Two bills calling for the legalisation of gay marriage were introduced to Australia’s parliament on Monday in a move campaigners said would add momentum to the push for equality.
The private member’s bills, introduced by left-leaning Greens lawmaker Adam Bandt and Stephen Jones from the ruling Labor party, take to three the pieces of legislation now before the parliament calling for gay marriage rights.
Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young brought a similar bill in the upper house in September 2010 which is now being examined by a legislative inquiry.
None of the bills have enough support to pass into law but rights campaigners said their introduction, which follows Labor’s reversal of its official policy to pro-gay marriage in December, showed the tide was turning.
“The Jones bill demonstrates the immense momentum behind reform,” said Alex Greenwich, convenor of the Australian Marriage Equality lobby group.
“Three months ago the Labor Party was officially opposed to reform and now we have a Labor member leading the way towards equality.”
He described Monday’s events as a “milestone on the road to equality”.
Greenwich said rights advocates wanted both Jones and Bandt’s bills to be examined by the Senate committee looking into Hanson-Young’s bill so that “the best possible legislation can be developed and put forward”.
Jones said there would not be a debate or vote for some months yet.
In Australia marriage is mandated by federal legislation, so although civil same-sex unions are recognised in five states, the couples are not seen as “married” by the federal government.
All the same, same-sex couples have equal rights with heterosexual couples in areas such as pension schemes and medical benefits.
Until December there had been bipartisan opposition to same-sex marriage in Australia and though Labor’s official platform has changed, the party agreed to vote on conscience rather than in bloc, meaning there is presently little prospect of legal change.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard opposes gay marriage, and the conservative Liberal-National coalition has made clear that its members will be expected to uphold the current heterosexual definition of marriage if a vote is called.
“Our position is clear. We believe that a marriage is between a man and a woman and that’s the way the Coalition will be voting,” said Liberal frontbencher Joe Hockey.
The few police willing to join in solidarity with protesters
Reports of the protests across the country are focusing on the violence, clashes and property damage caused by a small few rather than the peaceful protest of those rallying against injustice and the police standing in solidarity with them.
A few captured positive moments of cities where officers support the protests and believe Black lives do actually matter.
There were moments of protesters fist-bumping police, hugs with police, and in one incident in New York City over the weekend, one officer was separated from his unit. Protesters surrounded him with locked arms to protect him from those being violent. In Miami, Florida and Seattle, Washington, police joined protesters in kneeling.
Trump shows all the signs of being ‘rattled’ now that the White House is under siege from protesters: columnist
In a column for the Atlantic, longtime political observer Peter Nicholas stated that Donald Trump is showing all the signs of a scared man as massive protests have broken out across the country over the murder of George Floyd at the hands of four former Minneapolis cops -- and angry Americans are taking their case all the way up to the White House gates.
As Nicholas wrote, "Presidents live within a protective cocoon built and continually fortified for one purpose: keeping them alive. But inside the White House compound these days, Donald Trump seems rattled by what’s transpiring outside the windows of his historic residence."
Black Londoner explains George Floyd protester support with story of how cops murdered his brother
In an interview with MSNBC's Molly Hunter, a Black Londoner explained why he turned out for a protest near Trafalgar Square in support of Americans who have hit the streets in the U.S. over the murder of George Floyd by four former Minneapolis police officers.
According to the man -- identified as Daniel and who was wearing a COVID-19 mask and a New York Yankees hat -- his brother was also murdered by police and the cops walked free.
"You've been marching all day," Hunter began. "Look, I have two questions for you: what was it like watching the U.S. this week from London? Does it resonate?