Flagpost is a blog on current issues of interest to members of the Australian Parliament
Today, 12 December 2013, the High Court decided unanimously that the ACT’s Marriage Equality (Same Sex) Act 2013 cannot operate concurrently with the federal Marriage Act 1961. The Court held that the federal Parliament has power under the Australian Constitution to legislate with respect to same sex marriage, and that under the Constitution and federal law as it now stands, whether same sex marriage should be provided for by law is a matter for the federal Parliament.BackgroundThe right to marry is the one significant remaining difference between the legal treatment of same-sex and heterosexual relations in Australia. While there has been a shift in community and political opinion, the issu... Read more...
Although children of same sex relationships often experience discrimination and stigmatisation, the existing evidence overwhelmingly indicates that the sexual orientation of a parent has no effect on a child's development or sense of wellbeing. Studies conducted since the 1980s have consistently found that ’there is simply no credible evidence that such relationships cause harm to the intellectual, emotional, psychological or sexual development of children’. One research review conducted in 1996 noted that the results are ‘exceptionally clear’ and ‘yield a picture of families thriving even in the midst of discrimination and oppression’: Certainly, they provide no evidence that psychologica... Read more...
In the last months of 2011 there was much media interest in the possibility of the Australian Labor Party and the Liberal Party allowing a conscience vote on the issue of same-sex marriage. On 3 December 2011, delegates to the ALP national conference voted in favour of the amendment to the party platform moved by Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, allowing members a conscience vote on same-sex marriage (208 votes to 184). Members of the Left faction had argued strongly against treating same-sex marriage as a conscience issue. Delegates also agreed to change the definition of marriage (carried unanimously on the voices) by: ... amend[ing] the Marriage Act to ensure equal access to marriage under ... Read more...
The Federal Parliament is currently debating a motion on same-sex relationships moved by Adam Bandt—the recently elected Australian Greens party member for the seat of Melbourne. The motion notes there is ‘widespread support for equal marriage in the Australian community’ and calls on ‘all parliamentarians to gauge their constituents’ views on the issue of marriage equality’. As a result of this and other related debate, there is currently great interest in what public opinion polls may be able to tell us regarding changing attitudes towards same-sex marriage.Not surprisingly, public opinion polls on this issue, as on any other, can differ markedly depending on the questions asked, the conte... Read more...
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