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Health Org says 'I don't' to same-sex marriage inquiry report
This media release was issued by ACON on 26.11.09.
One of Australia’s leading gay, lesbian bisexual and transgender (GLBT) health organisations says an Australian Senate Inquiry Report is perpetuating discrimination against same-sex couples by recommending the continuation of unequal marriage laws.
The Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee today recommended rejecting the Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2009 which seeks to remove the current ban on same-sex marriage.
However, the Committee also recommended that same-sex couples be treated equally under federal and state laws, that the Federal Government conduct an independent review into relationship recognition laws for national consistency, and that same-sex couples be given the necessary paperwork to allow them to marry overseas.
The Committee’s recommendation to reject the legislation has been labelled as disappointing by ACON, Australia’s largest community-based GLBT health and HIV/AIDS organisation.
ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill says the Committee’s position is contradictory. “To recommend the equal treatment of same-sex couples but then to also recommend the retention of unequal marriage laws is perplexing to say the least,” Mr Parkhill says.
“It appears that in the eyes of the Senate Committee, all couples are equal but some are more equal than others.”
While 85 federal laws were recently amended to end most discrimination against GLBT people, Mr Parkhill says full equality cannot be achieved until same-sex couples have the right to get married.
“Despite some issues in relation to social security payments, the Federal Government’s process of same-sex law reform has been of significant benefit to the GLBT community and for that we are most appreciative.
“The Federal Government now has an opportunity to finish the job and demonstrate its commitment to equality and social inclusion by rejecting the Senate Committee’s recommendation and giving same-sex couples the same rights and responsibilities as opposite-sex couples.”
Mr Parkhill says banning same-sex marriage affects the health and wellbeing of GLBT people.
“The continuation of unequal laws sends a message that our government considers GLBT Australians to be of lesser value than other citizens and not worthy of the same rights. This fosters a prejudice which affects the welfare of GLBT people through discrimination in the workplace and in the provision goods and services. Sadly, it also translates into harassment, abuse and violence. For the same reasons, unequal marriage laws are also harmful to the children and families of same-sex couples.
“With recent surveys showing that the majority of Australians now support same-sex marriage, now is the time for the Federal Government to do the right thing and protect the health and safety of Australia’s GLBT citizens by lifting the ban on same-sex marriage.”
ENDS – For more information, please contact:
Michael Badorrek, ACON Media and Communications Manager
T: (02) 9206 2001 M: 0400 358 109 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
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