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24th July 2002 (# 4) News Clippings Digest

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  • grahamu_1999
    24th July 2002 (# 4) News Clippings Digest 1. THE AUSTRALIAN Out, proud and parents: Same-sex couples planning families want the same rights afforded
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 26, 2002
      24th July 2002 (# 4) News Clippings Digest

      1. THE AUSTRALIAN Out, proud and parents: Same-sex couples
      planning families want the same rights afforded heterosexuals
      2. THE AUSTRALIAN Church rift over the blessing of unions; An
      Australian priest has led a protest over gay marriages
      3. THE AUSTRALIAN Marriages they want unmade in heaven: Gay couple
      receives non-congratulatory message from Italian government just
      before their wedding in The Hague
      4. THE AUSTRALIAN Gay parents are a minority's minority
      5. MELBOURNE HERALD SUN Letter writer doesn't want gays to use the
      word "gay"
      6. THE AGE GREEN GUIDE Six letters go off on reviewer who trashed
      U.S. remake of "Queer As Folk"

      The Australian, 16th July, 2002
      GPO Box 4162 Sydney NSW 2001 Australia
      (E-Mail: ausletr@... )
      ( http://www.theaustralian.com.au )
      Out, proud and parents
      Same-sex couples planning families want the same rights afforded
      Natasha Bita reports
      Corinna Pierce bristles every time she has to fill in her
      status on official forms.
      "It's very annoying having to put "single" on every form when
      been together for so long and been through so much together," Pierce
      nursing her baby boy. "Now we're a family and we still have to say
      single. Lou's not recognised as a parent, either."
      Pierce married her partner of seven years, Louise Fisher, on a
      and red-sequinned float at the Gay and Lesbian: Sydney three years
      Now they are parents to an eight-week-old son, Lucas, born to
      by donor insemination by a family friend. The name of the baby's
      father has been left off his birth certificate, so the child will
      know his
      parents as "mummy" and "mummy Lou".
      Officially, Fisher will be his legal guardian. The couple,
      who run
      the Jazz It Up Ceramics studio in Sydney's inner-city Surry Hills,
      themselves as married but they do not refer to each other as "wife"
      as Pierce puts it, "it's a bit daggy, we prefer the term partner".
      The new mothers are among 19,594 same-sex couples who declared
      were living together in the 2001 census - double the number of 1996.
      half of the five-in couples are in NSW, another quarter in Victoria
      and 13
      per cent in Queensland. Some 11.2 per cent of same-sex partners - or
      couples - are bringing up children.
      The Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby, however, estimates
      many more - one in five gay partnerships - involve children,
      sometimes from
      a previous straight relationship. The group says 41 per cent of same-
      couples want to be parents, according to its relationships survey of
      couples last year. A quarter of gay couples had been married or in a
      heterosexual de facto relationship in the past, and more than a third
      lived with their gay partner for more than five years.
      Virtually all wanted the same legal status as straight couples.
      The Prime Minister has not been backward expressing his
      distaste. "I certainly don't think there should be the same status
      given to
      homosexual liaisons as you give to marriage," John Howard told
      schoolchildren last year, adding that he would be "disappointed" if
      one of
      his sons turned out to be gay. While the federal Government bans
      between same-sex couples, gay partnerships get various degrees of
      recognition as de factos in a hotchpotch of state and territory laws.
      Western Australia the last state to recognise same-sex
      has gone the furthest by listing lesbians as co-parents on the birth
      certificate of a child born to one of the couple through IVF. The
      approved by parliament but awaiting royal assent, will give same-sex
      the same inheritance and adoption rights as heterosexuals.
      In the pink capital of Sydney, gay couples have most of the
      rights as heterosexuals and automatically inherit their partner's
      assets if
      they die without a will. A couple living together can sign a
      agreement to divide property in the event of a break-up. Queensland
      same-sex couples from adopting children and does not consider gay
