Wed Apr 14, 2004
o) Articles by other people
Gays adopt Tasmania, Anne Barbeliuk, Herald Sun, 5.1.04
TASMANIA has shed its image as the homophobic capital of Australia to become the nation's No. 1 destination for gay people.Progressive laws and a positive community attitudes towards homosexuality have led to a surge in gay and lesbian migration to the state.
Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group spokesman Rodney Croome said yesterday the state's image had turned 180 degrees since he led the fight for law reform in 1997.
Tasmania's progressive attitude towards gay and lesbian couples gained national attention last week when the state became the first in Australia to allow same-sex couples to legally register their same-sex union with the office of births, deaths and marriages.
The reforms give same-sex couples equal status to married couples under the law.
Mr Croome said such laws, as well as the change in public opinion that had accompanied them, had put Tasmania on the map.
He said Tasmania had now become a top destination for gay and lesbian couples and those aged in their 30s and 40s.
"Tasmania is definitely the No. 1 spot to go," he said.
"People who want to get out of the hurly burly of Oxford St (Sydney) are coming to Tasmania."
In the past, Queensland and country areas of Victoria and NSW were considered attractive destinations, but now Tasmania holds the most appeal.
"All those destinations have been eclipsed by Tasmania."
Mr Croome said people were moving to the state for a variety of reasons, including lifestyle, cheap real estate and a growing economy.
But he said none of them would head here if not for the law reforms.
He said the migration began with a trickle after 1997 but had now turned into a tide.
"The fact the changes have been so positive and so thorough have really encouraged people to move here."
Mr Croome said everyone he had been in contact with who had moved to Tasmania had been emphatically happy with their decision.
"Every single one I have spoken to has said Tasmania exceeds their expectations, in terms of their welcoming here and their experiences.
"I have not heard of anyone talking about a negative experience."
Tasmania's Anti-Discrimination Commissioner Jocelynne Scutt said claims relating to discrimination on the grounds of homosexuality had decreased in recent years.
Dr Scutt said that when the commission first began in December 1999, there was quite a number of claims, but they had decreased.
Dr Scutt said Tasmania was becoming renowned both nationally and internationally for its positive position on human rights.
"We are really leading the way," she said.
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