Friday, February 22, 2013

World News

Same-Sex Marriage Ban Challenge Overturned
SYDNEY, NSW, AUSTRALIA -- An Federal Court of Australia judge ruled Wednesday that the country's ban on same-sex marriage is not gender discrimination since neither gay or lesbian citizens are able to be married and legally are treated equally in the eyes of the law. In her ruling, Justice Jayne Jagot wrote: 
“A man cannot enter into the state of marriage as defined with another man just as a woman cannot enter into the state of marriage with another woman,” the judge wrote. 
“The redress for these circumstances lies in the political and not the legal arena.”
In the decision Jagot pointed out that sex discrimination depends on a comparison between the treatment of the person of one sex with the treatment of the opposite sex;
“There cannot be discrimination by reason of the sex of a person because in all cases the treatment of the person of the opposite sex is the same,” she wrote.
Under the current law known as the Marriage Act, marriage is defined as the union of man and a woman to the exclusion of all others. “By statutory definition, persons of the opposite sex may marry and persons of the same sex may not,” she said.
During the last session of Parliament last fall, a bill that would have amended the Marriage Act allowing same-sex couples to marry was defeated in a 98 to 42 vote with Prime Minister Julia Gillard among the governing Labor party members who joined the opposition coalition against granting same-sex marriage equality, voting against  the law's passage.
The case was brought before the court after Simon Margan, a LGBT equality rights activist from NSW sued the Australian Human Rights Commission's decision to terminate a complaint from Margan that would have forced the states of New South Wales and Queensland to register same-sex marriages.
In September, 2012, a same-sex marriage equality bill that had passed the lower house of the Tasmanian State Parliament was voted down by the upper house after legal experts, particularly a former state chief justice, called into question the federal constitutional legality of the legislation.
Same-sex marriage has been a fiercely debated issue in the nation. Sydney’s openly gay Independent Member of the New South Wales local Parliament, Alex Greenwich, introduced a motion this week condemning the conduct of a leading opponent of marriage equality, the Australian Christian Lobby, writing;
“The Australian Christian Lobby has misrepresented the views of Australia’s Christian community for far too long and it is time their credibility was challenged. A majority of Christians support equality for gay and lesbian Australians and want to share the benefits and responsibilities of marriage with same-sex couples.”
The defeat of last year’s Marriage Equality Bill in the federal parliament was welcomed as a victory for the ACL who had campaigned hard to ensure the Bill would not become law.
The ACL’s Managing Director Jim Wallace said;
“We have seen a very successful year for the Lobby with the resounding defeat of probably the best funded and organised same-sex marriage campaign in our history.”
During the debate last year before the vote in Parliament with, the prime minister, who is not married but lives with her opposite sex partner, defended her opposition to same sex marriage. In an interview with ABC Australia, Prime Minister Gillard said;
"I think you can have a relationship of love and commitment and trust and understanding that doesn't need a marriage certificate associated with it."
When asked about Gillard's response, Greenwich told ABC;
"The Prime Minister is able to choose not to marry, however this choice is denied to many same-sex couples who desperately want to celebrate the traditions of marriage and have the legal protection, security and recognition that comes with marriage," he said. 
"The Prime Minister may not want to marry herself, but most Australians value the importance of marriage greatly and as such want their gay and lesbian friends to have equal access and be treated as equal citizens by the marriage act."
Greenwich added that Australia was the only developed English-speaking country without a major party leader who supports marriage equality referring to British Prime Minster David Cameron's push for same-sex marriage in the UK and the support U. S. President Barack Obama has publicly expressed that he thinks same-sex couples should be allowed to enjoy the same rights as heterosexual couples.
Italian Paper: Papal Resignation Linked To Probe Into 'Vatican Gay Officials' 
ROME, ITALY -- An controversial article by Italy's major leading daily newspaper La Repubblica, published Wednesday, claims that the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI was facilitated in part by the church's hierarchy reactions to the “Vatileaks” scandal.
That episode culminated with the arrest and subsequent conviction last year of the Benedict’s butler, Paolo Gabriele, who was found guilty of stealing and leaking confidential documents from the papal apartment that depicted the Vatican as a seething hotbed of intrigue and infighting.
La Repubblica alleged, based on sources within the holy see, Benedict made his decision this past December 17 to resign on the same day he received a report compiled by three cardinals delegated to look into the "Vatileaks" affair.
La Repubblica said the cardinals described a number of factions, including one whose members were "united by sexual orientation". The paper also quoted the report as describing some Vatican officials as having been subject to "external influence" from laymen with whom they had links of a "worldly nature". The paper said this was a clear reference to blackmail.
It quoted a source "very close to those who wrote [the cardinal's report]" as saying: "Everything revolves around the non-observance of the sixth and seventh commandments."
The seventh enjoins against theft. The sixth forbids adultery, but is linked in Catholic doctrine to the proscribing of homosexual acts.
According to the paper, the investigation's report- comprising “two volumes of almost 300 pages – bound in red” had been consigned to a safe in the papal apartments and would be delivered to the pope’s successor upon his election. 
The Guardian UK, a leading British paper reported that the Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, said:
"Neither the cardinals' commission nor I will make comments to confirm or deny the things that are said about this matter. Let each one assume his or her own responsibilities. We shall not be following up on the observations that are made about this."
He added that interpretations of the report were creating "a tension that is the opposite of what the pope and the church want" in the approach to the conclave of cardinals that will elect Benedict's successor.
Revelations involving the Vatican and gay sex scandals have been published by La Repubblica before. Another British paper, The Telegraph reported that in 2010, the paper [La Repubblica] published an article disclosing that a Vatican employee, Ghinedu Ehiem, a Nigerian, was dismissed by the Vatican from a prestigious choir after his name appeared in transcripts of police wiretaps. In the wiretaps, Mr Eheim is allegedly heard negotiating over the procurement of male prostitutes.


Desmond Rutherford said...

The Australian Prime Minister seems to be locked in to placating the religious right wing faction of her party. Her previously stated ideas that traditional values are part of the Australian Society ignore the polls which indicate that over 65% of Australians are prepared to accept same sex marriage. Her denial of same sex marriage equality is an affront to Hilary Clinton's call for all nations to recognise that LGBT rights are human rights.