      to be next of kin, although they can leave property to each other in
      will and give each other power of attorney.
      Victoria amended 53 Acts of Parliament to give all couples
      rights regardless of their gender or marital status, by changing the
      definition of de facto spouse" to "domestic partner" last year. Gay
      still do not share the rights to adoption or IVF treatment.
      Even in the most progressive states, sex partners do not
      always get
      the same benefits as heterosexuals because under federal law they are
      considered spouses for tax, superannuation or social security
      The surviving gay partners of Australian prisoners-of-war in
      during World War II have been denied the $12,000 in compensation
      given to
      war widows last year. A spokeswoman for Attorney-General Daryl
      says the "overwhelming view" of Australians is that marriage means
      the union
      of a male and a female. "While condemning discrimination on the
      basis of
      sexuality, the Government also recognises marriage and the family as
      critical institutions within society," the spokeswoman says.
      "Historically, marriage has ... been bound up with the concept
      procreation. The Government believes that it is clearly in the best
      interests of children for them to have ... the care and affection of
      both a
      mother and a father. For this reason, the Government does not
      believe that
      homosexual partnerships can be given the same status as marriage nor
      as de
      facto relationships involving a man and a woman."
      But even though Australia refuses to recognise same-sex
      marriage, it
      is one of the few nations to let homosexuals migrate as
      an "interdependent
      partner'. An Immigration Department spokeswoman says Australia will
      recognise the marriage of a same-sex couple even if they are legally
      overseas. The spectre of gay marriage in Australia is not merely
      hypothetical: 2400 same-sex couples have wed in the Netherlands
      since it
      became the first country to legalise gay marriages last year.
      The Immigration Department says it does not keep records of
      applicants' sexuality so cannot say whether any couples married in the
      Netherlands have sought to live in Australia. Denmark has announced
      it will
      follow the Dutch in granting full marital status to gays. Sweden,
      Denmark, Finland and Iceland already give gay de facto partners
      similar or
      equal rights to married couples. Norway's Finance Minister Per-
      Foss married his gay partner of 20 years in Stockholm in January.
      Italy refuses to give any legal recognition to same-sex
      but Germany and France let gay couples sign "life partnerships"
      giving them
      the same pension entitlements, insurance benefits and inheritance
      rights as
      heterosexual de facto couples. The Mayor of London set the ball
      rolling in
      Britain by setting up a partnership register last year for gay
      couples to
      take vows in a civil ceremony, although it has no legal status.
      Australia's insistence that marriage must be of the man and
      variety matches policy in the US, which passed a federal law known as
      Defence of Marriage Act to override any states that might dare
      approve gay
      marriages. So far only one, Vermont, has a form of registered gay
      partnerships. But official discouragement is not stopping Australian
      couples from taking the plunge in commitment ceremonies or
      affirmations, as
      they are known legally. "I do them anywhere - in parks, at home, at
      place," says Sydney celebrant Anne Coventry, who marries dozens of gay
      couples each year. One of the most extravagant ceremonies was that of
      Louise Fisher and Corinna Pierce, who exchanged vows as they queued
      for the Mardi Gras parade.
      *For pictures with this story go to: http://photos.groups.yahoo.com/group/newsclippings/lst
      Click on "Current News Pictures album).

      SIDE BAR: Same-sex declarations
      . There are 19,594 same-sex couples in Australia, according to
      the latest census
      . This is double the number of people declaring themselves as
      being in same-sex partnerships since 1996
      . Just over 11 per cent are raising children
      • For more information about the census visit:
      • Information about previous censuses and other ABS statistical information is available at:
      (These links are also on the Newsclippings 'Bookmarks' page.)

