014 with 844 marriages.

55% of marriages were between female couples and 45% were between male couples.

Gay Marriage became legal in Scotland on 16 December 2014.

The Jersey Assembly voted in September 2015 to introduce gay marriage on the island from 2017.

Scottish Government – Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill
The Same Sex Marriage Act 2013 [pdf]
Directgov, No Date: Marriages and civil partnerships in the UK
Deed Poll Service, No Date: A couple’s name change rights and options upon a civil partnership
Gov UK, No Date: Civil partnerships review terms of reference and timetable
Government of Scotland, No Date: Scottish Government Review of Civil Partnership
Science Daily, 13 July 2010: How sexual agreements affect HIV risk, relationship satisfaction
The Law Commission, 6 Feb 2012: Clarifying the law on financial provision for couples when relationships end
BBC News, 12 Dec 2012: Gay marriage: Draft bill launched in Scotland
Gay History, 17 July 2013: Gay Marriage, England and WalesGuardian, 5 Nov 2013: Ireland to hold referendum on gay marriage
BBC News, 10 Dec 2013: Same-sex weddings to begin in March
Pink News, 24 Jan 2014: UK Government launches consultation into future of civil partnerships
BBC, 4 Feb 2014: Scotland’s same-sex marriage bill is passedDaily Telegraph, 15 Feb 2014: Church offers prayers after same sex weddings but bans gay priests from marrying
Guardian, 26 June 2014: Civil partnerships can be converted to marriages from December 2014
BBC, 16 December 2014: Gay marriage becomes legal in Scotland
BBC News, 19 October 2015 – Gay marriage statistics

SP

The Review of Civil Partnerships

gh15102101

How to Man Up | 14018

The UK Government decided to review the Civil Partnership Act 2004. Concerns were raised by MPs over the issue of civil partnerships and their role in light of same sex marriage legislation.

The Civil Partnership Act was passed by the House of Lords on 17 November 2004. It enabled single sex couples to officially register their partnerships and themselves as civil partners, bringing them certain legal rights and responsibilities on a par with married couples. Civil Partnership registration services became available throughout the UK (except the Isle of Man) on 21 December 2005. The Isle of Man civil partnership act came into effect on 6 April 2011.

In 2011, 6,795 couples had UK civil partnership ceremonies, an increase of 6.4% since 2010. Dissolutions were up by a quarter. In 2004 the Labour government estimated that between 11,000 and 22,000 people would be likely to take-up civil partnerships by 2010; by the end of last year, it was actually 106,834. Lesbian couples are more likely than male gay couples to dissolve their partnerships. 2.2 per cent of gay male civil partnerships had ended in dissolution, compared to 4.6 per cent of lesbian partnerships. There were 672 dissolutions in 2011, up from 522 in 2010. Male couples on average formed civil partnerships at the age of just over 40, while lesbian women were typically 38 years old.

The review was intended to

look at the functioning and operation of the 2004 Act in England and Wales, decide what the future of the Act should be, assess the need and demand for civil partnerships after marriage becomes available for same sex couples, consider whether Civil Partnerships should be made available to all couples, do risk assesments and cost/benefit assessments, and make recommendations.

The results of the review were published in June 2014.

Over 10,000 people took part in the consultation. Less than a third of respondents supported abolition of civil partnership. The majority were against closing civil partnership to new couples. Over three-quarters were against opening up civil partnership to opposite sex couples.

As there was a lack of consensus on the way forward, the Government decided not to make any further changes. Gay couples now have the choice of a civil partnership or a marriage, but straight people do not have the option to opt for a civil partnership.

The results of the review of civil partnerships, June 2014