News

Media Release: Giddings recommitment to State Same-Sex Marriage Bill Welcomed

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  • Gidding recommitment to state same-sex marriage bill welcomed
  • Tasmania Labor wants party vote on marriage equality

Marriage equality advocates have welcomed Tasmanian Premier, Lara Giddings commitment at today’s Tasmanian Labor State Conference in Burnie to the passage of a state same-sex marriage law, as well as overwhelming support for a party vote on marriage equality from conference delegates.

Tasmanians United for Marriage Equality convener, Jackson Tegg, said,

“We welcome Lara Giddings recommitment to passing a Tasmanian same-sex marriage law because such a law will strengthen relationships, create a more inclusive community and benefit the state’s economy.”

“Overwhelming support in the Upper House for the gay adoption bill on Thursday gives us hope because it makes sense that the children adopted by same-sex couples are also allowed the greater security that can come with having married parents.”

“We hope two upcoming reports on the constitutional issues raised by state same-sex marriages will allay the concerns raised by Upper House members during last year’s debate.”

Mr Tegg also welcomed today’s motion in favour of a party vote on marriage equality saying it shows the Tasmanian Labor Party is continuing to lead the way on the issue.

“What Tasmania Labor has done is simply say it wants all Labor MPs to vote according to the party’s existing pro-marriage equality policy, a stance which is consistent with the Labor Party’s core principle of only allowing conscience votes on matters of life and death.”

“If federal Labor was to adopt a party vote increase support for marriage equality in parliament and place extra pressure on Tony Abbott to also move forward by allowing a conscience vote.”

Mr Tegg said federal Labor cannot adopt a party vote on marriage equality until the next ALP national conference and until then a cross-party conscience vote is most likely way to achieve marriage equality at a federal level.

“At the moment a cross-party conscience vote is the most likely way to achieve marriage equality, but if Tony Abbott continues to refuse his party a conscience vote then a party vote for federal Labor members, as well as state same-sex marriage laws, are far better paths forward than a referendum.”

“We urge other Labor state conferences to follow Tasmania’s lead.”

Last year the Tasmanian Labor State Conference became the first in Australia to endorse a state same-sex marriage law, which was subsequently introduced by Labor Premier, Lara Giddings. In an Australian first, the Bill passed the Lower House but was narrowly defeated in the Tasmanian Upper House.

The passage of today’s motion, which was carried on the voices, was accompanied by a standing ovation for the pro-marriage equality speakers.

For more information contact Jackson Tegg on 0414 988 184 or Rodney Croome on 0409 010 668.

Author: Jackson Tegg
Publication: Tasmania United for Marriage Equality
Date:29 June 2013

Further to the media release sent earlier, here is a verbatim report of Lara Gidding’s comments at today State Labor conference about her aspiration for a state same-sex marriage law.

Premier Lara Giddings has vowed to continue the push for same sex marriage.

“In accordance with last year’s Conference resolution on marriage equality, we took legislation to State Parliament and, while we haven’t got the Legislative Council to agree with it yet,” she said.

“But we haven’t given up hope of ending this last area of discrimination against same-sex couples.

“We won’t walk away from this reform.”

Ms Giddings referred to new Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s support of same-sex marriage.

“As we’ve seen with our new Prime Minister, people do change their minds and I hope that the same happens with members of the Legislative Council.”

Media Release: A Vote for Family First is a Vote Against Jobs

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Gay rights advocates say Family First candidate, Peter Madden’s, opposition to gay tourism will cost Tasmanian jobs.

Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group spokesperson, Rodney Croome said,

“A vote for Family First is a vote against the jobs that come from Tasmania being a friendly and welcoming destination for gay travellers.”

“The national and international gay tourism market is worth hundreds of millions of dollars a year and any aspiring Tasmanian politician who says he doesn’t want a share of this market is costing our state jobs.”

“Tasmania deserves better than politicians who put their own narrow prejudices ahead of the state’s prosperity.”

Mr Madden says the state’s future is not represented by wind farms, gay tourism or festivals like Dark MOFO but lies in traditional industries like mining, forestry and agriculture.

“There’s room in Tasmania for a economic and cultural diversity”, Mr Croome said.

A copy of Mr Madden’s media release is enclosed below.

For more information contact Rodney Croome on 0409 010 668.

Author: Rodney Croome
Publication: Tasmania Gay and Lesbian Rights Group
Publication Date: 26 June 2013

MEDIA RELEASE

Thursday, 25 June 2013

FAMILY FIRST CANDIDATE, DARK MOFO, GAY TOURISM AND WIND FARMS DO NOT REPRESENT TASMANIA’S FUTURE

Family First Senate Candidate Peter Madden has declared that novelties such as “Dark Mofo” are clearly not what most Tasmanians think Tasmania needs or is about.

Mr Madden said, “In travelling throughout the state for the last five months campaigning, talking with thousands of Tasmanians and listening to their concerns. I can say with absolute certainty that the majority don’t see “novelties” such as “Dark Mofo” wind farms, gay tourism etc., as representing Tasmania. This is not a solution for Tasmania’s economic troubles.

“In fact, there is a lot of public anger about the ludicrous push of these taxpayer funded novelties as solutions, by the Greens, the ALP and the left wing media. While our true way forward through mining, forestry, agriculture and industry are strangled by these very same elements” Mr Madden said.

“Tasmanians are looking for real answers to their deep concerns about their families and their children’s futures, and to make out that search lights, burning crosses, nude swims and multi breasted hot air balloons are representative of Tasmania, or any sort of future tourism solution is silly. I’ve found it to be clearly offensive to most Tasmanians that I talk to” Mr Madden said.

“This ALP/Greens government, both State and Federal, have done their best to put us back into the “dark ages”. However that’s no reason to celebrate that darkness with “Dark Mofo,” Madden said.

Peter Madden can be contacted for comment on: 0413765291

END

Media Release: Advocates Call on Upper House to Support Stronger Anti-Bias Protections

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Tasmanian gay rights advocates have called on the state Upper House to support stronger protections against discrimination and harassment.

Tomorrow the Upper House is due to debate a bill strengthening the state’s Anti-Discrimination Act by prohibiting harassment on the grounds of sexual orientation and providing stronger protections for transgender and intersex people.

Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group spokesperson, Rodney Croome said,

“Recent research has shown gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex (GLBTI) Tasmanians suffer much higher levels of harassment and discrimination than other Tasmanians, making these amendments necessary and urgent.”

“Existing protections have not infringed free speech and we don’t believe the proposed protections will either.”

Mr Croome also rejected allowing faith-based schools an exemption from the Anti-Discrimination Act.

“Our Anti-Discrimination Act has helped create safer and more inclusive schools and any watering down of the Act will only increase bullying and victimisation.”

The Anti-Discrimination amendments will provide stronger protections for transgender and intersex people and extend the existing anti-harassment provisions to include grounds such as sexual orientation and gender identity.