      The Australian, 16th July, 2002
      GPO Box 4162 Sydney NSW 2001 Australia
      (E-Mail: ausletr@... )
      ( http://www.theaustralian.com.au )
      Church rift over the blessing of unions
      An Australian priest has led a protest over gay marriages, writes
      Australian Anglican Priest David Short has led a rebellion
      against a
      Canadian bishop's decision to allow church blessing of same-sex
      Having served as a rector of St John's, Shaughnessy, in Vancouver in
      diocese of New Westminster, for the past 10 years, Short and
      from eight other parishes walked out of the synod when Michael
      Ingham, their
      bishop, agreed to confirm a motion allowing a new rite of blessing for
      same-sex relationships.
      They also demanded pastoral care from an alternative bishop.
      Short says that he is the only evangelical involved in the
      The other parishes are either charismatic or anglo-Catholic
      but all
      share a faithfulness to orthodox Christian beliefs. Ingham argues
      Jesus is just one among a number of great religious teachers.
      But for these parishes, following orthodox Christian faith,
      Jesus is
      the unique revelation of a fatherhood of God.
      The local seminary holds an annual seminar run by witches, and
      same-sex unions questioning Bible authority and using threats against
      traditional believers is now par for the course. The bishop
      described the
      protesting Parishes as "a dissident group stirring up the waters
      with misinformation" and has threatened to revoke their licences.
      Short is originally from the Sydney diocese, and son of a
      bishop Ken Short. His name had been mooted as a possible new dean of
      Andrews Cathedral. But he feels a responsibility to resist what he
      and a
      growing number of other clergy and bishops "believe is contrary to
      church tradition and Bible teaching about marriage".
      They have gained considerable support, not only from the
      wing of the church, but from a wide spectrum of varying Anglican
      The Archbishop of Sydney, Dr Peter Jensen, has rallied the
      bishops to protest, and a majority of 24 out of a possible 42 have
      signed a
      letter prepared by him. The bishops state that "this is a
      significant and
      historic break in the teaching of the Anglican Church on marriage and
      sexuality. The innovation threatens the fabric of the world-wide
      The Australian primate, Peter Carnley of Perth, did not sign
      but also
      believes that same-sex relationships, while they may be enduring
      friendships, have no equivalence to Christian marriage.
      Bishop Philip Huggins of Grafton warns that the danger of the
      Canadian bishop's decision is "the development of boutique bishops and
      boutique dioceses gathered around single issue campaigns".
      The Archbishop of Canterbury, to whom many protests have now
      made, says the proposal is a most serious one. He disagrees with
      decision and says same-sex marriage "undermines marriage, and is
      it divides the Communion". It is also an embarrassment in relations
      other churches but the Archbishop disagrees with the walk-out by the
      parishes. They should have stayed and argued the moral question.
      The pastoral care of homosexuals is becoming an urgent issue
      Anglicans and even in this controversy, the antagonists make clear the
      debate is not about the status of gays as members of the church but
      the sanctity of marriage.
      . James Murray is The Australian's religious affairs editor

