Christian political lobby group vows to block efforts to legalise same-sex marriage in Australian Capital
By Desmond Rutherford | CANBERRA, Australia -- A powerful anti-gay political faction, the Australian Christian Lobby, announced this week that it will exert pressure on the newly prime minister-elect,Tony Abbott, to override the Australian Capital Territory's government's proposed same-sex marriage law by passing a bill through both houses of federal parliament blocking the effort.
Australian Christian Lobby executive director Lyle Shelton said that the federal government should override state and territory's laws.
"Yes, I think the parliament should override this," Shelton said. "It's in the parliament's interest to protect the constitution, the constitutional power for marriage . . . it is a constitutional nonsense for a territory to be seeking to legislate in this area. So I think the parliament would have to take action on this."
The ACT's governing official, Chief Minister Katy Gallagher told media outlets this past week that her government would once again introduce legislation to legalise gay marriage in the next sitting of parliament, to "bring forward legislation that delivers equality for same-sex couples, legislation that promises them the right to marry."
This latest effort in Australia to legalise same-sex marriage comes on the heels of a major defeat that saw former prime minister Kevin Rudd, an outspoken ally for same-sex marriage, voted out of office earlier this month.
Political pundits forecast that any efforts at a federal level for same-sex marriage in 2014 will likely fail as chances of marriage equality legislation passing the Coalition-led House of Representatives is rather small, although there is a movement in the lower house to have Rudd, who is back in Parliament as an MP back a measure. Abbott has consistently opposed allowing a conscience vote by his party and has himself opposed same-sex marriage.
Analysts also think that there are slimmer chances in the Senate for passage of a federal bill however, based on the current numbers, the Senate could pass marriage equality if the Australian Labor Party votes as a bloc and one Liberal Senator crosses the aisle.
Australian Marriage Equality executive director Rodney Croome said he wanted the federal government to respect the spirit of the Constitution and allow any constitutional questions raised by the Territory marriage equality law to be resolved by Australia's independent umpire, the High Court.
"If Mr Abbott expects people to respect his mandate, he must in turn respect the mandate of the recently elected ACT government to provide full equality and dignity for all their citizens," Croome said.
"In Australia, the reform of laws governing personal relationships -- be they marriages, de facto unions or civil unions -- have always occurred first at a state and territory level and only later federally.
The recognition of same-sex marriages first at a state and territory level follows this long-established logic of federalism."
RussiaGraphic Video purportedly depicts gay man in Russia apparently raped by vigilantes
LGBTQ Nation has been unable to verify the authenticity of the video.
The video is a series of short video clips that surfaced late last week depicting a man being bullied into confessing that he is gay.
He is asked to identify himself and is then stripped of his clothes. He is then handcuffed, beaten, insulted, and threatened with a pistol. Finally, he is forced to sodomise himself by sitting on a bottle, which is then pushed further into his rectum with a bat. The man appears to be visibly terrified, weeping throughout much of the incident.
A source, contacted by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE-RL), who alleges to be a participant as well as the video's creator, told RFE/RL that the victim was targeted because he is gay. The Uzbek-speaking source also alleges that the victim was an ethnic Uzbek,
"We made him sit on a bottle so that he repents for his sins and comes to reason," he said. "We did this to protect the dignity of Uzbeks. We live and work here, [[ Novosibirsk ]] are in contact with people of different nationalities. There will be no respect for us otherwise."
The alleged assailant claims that the assault took place last Wednesday, September 11, in the Russian city of Novosibirsk where he claims he is a student. According to him all of the participants in the video were ethnic Uzbeks. He claims that the victim was first detained by a group of Russian anti-gay vigilantes who lured him to a fake date on VK.com. The vigilantes then allegedly handed him over to the city's Uzbek community.
"Russian guys caught him and called us to say they had a gay Uzbek," the self-proclaimed author of the video told RFE/RL. "We then questioned him and he confessed to everything. There were six or seven of us. The Russians told us he was a paedophile, which he denied. But he confessed that he was gay."
A police spokesperson told LGBTQ Nation late Saturday evening that local authorities for the city and region surrounding Novosibirsk have not had any reports of a crime that matched the description of the incident and that officials were unaware of any such assaults being reported.
This latest incident follows reports from all over the Russian Federation of an increased level of attacks against LGBTQ Russians and residents.
A previous anti-gay video of a similar nature had made the rounds after being posted on VK last month. It shows four Russian men viciously beating up what appears to be a transgender woman and attempting to make her sit on a bottle. The victim ultimately manages to break the bottle and run away.
LGBT activists place the blame for the dramatic rise in anti-gay assaults on the recent law banning the "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations" signed into law in June by Russian president Vladimir Putin.
"Homophobia and nationalism are the two strategic policies for Putin's administration and his team. Police and law enforcement do nothing to stop homophobic and xenophobic attacks," said Slava Revin, a Russian LGBT activist and Managing Director of the Spectrum Human Rights group, speaking to LGBTQ Nation Sunday. "As a matter of fact police chiefs often either spearhead or control such groups. Or their relatives are members of hate groups"Another anti-gay proposed bill by a member of the Russian Duma earlier this month, would remove children from any household run by a same-sex couple or single gay parent and is currently in a draft form pending formal introduction to parliament.
Every two years, the UN adopts a resolution called the Olympic Truce, a perfunctory statement that pays homage to the ancient Greek principles and origins of the Olympic Games.
Normally a symbolic and non-controversial resolution by the world body, this year's was different as a firestorm of criticism erupted over Russian exclusion of sexual orientation. The proposed draft only mentioned “people of different age, sex, physical capacity, religion, race and social status.”
According to a New York Times report Saturday, UN representatives from around the world spent weeks pushing Russia to amend the language to include gay people, according to interviews with representatives from eight countries.
This week, after extensive negotiations behind the scenes, Russia altered the truce’s language to say that it would “promote social inclusion without discrimination of any kind.”
The omission of mentioning gay or transgender people was a sensitive subject given the recent law banning the "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations" signed into law in June by Russian president Vladimir Putin.
While Russian government officials have maintained that the law won't affect athletes or other visitors coming to the country for the Olympics, Human Rights and LGBT activists have held protests and even some have called for boycotts of the 2014 Sochi Games, claiming that Russian promises are disingenuous at best.
The Olympic Truce doesn't usually explicitly mention gay rights, and past truces, including the one that the United Kingdom sponsored for the 2012 London Olympics, did not mention gay or transgender people. But this year, with global attention focused on the issue, many nations are aiming to set a precedent of inclusion.
The resolution is a good-will gesture that carries little weight in the real world. It calls for a worldwide truce during the Olympics to ensure the safe passage of athletes and guests, and for the global community to replace the “cycle of conflict” with “friendly athletic competition.”