It is expected that some Upper House members will use the anti-discrimination debate as an opportunity to move an exemption for Catholic and Independent schools from the Anti-Discrimination Act.

For more information contact Rodney Croome on 0409 010 668.

Author: Rodney Croome
Publication: Tasmanian Tay and Lesbian Rights Group
Publication Date:25 June 2013

Media Release – Advocates Call on Tas Upper House to Revisit Marriage Equality Debate After Federal Push Rails

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Tasmanian marriage equality advocates have called on the state Upper House to revisit same-sex marriage after a bill on the issue was voted down in the Senate this morning.

Spokesperson for Tasmanians United for Marriage Equality, Jackson Tegg, said,

“It is clear the federal parliament has let down the majority of Australians who support marriage equality and now it’s up to Tasmania to lead the way.”

“Tasmania has much to gain and nothing to lose from taking the initiative on a reform that a majority of Tasmanians support and most Australians now believe is inevitable.”

“This is a reform which creates a more inclusive society, strengthens relationships and families, and will boost the economy.”

“We call on Upper House members to allow the Same-Sex Marriage Bill to be re-introduced and to pass it.”

This morning, the Senate voted down a bill from Greens’ Senator, Sarah Hanson-Young, that would have recognised overseas same-sex marriages.

Tasmania was the first state to move forward on same-sex marriage last year when a bill was passed in the Lower House but blocked by two votes in the Upper House.

It has been estimated that the Tasmanian economy will benefit by at least $100 million from being the first state to allow same-sex marriages.

For more information contact Jackson Tegg on 0414 988 184 or Rodney Croome on 0409 010 668.

Author: Jackson Tegg
Publication: TUME Media Release
Publication Date: 20 June 2013

Bigots’ Island Becomes Marriage Equality Central: Tasmania Is Undergoing a Remarkable Cultural Conversion

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Twenty years after being dubbed “Bigots’ Island”, Tasmania is shaking off its reputation as a bastion of conservatism so successfully that it now seems more like Progressive Central.

It looks set to be the first place in Australia to legalise same-sex marriage, and is considering a whole range of reforms that will make it one of the most liberal places on Earth.

The island state off mainland Australia was one of the last places in the Western world to decriminalise homosexuality. Mass rallies in the 1990s against repeal of the sodomy laws resounded to chants of “Kill them, kill them”, and some politicians called for gay men to be whipped.

Last week, though, as the Australian federal parliament dashed hopes of a vote on the issue, gay rights activists in Tasmania expressed optimism that same-sex marriage would be legalised there before the end of this year. Last September, legislation was defeated in the state’s upper house by just two votes.

Long regarded as a social backwater, Australia’s southern-most state has blazed a progressive trail in recent times.

A Bill to legalise euthanasia is expected to be introduced later this year.

Sow stalls have been banned by the Labor-Green government, and battery-hen farming is being phased out – both firsts for Australia.

There is even debate about banning smoking for people born after 2000.

Tasmania, which finally decriminalised homosexuality in 1997, has also led the rest of the country in atoning for past treatment of Aboriginal Australians.

Five years before the then PM, Kevin Rudd, delivered a national apology, the state apologised to the “Stolen Generations” of mixed-race children forcibly removed from their families.

Its government is the only one in Australia to have paid compensation.

Tasmanians could be forgiven for pinching themselves, so radically have things changed in little over a decade.
But they, too, have changed, according to opinion polls.

In 1988, support for the decriminalisation of homosexuality was at 15 per cent below the national figure.
Recent polls have found support for same-sex marriage to be several per cent higher than nationally.

Although 65 per cent of Australians favour legalising gay marriage, two private members’ Bills were defeated in the federal parliament last year, and the latest draft legislation – introduced by a Green MP, Adam Bandt – will not be voted on until after a general election in September.

That election will almost certainly be won by the opposition Coalition, led by Tony Abbott, a conservative Roman Catholic. Mr Abbott has so far refused to allow Coalition MPs a conscience vote.

However, Rodney Croome, the Tasmanian-based national director of the lobby group Australian Marriage Equality, believes the political climate is changing, not least because of New Zealand’s recent legalisation on gay marriage and Britain’s moves to follow suit. “In the case of New Zealand, there’s an added rivalry because Australians don’t like to be beaten by New Zealand, be it on the sporting field or in social reform,” he said yesterday.

In Tasmania, the main obstacle remains the notoriously conservative Upper House, which in the 1990s rejected the Bill to decriminalise homosexual relationships six times. The same-sex marriage Bill – expected to be re-introduced in the coming months – will have a better chance this time, campaigners believe.
They say constitutional issues – cited by some Upper House members who opposed it last time – will have been clarified.

“Because of Tasmania’s past as the last Australian state and one of the last places in the world to decriminalise homosexuality, it would be a source of immense pride to be the first jurisdiction in Australia to achieve this,” said Mr Croome.

The campaign to legalise homosexuality began in 1988, when activists set up a stall at the Saturday market in Hobart’s Salamanca Place, collecting signatures for a petition. Every Saturday, Hobart City Council officials would order them to dismantle the stall. When they refused, the council would summon police, waiting in nearby vans, who arrested dozens of people.

With the Salamanca Market one of Tasmania’s biggest tourist attractions, drawing thousands each weekend, the civil disobedience campaign won widespread coverage. A total of 130 people were arrested, including Mr Croome, who was detained four times. However, it was another decade before the state bowed to national and international pressure, which included condemnation of its laws by the UN’s Human Rights Committee.

Those who welcome a more progressive Tasmania note that the seeds were planted long ago. In the 1970s, the state was the birthplace of modern Aboriginal politics, with protest marches leading to the recognition of Tasmanian Aboriginal identity and the burying of a century-old myth that the race became extinct in 1876 with the death of Truganini, the last full-blooded Aborigine.

It was also the cradle of the global environmental movement, with the world’s first Green party created there in 1972.

A place of pristine wildernesses and outstanding natural beauty, it was at the same time (and until very recently) the site of rapacious logging of old-growth native forests. To the outside world, Tasmanians were greenies or rednecks, although the reality was more nuanced. “If you look at the forestry issue, in particular, it’s a battle for the Tasmanian soul, and that’s what has underpinned politics here for a long time,” says Cassy O’Connor, a Tasmanian Greens minister.

In recent times, Tamania’s reputation as a cultural desert has been overturned, thanks to the Museum of Old and New Art (Mona), which opened in 2011 beside Hobart’s Derwent River. Featuring the private art collection of a professional gambler, the multi-millionaire David Walsh, Mona has won international plaudits and boosted Tasmanian tourism, with 1,500 visitors a day.
Tasmanians now talk of a “Mona moment”, symbolising the state’s transformation.

Ms O’Connor says: “When David Walsh built Mona, it was such an act of faith in this place, and in our identity and what we have to offer. I actually think Mona changed the way a lot of Tasmanians think about this place.
Because suddenly the eyes of the cultural world were on us, and we have here in Hobart this amazing cultural institution of international value.”