      The Australian, 16th July, 2002
      GPO Box 4162 Sydney NSW 2001 Australia
      (E-Mail: ausletr@... )
      ( http://www.theaustralian.com.au )
      Marriages they want unmade in heaven
      Natasha Bita, Rome
      Half an hour before their wedding, Mario Ottocento and Antonio
      Garullo were handed a message from the Italian Solicitor-General's
      The note offered no congratulations for becoming the first gay
      Italians to marry in the Netherlands, the only country that permits
      "The union between two people of the same sex is considered in
      country to be nothing but a public spectacle," it said.
      "It will find no recognition in Italy, as it opposes the
      principle of the family as the natural union of a husband and wife
      with a
      duty to maintain, educate and instruct their children."
      The message nearly spoiled the couple's history-making
      ceremony in
      The Hague last month, witnessed by a throng of family, friends and TV
      cameras. It was incredibly emotional," recalls Garullo, 37.
      The official who was marrying told us we were making history.
      Then I felt so nervous I didn't know which language to use, so
      said, 'Yes! Ja! And Si! "' The Italian artists are among 2400 gay
      who wed in the Netherlands after it approved same-sex marriages in
      last year. Now Ottocento and Garullo plan to appeal to the European
      of Human Rights in Strasbourg to order that Italy recognise their
      under European Community law. Ottocento, 30, lived at The Hague for
      months to attain the Dutch residency essential to marry there.
      At the simple civil ceremony, his teary-eyed mother gave him
      declaring she was "happy to see that Mario's happy. I have four sons
      they are everything to me, gay or not."
      Back at their ceramics gallery in the farm village of Latina,
      of Rome, the artists flaunt matching white-gold wedding bands.
      Garullo and
      Ottocento have been together for seven years and "came out" three
      years ago,
      but it was only when they discussed buying a house together last year
      they decided to marry.
      "People stop with their cars to greet us, to wish us the
      Certainly there are people who don't approve, but no one has been
      about it," says Garullo. But while the locals tolerate, and even
      the couple's wedding, Italian politicians have been openly hostile.
      Government minister advised gay couples to "pack their bags and go to
      in the Netherlands".
      Ottocento and Garullo blame the political homophobia on
      the "absolute
      dominance of the Vatican over the political class".
      "The Pope has said gay people are in a state of profound moral
      disorder," Garullo despairs. "That hurts, obviously. And it blocks
      possibility of advancement and emancipation."
      Garullo admits he is "10 years ahead of public opinion in
      Italy" but
      is heartened that a new generation is learning greater
      tolerance. "Our
      friends' children are growing up with our image as a couple that is,
      them, absolutely normal," he says.
      "There are two-year-olds who call us Uncle Antonio and Uncle
      They know perfectly well that we are married and we did so because we
      love each other, just like their mama and papa."
      *For pictures with this story go to: http://photos.groups.yahoo.com/group/newsclippings/lst
      Click on "Current News Pictures album).

      The Australian, 16th July, 2002
      GPO Box 4162 Sydney NSW 2001 Australia
      (E-Mail: ausletr@... )
      ( http://www.theaustralian.com.au/ )
      Gay parents a minority's minority
      They are the minority of the minority. One in 11 gay couples
      raising children, unpublished census data supplied to 'The Australian'
      shows. There are 2187 gay couples with children - which is 11.2 per
      cent of
      the 19,594 gay couples who outed themselves to the Australian Bureau
      Statistics for the 2001 snapshot of the nation.
      The gay families represent just 1.1 per cent of all de facto
      with children. The census recorded a doubling of the number of gays
      said they were in a de facto relationship between 1996 and 2001.
      To put the number of gay couples with children in context, the
      per cent is about half the level recorded in a Victorian Gay & Lesbian
      Rights Lobby survey last year. If that survey is accurate, it means
      are at least another 2000 or so gay couples with children who chose
      not to
      answer the census question. Gay Couples make up 3.9 per cent of all
      facto relationships, the ABS tables show. Heterosexual couples
      are less likely to have children out of marriage.
      • For more information about the census visit:
      • Information about previous censuses and other ABS statistical
      information is available at:

      Herald Sun, 18th July, 2002
      Box 14631, Melbourne, Victoria 8001 Australia
      (Fax: + 61-3-9292-2944 ) (E-mail: hsletters@... )
      Letter: Gay: a word all can use
      RE "Gay jibe puts Fischer in firing line" (July 16): Good on
      Fischer and how dare ethnic groups and so-called gay activists assume
      right to the word gay. The oxford Dictionary describes the adjective
      happy, jovial, light-hearted, debonair, gamesome, Merry; there are
      Too bad if "gay" groups take umbrage. Let them invent another
      for themselves.
      - L.W. John, Portland, Vic.