The Tasmanian novelist Richard Flanagan has a different perspective.
In a New Yorker article this year, he wrote: “Of many misunderstandings Mona has given rise to not the least is that it is in sharp contrast to a Tasmania frequently misrepresented in mainland Australia as conservative. But it [Tasmania] is better understood as a place of extremes, radicalism and unreality, and Mona merely its latest manifestation.”

Mr Flanagan said: “We’ve still got a pretty conservative polity, enacting backward, divisive and unnecessary policies.” He cited the government’s backing for a pulp mill in a scenic valley, its endorsement of mining in the Tarkine Wilderness area, and its insistence on building a motorway bridge across a riverbed north of Hobart despite the discovery of 40,000-year-old Aboriginal artefacts at the site.

One factor often missing from the debate, he believes, is the relatively high levels of poverty and welfare dependency in Tasmania.

Advocates of marriage equality say it would boost tourism and the ailing economy. Mr Walsh is keen to host weddings at Mona, envisaging a Hotel Mona, or HoMo.

Author: Kathy Marks
Publication: The Independent
Publication Date: June 9 2013

Defacing of Sign Slammed

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THOSE speaking out for marriage equality were disappointed yesterday to hear an anti-marriage equality sign had been vandalised.

Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group spokesman Rodney Croome said the vandalism did nothing for the marriage equality cause.

“I strongly condemn this vandalism because the way to achieve marriage equality is to build bridges within the community, not further polarise it,” Mr Croome said.

“Supporters of marriage equality have a strong case, which is undermined when we are seen to be bullying and silencing others,” Mr Croome said.

Ace Motors part-owner Scott Allsop said on Tuesday the sign should be “torn down”.

However, while he thought the sign had no place in the Wynyard community, he certainly did not agree with the vandalism.

“Vandalising a sign is illegal,” Mr Allsop said.

“We are trying to make peace, not war.

“The vandals have taken it too far,” Mr Allsop said.

Mr Allsop also pointed out that it wasn’t the person who put up the sign that cleaned up after the vandalism.

“The council spent hours cleaning up [yesterday] and who pays for it? We do [as ratepayers],” Mr Allsop said.

Greens Member for Braddon Paul O’Halloran also spoke out against the vandalism of the anti- marriage equality sign.

“I know that many people are angry about the message on this billboard, but vandalising it is not right and will only add to community division over the issue,” Mr O’Halloran said.

“Intolerance needs to be confronted at every level, but this type of behaviour is not the answer.

“What’s needed now is understanding, compassion and community unity,” Mr O’Halloran said.

Author: Aryelle Sargent
Publication: The Advocate
Publication Date: June 7 2013

Other articles to read are….
Media Release – Wynyard Billboard Vandalism Condemned
Support for gay woman’s stance
Shop owner appalled
Media Release- Tasmania Gay and Lesbian Rights Group

Support for gay woman’s stance

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OFFENDED by a traditional marriage sign put up in her town, a young gay woman from Wynyard decided to make a stand of her own.

Eighteen-year-old Jocelyn Poke was upset when she discovered the sign on the corner of Goldie and Saunders streets, which depicted a male and female gender symbol and two wedding rings.

Miss Poke and her partner Xyliah Walker posted a photo on Facebook of them in an embrace in front of the sign with their own sign which read “love is love”.

The picture has attracted more than 1500 “likes” since being posted on The Advocate’s Facebook page on Tuesday afternoon.

Miss Poke said most of the feedback to her post had been positive, despite the odd offensive statement.

Miss Poke said she was angry and upset about the sign, organised by Graham Hodge, being put up in the small town.

“It’s something that people have to drive past on the way to work, and for the people who are homosexual, it’s hard enough to come out, and now there is a big sign which makes it look like the town doesn’t agree,” she said.

“It’s a small town and the first thing you see is the sign on the shop – it’s not a reflection of the community.”

Miss Poke said her photographic response was done to get a point across.

“We can’t get married, we can’t get recognised as being an actual couple and this is a big kick in the guts,” she said.

“It was not done to kick up a stink, but to put our point across that we do support marriage equality and not everyone in Wynyard is with Graham Hodge.

“It’s 2013, not the 1800s.”

Miss Poke said she had contacted the Waratah- Wynyard Council to complain.

The council said it was currently investigating the legalities of the sign.

Author: Cameron Whiteley
Publication: The Advocate
Publication Date: June 6 2013

Other articles to read are….
Media Release – Wynyard Billboard Vandalism Condemned
Shop owner appalled
Media Release- Tasmania Gay and Lesbian Rights Group
Defacing of Sign Slammed

Media Release-Anti-Equality poll dismissed as flawed, based and irrelevant.

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  • State marriage bill will create jobs and improve health
  • Advocates will continue campaign to bring back same-sex marriage bill
  • Best way to get same-sex marriage off state agenda is to pass it

Marriage equality advocates have dismissed as flawed, biased and irrelevant a poll released today by the Save Marriage Coalition and have vowed to continue their campaign to bring back the same-sex marriage bill based on research which shows it will create jobs and has majority support.

Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group spokesperson, Rodney Croome said

“Every legitimate poll on marriage equality shows a majority of Tasmanians support the reform, and support Tasmania taking the lead on the issue, so it’s no surprise the Save Marriage Coalition had to ask biased and irrelevant questions to create the false impression Tasmanians are against change.”

“Independent studies show that a state Same-Sex Marriage Act will generate hundreds of jobs through the wedding-spend of same-sex couples and will improve the health of same-sex couples and their families.”

“We will continue to campaign for a reform that will strengthen relationships and families, which is good for the Tasmanian community and economy, and which is being enacted right around the world.”

“The best way to get same-sex marriage off the political agenda is to pass it.”

Mr Croome was scathing of what he called “the fatal flaws” of the SMC survey.

“It is irrelevant to compare the importance people give jobs, health and education to the importance they give marriage equality because the former affects everyone while the latter only directly affects a minority of Tasmanians.”

“People surveyed for this poll told us that they were asked ‘do you support Nick McKim’s proposal to again pursue same-sex marriage legislation through the Tasmanian parliament’, which was an obvious attempt to bias the result by tapping into anti-Green sentiment.”

Last year, respected Tasmanian polling company EMRS conducted a poll of 1000 Tasmanians which found that 61% believe same-sex couples should be able to marry and 54% believe the state should lead the way on the issue. For a media release on the poll, click here. For a full report on the poll, click here.

The SMC survey of 400 Tasmanians conducted by Myriad research found same-sex marriage is considered less important than jobs, health and education and that two out of three people believe it is a federal issue.

According to survey respondents who contacted Mr Croome, the question about whether marriage is a federal issue was biased by the following preamble:

“Given the Marriage Act is Commonwealth legislation and that the same-sex marriage bill was rejected by the Legislative Council; and any marriages may not be recognised by other states; do you support Nick McKim’s proposal to again pursue same-sex marriage legislation through the Tasmanian parliament later this year?”

Last year’s Same-Sex Marriage Bill was co-sponsored by Premier Lara Giddings and Greens’ Leader, Nick McKim. It was carried through the Upper House by independent member for Murchison, Ruth Forrest.

Ms Forrest has a motion before the Upper House to bring back the bill for debate.

For more information contact Rodney Croome on 0409 010 668.

Author: Rodney Croome
Publication: TASMANIAN GAY AND LESBIAN RIGHTS GROUP
Date: June 2 2013

TGLRG Media Release – Public artwork commemorates Tasmanian Gay Community’s struggle for equality

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Public artwork commemorates Tasmanian Gay community’s struggle for equality.

  • photo call at 10.30am, unveiling at 5.30pm
  • artwork is “a permanent reminder of victory of acceptance over prejudice”
  • unveiling marks International Day Against Homophobia
  • photos from 1988 arrests available (through link below)
  • info pack to follow

A permanent, public artwork to be unveiled on Thursday evening in Hobart will commemorate the Tasmanian gay community’s struggle for equality and it’s hope for a more accepting future.

The artwork, which is the first of its kind in Australia, commemorates the gay rights arrests at Salamanca Market in 1988, which began the decade-long campaign to decriminalise homosexuality in Tasmania, as well as the formal apology made by the Hobart City Council in 2008 for ordering the arrests.

The unveiling occurs on the eve of the International Day Against Homophobia.

Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group spokesperson, Rodney Croome, who was arrested at Salamanca Market in 1988, said,

“The artwork recalls a time when people were arrested simply for petitioning for human rights, and is also a reminder of how far we have come since then, inspiring hope for a better future.”

“Tasmanians can be proud that we are publicly acknowledging both the mistreatment and the acceptance of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex people, and that we are leading the nation in such acknowledgement.”

“This commemorative artwork is a permanent reminder of the victory of acceptance over prejudice and love over hate.”

In October 1988 the Hobart City Council banned a stall collecting signatures on a petition calling for homosexuality to be decriminalised, and ordered the arrests of anyone defying the ban.

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Over seven weeks 130 arrests were made, while hundreds more supporters protested from the Market’s verges, making the arrests the largest act of gay rights civil disobedience in Australian history. The Council finally backed down and allowed the stall on International Human Rights Day, December 10, 1988.

On the same day in 2008 then Lord Mayor, Rob Valentine, apologised for the arrests at an emotional civic reception for those who had been arrested.

The commemorative artwork called “The Yellow Line” represents the border of the Market which supporters of the stall would face arrest for crossing. The artwork also symbolises the hope for a more accepting future, as represented by the Council’s apology

A special plaque explaining the events of 1988 and 2008 accompanies the artwork (text below).

Both the apology and the commemorative artwork are the first of their kind in Australia.

There will be a photo call at 10.30am, and the official unveiling by some of those people arrested in 1988 will occur from 5.30pm. The artwork is located on the footpath of Salamanca Place outside Parliament House across from the Supreme Court.

An article from the Hobart Mercury about the importance of the commemorative artwork can be found here:

Photos of the 1988 arrests and protests are available here:

Photos 4 and 9 should be credited to the Mercury. The rest should be credited to Roger Lovell. They are available for ONE USE ONLY. To download a photo, click on the photo. In the bottom right corner of the following screen click on “…” and select “download”.

For more information contact Rodney Croome on 0409 010 68.

Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group
Media Release
Thursday May 16th 2013
Photographs Roger Lovell

***

SALAMANCA COMMEMORATIVE ART WORK
BACKGROUND INFORMATION

  • This information pack contains
  • an outline of the arrests in 1998
  • an outline of the Hobart City Council’s apology in 2008
  • details of the artwork and those people who will speak on Thursday night
  • a copy of the text on the plaque that will accompany the artwork

The events being commemorated: Salamanca Market 1988

In 1988 there were 130 arrests in defence of a gay law reform stall at Salamanca Market. It was the largest act of gay rights civil disobedience in Australian history.

· In August 1988 the recently-formed Tasmanian Gay Law Reform group set up a stall in Salamanca Market to gather signatures on a petition calling for the repeal of Tasmania’s laws against homosexuality.

· The laws were the harshest in the western world, criminalising all male-to-male sex with a maximum penalty of 21 years in gaol.

· In September the Hobart City Council banned the stall on the basis of one anonymous complaint. The ban was justified on the grounds that the Council felt the stall was “offensive”, “political” and it had no place in “a family market”.

· Stall organisers felt this was discriminatory, given that other campaign groups were allowed in the Market (Amnesty, the Wilderness Society, Resistance), and given that sexually explicit materials were on sale elsewhere in the Market.

· Stall organisers defied the ban and re-established the stall.

· On October 22nd 1988 the Council brought in the police and those stall organisers who refused to leave the Market were arrested.

· Over the next seven Saturday mornings 130 arrests were made, the charge being trespass.

· Ever larger crowds gathered at the Market every Saturday to protest the arrests.

· To be arrested, protesters needed to “cross the line”, being the boundary which separated the Market from public streets, traffic islands and grassed areas not under the control of the Hobart City Council. This is the inspiration for the art work (see below).

· As events escalated, the Council ordered the arrest of anyone found near the stall, known to be gay, found in possession of a gay law reform petition, or found in possession a sign with the words “gay”, “lesbian” or the pink triangle (symbol of gay pride).

· The Council tried and failed to impose gaol terms for those who returned to the Market after being arrested. Instead they were “banned for life”.

· The police threatened stall organisers with arrest before they left their houses on Saturday mornings, requiring organisers to sleep at other addresses. Police processed arrestees wearing rubber gloves and organisers were kept in police cells for indeterminate periods.

· On December 9th 1988 the Council finally allowed the stall, having discovered it had no legal authority to arrest market-goers for trespass. All the charges were dropped. The stall has been a fixture of Salamanca Market ever since.

· The arrests and protests were the largest act of gay rights civil disobedience in Australian history.

· They were a mass coming out for a community that had been largely silent and invisible until then.

· They sparked reform campaigns in the remaining Australian states to criminalise campaigns (WA and Qld).

· They also placed decriminalisation firmly on the Tasmanian stage. Nine years later, after a campaign that involved mass rallies for against reform, several parliamentary votes, a boycott of Tasmanian products, and the involvement of the United Nations, the Federal Government and the High Court, the laws were repealed

· Tasmania has since gone on to adopt some of the most progressive anti-discrimination and relationship laws in Australia, including being the first state to pass a same-sex marriage bill through a house of parliament.

From market arrests to commemorative art work

In 2008 the Hobart City Council apologised for the arrests and set funds aside for a public art work to be unveiled this week.