      The Age Green Guide, 18th July, 2002
      (weekly Radio & Television supplement)
      250 Spencer Street, Melbourne, 3000. Australia
      (Fax: + 61-3-9601-2195 ) (E-mail: greenguide@... )
      ( http://www.theage.com.au/ )
      Letter: A homophobic assumption
      So poor Ross Warneke (GG, 11 July) "felt no affinity with"
      or "chance
      to develop a liking for" the characters in 'Oueer As Folk' because
      they were
      "so busy being gay". Hate to tell you, Ross, but this gay man
      thought the
      problem was that the characters were self-obsessed prats, not their
      sexuality. We gays are not "another world", we are part of the
      viewing audience. It's your assumption that the audience that
      matters is
      straight, not the fact that you criticised 'Oueer As Folk' , that
      to be labelled homophobic.
      - Robert Stainsby, Northcote, Melbourne

      Letter: Warneke reveals ignorance
      Ross Warneke remarks: "Political correctness dictates that we
      embrace 'Oueer As Folk'... or at least we must not say anything to its
      detriment, lest we be labelled homophobic." No, Ross, it's not
      to say something detrimental about 'Oueer As Folk'.
      There are lots of problems with this series. But, it is
      to express small-minded prejudices in the guise of a review - your
      of homosexuality as "a fashionable social or political cause", your
      distaste at the nature of the sexuality (have you ever complained
      heterosexual sex scenes being too explicit?), your high moral ground
      teenage sexuality (did you make the same comments about 'Lolita'? Or
      'Neighbours'?), your assertion that it's not possible to be "gay and
      of it" and "entertaining" at the same time. Intelligent criticism of
      television drama is important. But it infuriates me when the critic's
      ignorance and small-mindedness colours their criticisms.
      - Tony Ayres, Elwood, Melbourne

      Letter: No affinity for 'straight' TV
      So poor Ross Warneke feels that 'Oueer As Folk' is exclusive
      feels no affinity for the characters? Well, Ross, welcome to the
      world that
      I've lived in for 37 years. That's why I've never been a fan
      of 'Friends'
      or 'Seinfeld' - what does their world have to do with me? Finally
      there's a
      program which accurately reflects some of my life experiences. I'm
      going to
      watch it, enjoy it, and feel smug about it because I'm in on the joke
      you're not.
      - Peter Knight, Brunswick, Melbourne

      Letter: Hetero double standards
      Bruce Anderson (GG, 1117), why should the gay community have to
      resort to Internet porn to see images of themselves? Sex is on every
      station, but as long as it's heterosexual, it's acceptable (look
      at 'Sex and
      the City'). And as for SBS being an inappropriate place to
      show 'Oueer As
      Folk' , have you watched SBS past 10pm? It's sex and nudity galore,
      regardless of "lifestyle" choices.
      - Madelaine Crow, Alphington, Melbourne

      Letter: Obscenity not an issue
      'Oueer As Folk's supposed obscenity should not be an issue.
      I do not believe that, except in life-threatening situations,
      is any excuse for censorship. Given that there are at least four
      channels and an off-switch from which to choose, SBS showing 'Oueer
      As Folk'
      does not compel anyone to watch it. If parents are unable to stop
      children from watching a program, be it 'Oueer As Folk' or 'Play
      having the program banned will solve nothing.
      - Yvette Sitlington, Mont Albert, Melbourne

      Letter: Kath and Kim defied Warneke
      Remember Ross Warneke's negative comments about 'Kath & Kim'
      the first episode went to air, and the subsequent success of this
      Now Mr Warneke doesn't like 'Oueer As Folk' and I love it.
      It is entertaining, the characters are engaging and beautiful
      to look
      at, and I want to find out more about them. Mr Warneke is out of
      touch with
      what viewers want.
      - Kelly Kitchen, Richmond, Melbourne
      • On The Web. SBS Television
      • On The Web. Foxtel online. www.foxtel.com.au
      *For pictures with this story go to: http://photos.groups.yahoo.com/group/newsclippings/lst
      Click on "Current News Pictures album).
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