· In 2008, to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the arrests, the Hobart City Council resolved to apologise for the arrests and allocate $15,000 for the production of a public art work to commemorate the arrests and the apology.

· On December 9th 2008, then Hobart Lord Mayor, Rob Valentine, officially apologised on behalf of the Council at a special civic reception at Hobart Town Hall.

· It was the first official apology for a gay rights abuse in Australian history.

· A competition was run for an art work design which was won by Justy Phillips.

· Ms Phillips’ design will be unveiled on Thursday May 16th 2013, the eve of the International Day Against Homophobia.

· The artwork will be the first in Australia to commemorate both the injustices faced by gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex people, and celebrate the resilience of GLBTI people and their allies.

The artwork and associated plaque

The commemorative artwork and associated plaque tell the story of the Salamanca arrests, the apology for those arrests and hope for the future.

· The artwork is entitled, “The Yellow Line”

· It represents the line around the Market that supporters of the stall would face arrest for crossing, as well as the other lines GLBTI people and their supporters have been forbidden by law and prejudice to cross.

· The artwork is made up of two aluminium, light-emitting boxes which each display a message relevant to the arrests.

· People walking along Salamanca Place are faced with the choice of walking over or around “The Yellow Line”.

· There is also a plaque providing background to the artwork.

· The text of the plaque was written by Miranda Morris whose 1994 history of the Tasmanian gay law reform debate, The Pink Triangle, included a chapter on the Salamanca arrests.

The people involved

The following people will all speak at Thursday’s unveiling.

Justy Phillips
· Justy is the artist who designed the art work to be unveiled on Thursday evening. She is a lecturer at the School of Communications and Creative Industries, Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga. She has a long association with Tasmania.

Rodney Croome
· Rodney is the spokesperson for the Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group. He was arrested several times at Salamanca Market.

Julian Punch
· Julian is a spokesperson for the Rainbow Communities Tasmanian which contributed $7000 to the production of the art work.

Damon Thomas
· Damon is the Lord Mayor of Hobart.

The text of the plaque

The Yellow Line
Justy Phillips, 2013. Aluminium, acrylic, light-emitting diodes

Between September and December 1988, the Hobart City Council called on the Tasmanian police to make 130 arrests for trespass at Salamanca Market. In August that year the Tasmanian Gay Law Reform Group (TGLRG) had begun leasing a stall at the Market so that supporters could sign a petition calling on the state parliament to repeal laws that criminalised homosexuality.

In mid-September officials of the Hobart 
City Council informed the TGLRG that the Council deemed the stall ‘offensive’ and
 that it would be banned. They warned that anyone attempting to set up the stall would be arrested. As other Market stallholders 
and members of the public came out in support, the grounds for a charge of trespass expanded, with display of the words ‘gay’ or ‘lesbian’ or possession of the petition considered reasons for arrest.

As the arrests increased, an ever-larger number of supporters came to the Market each week to protest against what they saw as a breach of human rights.

On 9th December 1988 the Hobart City Council lifted its ban on the TGLRG stall when it was revealed that the Council held no authority
 to prosecute for trespass. Charges against those who had been arrested were dropped the following week. By this stage the arrests had become the largest act of gay rights civil disobedience in Australian history.

The TGLRG stall has been a fixture of the Market ever since. On 9th December 2008, the Hobart City Council apologised for its actions in 1988 and acknowledged the prejudice that was fostered against gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex (GLBTI) people.
This artwork symbolises the line around the Market that supporters of the stall would face arrest for crossing, as well as the other lines that GLBTI people and their supporters have been forbidden by law and prejudice to cross. It stands as public acknowledgement of the events of 1988 and the Hobart City Council’s apology 20 years later.

This project has been initiated by the Hobart City Council in partnership with the Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group and Rainbow Communities Tasmania Inc.

Media Release – Majority of Tasmanian voters back marriage equalty candidates

tasmanialrg

Voters deliver clear message to Wilinson and Hiscutt to back reform
Advocates encouraged to step up campaign

Tasmanian marriage equality advocates say the message to Tasmania’s Upper House from today’s election is to stop blocking marriage equality.

As at the close of counting…
Votes for candidates supporting marriage equality: 51.40%
Votes for candidate opposed to marriage equality: 48.60%

Australian Marriage Equality national director, Rodney Croome, said,

“A majority of voters – over 51% – cast their ballot for candidates who support Tasmania leading the way on marriage equality, sending a clear message to the Upper House to stop blocking this reform.”

“In the seat of Nelson, where the marriage equality campaign was strongest, sitting member, Jim Wilkinson, was punished for not supporting state marriage equality, with a swing against him of 15% and the overall majority of votes going to pro-equality candidates.”

“In the seat of Montgomery, the only candidate who declared opposition to state marriage equality, Leonie Hiscutt, also failed to win a majority of votes.”

“Jim Wilkinson and Leonie Hiscutt now know that a majority of voters in their seats want marriage equality, and, if elected, it is their duty to represent that view in the Upper House.”

“The majority of votes in favour of pro-equality candidates came despite a fear campaign run by anti-gay groups and an overall swing to the Liberals in Tasmania, sending a clear message to all Upper House members to support this reform.”

Mr Croome said the campaign for state same-sex marriage law will be intensified following today’s election.

“We are encouraged by the election result and will now step up our campaign to have the Bill re-introduced and passed.”

“Our focus will be on showing Upper House members the widespread support for marriage equality in their electorates, and opening their hearts and minds to the importance and urgency of allowing same-sex couples to marry.”

Despite not achieving a majority of votes, opponents of the Same-Sex Marriage Bill appear likely to be elected in all three divisions, maintaining the status quo of eight votes to six against the Bill in the Upper House.

For more information contact Rodney Croome on 0409 010 668.

TASMANIANS UNITED FOR MARRIAGE EQUALITY
Media Release
Saturday May 4th 2013

Tassie voters face stark choice between inclusion and hate

nz v taslrg

TASMANIANS UNITED FOR MARRIAGE EQUALITY
Media Release
Thursday May 2nd 2013

  • Gay-hate flyer illustrates why marriage equality is important
  • Survey finds 84% of same-sex couples would prefer to marry in Tasmania than NZ

Marriage equality advocates say Tasmania faces a stark choice between leading on a major civil rights issue or being stuck in a past of prejudice and hate.

Today advocates condemned a gay-hate flyer being distributed in Hobart, and released a new survey showing 84% of same-sex couples would prefer to marry in Tasmania rather than New Zealand.

Australian Marriage Equality national convener, Rodney Croome said,

“On Saturday, Tasmanians go to the polls in an Upper House election that could decide the fate of marriage equality locally and nationally.”

“Voters face a stark choice between Tasmania leading the nation on the civil rights issue of our time, or being stuck in a past of prejudice and hate.”

The gay-hate flyer is under investigation by police for potentially violating the Electoral Act, and is also before the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Commissioner for potentially violating the state’s Anti-Discrimination Act.

Mr Croome said,

“This hate flyer is an excellent illustration of why we need to remove discrimination from the law, especially in an area as important as marriage.”

“I would expect candidates who voted against the Same-Sex Marriage Bill to condemn the flyer, but they cannot avoid the fact they have aligned themselves with the haters behind it.”

A survey of 724 Australian same-sex couples released today by Australian Marriage Equality found that 84% would prefer to marry in Tasmania rather than New Zealand if Tasmania becomes the first state to pass same-sex marriage legislation.

“Overwhelmingly, Australian same-sex couples would prefer to marry in their own country rather than fly to New Zealand.”

“I urge electors to vote for candidates who will seize the unique opportunity Tasmania has to lead the nation towards marriage equality.”

The Tasmanian Same-Sex Marriage Bill was defeated by two votes in the Upper House last year. The sitting members in Nelson, Pembroke and Montgomery were against the Bill. Almost all the challenging candidates in Saturday’s election support marriage equality. For more click here.

For more information contact Rodney Croome on 0409 010 668.

Ulverstone Marriage Equality BBQ and concert draws 150

ulverstone bbq lrg
Tasmania
Media Release
Sunday April 21st 2013

A marriage equality family BBQ and concert in the North West Tasmanian town of Ulverstone has been hailed a success by organisers after it drew 150 people.

The BBQ coincided with state Upper House elections in two weeks, with speakers urging the audience to vote for candidates who support marriage equality.

One of the event’s organisers, Nick Outterside, said

“The event showed there is strong support for marriage equality across the North West community.”

“Our message is that Tasmania still has a chance to lead on this urgent reform if people vote for marriage equality.”

One of the three divisions up for election includes Ulverstone. All candidates support marriage equality with the exception of the Liberal Party candidate (voting guides, here).

BBQ-goers heard from several speakers including local Upper House member, Mike Gaffney, local federal Labor member, Sid Sidebottom, local state Green, Paul O’Halleran, Australian Marriage Equality national convener, Rodney Croome, local parent of a gay son, Jen Laws, local same-sex partner, Sabena Lund, and Mr Outterside, who spoke about being raised by two mums.

The crowd was also entertained by music from Bess and Jess Brownrigg and Caroline and Jo Dunn, as well, as a marriage equality performance from Port Dalrymple High School drama students highlighting the negative impact of discrimination.

The performance was inspired by “Labels are so Gay”, a book by North West Tasmania author, Alice Hansen.

Ulverstone was the site of several anti-gay rallies during the campaign to decriminalise homosexuality in Tasmania in the 1990s and was referred to by the Lonely Planet as Australia’s most homophobic town.

Mr Outterside said, “the fact that Ulverstone has gone from having such a bad reputation to hosting such a wonderful pro-equality event makes me optimisitc for the future of marriage equality.”

Also find below Mr Outterside’s address at yesterday’s event.

For more information contact Nicholas Outterside on 0404 427 929.

Hi, my name is Nicholas Outterside. I assume most of you know a little bit about me: at least that I was raised by 2 very loving, intelligent, strong women. People that know me a little better tell you how awesome that was. I could literally stand up here for hours and recount the various fascinating details that made their parenting so utterly outstanding. But for that, you’ll have to buy my book. No, instead I’m here to talk about something a bit bigger and more important than my upbringing.
In my Mother’s day, which some here may be familiar with, it was dangerous to be different. Whether it be for the colour of your skin, the clothing you wore or your sexuality: being different (or allowing others to see you were different) could often prove fatal. When my mother and her friends would go out there would always be a number of look outs. Each would have a CV radio so that they could warn in advance of potential dangers. And they would flee, without hesitation, at the slightest signs of trouble because they knew that if they got caught, that was likely the last time they ever were seen alive again. But despite these very real and constant threats there were still those who stood up and fought against inequality, often exposing their names and faces in the process. I believe we owe them quite a debt because it is as a result of their hard work, commitment and sacrifice that we have come so far. This very event today would not even have been possible without them and what they accomplished.
The last time I stood up at an event like this I told everyone that marriage equality is inevitable. And as we watch the nations around us, recently France, Uruguay and New Zealand, the statement is reinforced. It is inevitable, but it is not automatic. It has taken and will continue to take the hard work, the commitment and the sacrifices of countless people. There are the prominent figures we all know, like Rodney Croome, but there are also a multitude of others too numerous to mention. Who every day aid the cause by petitioning local government, spreading social awareness, creating safe spaces, raising funds, organising events and pushing any way they can to make a positive difference.
My initial involvement in the marriage equality campaign was to help out at one of the BBQs. Just that. Any more than that was asking too much of me. Just cook a sausage or two. I could handle that, I was comfortable with that. And then I was asked if I had anything to say, if I wanted to speak. Nope, no way, defiantly not. I told myself that I could not do it. Couldn’t write it. Couldn’t speak it. And even if I could it would be rubbish and there would be no point. But really I was just scared. Of precisely what, I can’t say. That’d I’d lose my job. That friends / aqiuntences would alienate me. Maybe that I’d be the victim of discrimination or violence. I honestly don’t know exactly why I was frightened all I knew is that I was frightened.
Then I remembered what others have been going through for decades, the adversary they faced, the fear they must have felt and how they just did it anyway. Paving the way for the rights and privileges we enjoy today. They made a lot of progress during their time but the work is not finished yet. They have done their dash and now it’s our turn. And when we are all gone it will be our children’s turn. The people of the present owe it to the people of the past to try and make the world a better place for the people of the future.

NZ allows same-sex marriage

rodney croome1lrg

LARGE numbers of same-sex Australian couples are expected to cross the Tasman to marry after New Zealand last night passed legislation to legalise gay marriage.

The New Zealand parliament’s 77-44 vote was greeted with cheers and applause from packed public galleries and kicked off celebrations.

NZ Prime Minister John Key was among those who supported the change.

But Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard said she would not change her stance against same-sex marriage.

Asked by a member of the public at a community cabinet in Melbourne last night why Australia lagged New Zealand in legalising such unions, Ms Gillard said she would not change her mind on the issue.

“I doubt we’re going to end up agreeing,” she said.

Australian Marriage Equality spokesman Rodney Croome said more than 1000 Australian same-sex couples were expected to cross the Tasman to tie the knot.

“Now that marriage equality is only three hours away there will be a flood of couples flying to New Zealand,” Mr Croome said.

Mr Croome, who is also Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group spokesman, said that as same-sex couples started to marry in New Zealand it would show those Australians who were still conflicted about marriage equality that they had nothing to fear.

Author: The Mercury
Publication: The Mercury
Publication Date: April 18 2013

Refusal by Federal leaders to change marriage equality stance in wake of NZ vote increases pressure on Tasmania to lead

tasmania to lead2lrg

Media Release
Thursday April 18th 2013

Marriage equality advocates have turned their sights back to Tasmania following the passage of same-sex marriage legislation in New Zealand last night.

Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group spokesperson, Rodney Croome, said,

“With marriage equality now just across the Tasman, and with Australia’s national leaders still refusing to act, it’s time for Tasmania to take the lead.”

“Tasmania has lost the opportunity to attract those same-sex couples who will now go to New Zealand to marry, but we still have an opportunity to lead Australia to this important reform.”

“I urge all supporters of marriage equality to vote for a candidate who supports Tasmania leading the way on this issue when three Upper House seats go to the polls on May 4th.”

Last night the New Zealand Parliament voted overwhelming to allow same-sex couples to marry.

In response, both Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, and Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, have confirmed their opposition to marriage equality remains undiminished.

Last year a Same-Sex Marriage Bill was narrowly defeated in the Tasmanian Upper House.

For more information contact Rodney Croome on 0409 010 668.

Active bid to oust Wilkinson

jim wilkinson tasmania2lrgACTIVISTS are running doorknocking training sessions in a bid to oust Nelson Legislative Council member Jim Wilkinson.

The national organisation Get Up! has organised training, on behalf of lobby group Nelson for Change, in Hobart next week to teach people doorknocking skills in a bid promote other candidates.

Mr Wilkinson has held the seat for 18 years.

GetUp! senior campaigner Carl Harris said last night the group had emailed members calling for help.

“We were asked for some help about the Nelson election by our members,” Mr Harris said.

He denied the move was to get around Electoral Act provisions that limit the funding candidates can spend on campaigns.

The group’s action came as nominations for the May 4 Upper House election closed yesterday.

Mr Wilkinson will stand against previously announced Greens candidate Tom Baxter, independent Helen Richardson and newcomer Hans Willink.

Last night, Mr Wilkinson said of the GetUp! action: “I have never know a campaign like it.

“It is obviously backed by the Greens with the obvious intention of supporting their candidate by spending as much money as they want to denigrate another candidate.

“The Electoral Act endeavours to create fairness, by allowing $14,000 in campaign expenditure by each candidate, and this is a backdoor way of creating unfairness. You can only imagine if the boot was on the other foot.”

Meanwhile, Mr Willink, a former army officer, public servant and IT consultant, declared his intention to run with a statement declaring his Liberal Party links.

However, state Liberal director Sam McQuestin moved quickly to distance the party from Mr Willink.

Author: Matt Smith
Publication: The Mercury
Publication Date: April 13 2013

Equality isn’t left, it’s right

equality isnt leftlrg

IN the context of a vote for marriage equality coming before the Legislative Council again this year, the May 4 elections for three MPs in that chamber may tip the balance in favour of those who support fairness and freedom, and who do not believe the state has any role in discriminating against people on the basis of their sexuality.

Newly announced independent Liberal candidate for the Legislative Council seat of Nelson Hans Willink is one who supports Tasmania moving forward positively on same-sex marriage.

Mr Willink sees it this way: “Put simply, it is not my business nor anyone else, including churches, to prohibit another person’s activity if that activity makes them happy and there is no suffering or victim resulting from that activity.”

“To me, ‘activity’ includes same-sex couples calling their lifelong relationships ‘marriage’,” he said.

“Another reason I have no issue with marriage equality is that existing Tasmanian relationship and de facto laws already cover the legal requirements of a ‘marriage’.

“All we are really arguing about is the use of a word to describe it. A word which no religious or other group has monopoly rights over.”

Of the argument mounted by some Legislative councillors that, in spite of advice from the foremost constitutional scholar in Australia George Williams, a Tasmanian same-sex marriage law would not be unconstitutional, Willink does not share the view of the doomsayers who think such a challenge would cost millions of dollars in legal fees.

“I suspect that there would be many same-sex advocate lawyers who would take on a job for nothing, if asked,” Willink said.

“Just who would the plaintiff be?”

In fact, Willink thinks a challenge to a Tasmanian marriage equality law would be good for this state.

He says there would be “huge publicity generated for ‘that little state Tasmania’, once the most redneck in the nation, now the most liberal and progressive, fighting for the rights and freedom of minorities”.

“When coupled with cultural diversification achieved through MONA and the arts, it’s a very powerful message. Supporting marriage equality, then, makes economic sense as well as natural justice,” Willink argues.

Willink’s reasoning is coherent and logical. His views are in step with those of an increasing majority of people in liberal democratic societies. And he is not fooled by the utterly absurd argument that legislators should refuse to pass a law providing for equality simply because it might be subject to a court challenge. If that line of reasoning applied generally then there would be thousands of laws that would never see the light of day.

For Tasmania’s Legislative Council to vote against same-sex marriage again this year would be to demonstrate that it is out of touch with community sentiment, both in Tasmania and globally.

Same-sex marriage is not a left or right issue.

Most tellingly, British Prime Minister David Cameron, a Conservative Party MP, has committed to same-sex marriage. Cameron argued in February this year after the House of Commons voted in favour of same-sex marriage: “The great thing about last night’s vote is that two gay people who love each other will now be able to get married, and I think that is an important advance.”

In the US, high-profile Republicans are backing same-sex marriage. Jon Huntsman, a former Governor of Utah and a 2012 Republican presidential candidate primaries contestant, has argued: “There is nothing conservative about denying other Americans the ability to forge that same relationship with the person they love.”

Former Republican Party chief Ken Mehlman argued in an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal on November 20 last year that conservatives should support same-sex marriage because what “could be more conservative than support for more freedom and less government? And what freedom is more basic than the right to marry the person you love? Smaller, less intrusive government surely includes an individual deciding whom to marry. Allowing civil marriage for same-sex couples will cultivate community stability, encourage fidelity and commitment, and foster family values.”

So much for some in the Liberal Party and the letters pages of this newspaper who argue that same-sex marriage is part of a radical leftist agenda.

It is not and never has been.

Tasmania, as Mr Willink says, has the chance to lead on same-sex marriage. It has the opportunity to tell the rest of Australia that the state should be about maximising freedom, not curtailing it. That families are made up of different stripes and this is a matter for celebration, not fear.

In the lead-up to the Legislative Council elections on May 4, voters should ask candidates where they stand on same-sex marriage. If they support it like Mr Willink does then they are worth considering voting for, because it means they have a mindset that is open and prepared to push social change.

That is the sort of person we should want in the Legislative Council.

Greg Barns is a Hobart-based human rights lawyer and campaign director for the WikiLeaks Party.

Author: GREG BARNS
Publication: The Mercury
Publication Date: April 15 2013

Independent candidate announces gay marriage support

jim wilkinson tasmania2lrg
Independent Jim Wilkinson (pictured), who voted against the marriage equality bill last September.

Former Tasmanian Liberal-now independent candidate Hans Willink says he supports gay marriage in Tasmania, joining a chorus of pro-gay marriage candidates ahead of the May 4 Upper House election.

Willink told The Australian newspaper Friday that he would be standing for the seat of Nelson against its sitting member, independent Jim Wilkinson (pictured), who voted against the marriage equality bill last September.

“I do support marriage equality [for gays] because I’m not in the business of saving souls,” Willink said.

“Before there’s a role for government, you need to establish there’s a victim.

“If it makes them [gays] really happy and no one else suffers as a result, why would government stop them?”

The three Upper House seats that are up for election on May 4 are for the Nelson, Montgomery and Pembroke electorates.

Sitting members in all three seats opposed the marriage equality bill last year which lost by just two votes in the Upper House.

Australian Marriage Equality says all candidates have announced support for marriage equality except those endorsed by the Liberal Party.

AME national director Rodney Croome said Willink’s “socially progressive and fiscally conservative” position could be a game-changer.

“The fact that Hans Willink is an independent Liberal who openly supports marriage equality is a potential game changer in a seat like Nelson where there are many socially-progressive, pro-business voters,” Croome said.

“It is also a reminder that more Liberals would openly support this issue – because they value freedom and family – if only the Party abandoned its lock-step discipline on the issue and allowed a conscience vote.”

Author: Staff Writers
Publication: Star Observer
Publication Date: April 12 2013

Tasmania to Reap Marriage Equality Windfall

96 million tume

Author: Damien Larkins
Publication: ABC Hobart

A new report says Tasmania could claim the lion’s share of a predicted multi-million dollar national economic boost from legalising same-sex marriage.

The report, published by the University of California’s Williams Institute, estimates Australia could earn $161 million dollars over three years from the move.

It singles out Tasmania, which it says stands to gain $96 million of that boost, if it becomes the first state to grant same-sex couples the right to marry.

The figures are based on a projected estimate that 54 per cent of Australia’s approximately 33,000 same-sex couples chose to tie the knot.

The report’s lead author, Professor Lee Badgett, has told Statewide Mornings’ Leon Compton, Tasmania could become the destination of choice.

“There are lots of same-sex couples in other parts of the country who are just chomping at the bit, they’re ready to get on a plane and come here to get married if they have that option,” she says.

Prof. Badgett says the estimated windfall for Tasmania from same-sex couples themselves is just the beginning.

“That’s not including their friends and family who might come, that’s not including other kinds of tourist spending that they’ll be doing while they’re here,” she says.

The report estimates the total national spend could be as high as $742 million if those factors are taken into account.

The full report, The Economic Impact of Extending Marriage to Same-Sex Couples in Australia, is available online.

Listen to the ABC radio discussion here

Heat turned up on gay marriage

Same-sex marriage advocates are preparing to lobby MLCs whom they believe could change their mind and vote in favour of making Tasmania the first state to allow gay people to tie the knot.

Murchison MLC Ruth Forrest is determined to make her colleagues debate the legislation again this year, after the proposed state-based same-sex marriage laws failed to pass the Legislative Council last year.

Ms Forrest has abandoned the idea of forming a parliamentary committee to examine the legislation.

“I think we’re a bit committeed-out. I think there are possibly other ways,” Ms Forrest said.

Pro-gay marriage activists will focus on allaying fears expressed by MLCs about the potential for the laws to be challenged in the High Court.

Ms Forrest said she was sourcing legal opinion from experts whom her colleagues would “respect and trust” to counter the influential views expressed by former chief justice and Governor William Cox opposing the concept.

 

Continue reading…

Why I’ve been slack…

I was in Tasmania for the fantastic announcement that Tasmanian Labor would push forward on marriage equality at a state level, and recently had a chance to meet with the Tasmanian Attorney General, Brian Wightman.  Our meeting was off the record as my current hosts are related to him, but he was lovely, charming and fantastically in support of the proposal.  Tasmanian Labor are to be praised for once again leading the way on LGBTI law reform.  I am proud of how far Tasmania has come! From being the last state to decriminalise homosexuality in 1997, to being the first to have legal recognition of Queer relationships in 2004 (Four years before commonwealth legislation around same-sex de facto couples), to now being ready to try for Marriage Equality in 2012.

Continue reading…

Battle for marriage laws

Former Liberal senator Guy Barnett has appealed to the federal Attorney-General to block Tasmania’s bid to allow same-sex marriage.

Mr Barnett, who is now a Launceston lawyer and consultant, has written to Nicola Roxon MP asking for federal intervention.

He says he wants to see that federal marriage laws are protected and remain consistent across the nation.

“The Federal Government has a responsibility to uphold and protect federal law,” he said.

“The reason federal members of Parliament are currently debating legalising same-sex marriage is because marriage is a matter for Federal Parliament.

“Premier Lara Giddings publicly stated that she had strong legal advice also confirming this position less than 12 months ago.”

Continue reading…

An address to the 2012 Hobart marriage equality rally: Anna Young on young people and people of faith

I am a 17 year old Catholic Christian and I support marriage equality. I do so because I believe that everyone should be able to express their love for anyone they want to and have it acknowledged publicly. In my eyes there is nothing that separates heterosexual, bisexual and homosexual marriage, apart from current laws.

Many other Christians agree. A galaxy research poll recently showed that 53% of Christians support marriage equality. Many people believe that you can’t be both Christian and a supporter of marriage equality, but it is stated in many ways through the Bible that you should love everyone. Part of being a Christian is caring, looking out for and loving everyone, including all members of the LGBT community.

In my eyes and the eyes of many young Tasmania’s there is no difference between the legitimacy and validity of the love in the relationships between homosexual couples to that of heterosexual couples. In fact, a recent poll showed that 95% of Tasmanian’s aged 18-24 support marriage equality.

I believe that so many young people are passionate about this issue because we understand that the decisions we are making now will help to shape our future. So the young people of today want to create the best future possible to live in, for everyone. There should be no difference in the marriage of those in equal love. I believe in equal love, and as such I believe in equal marriage.”

Giddings emerges as rainbow warrior

When Premier Lara Giddings last week announced Labor would move to allow same-sex couples to marry, she received text messages of thanks from friends.

“We’re so proud of you taking up this cause on our behalf,” some wrote.

One gay man the Premier knows proposed to his partner as soon as he heard of Labor’s plans.

But Ms Giddings described this as a “big hope”.

“It’s got to get through the upper house,” she said.

Labor made an election commitment that the party would not legalise same-sex marriage but Ms Giddings says the time has come for action.

“It’s a debate that has not gone away, it’s a debate that will not go away,” she said.

“We’re reflecting the change that has occurred in the Australian community and the Tasmanian community.”

Continue reading…

Queue for pink aisle

Thousands of same-sex partners across Australia have their champagne flutes and credit cards poised, waiting for Tasmania to give the green light to gay marriage.

Since Premier Lara Giddings said last week that Tasmania would push to legalise same-sex marriage, campaigners have been swamped with interest from interstate couples.

Marriage Equality campaigner Rodney Croome said “many thousands” of interstate couples would come to Tasmania to tie the knot if the laws were passed, and the economic spin-offs would be huge.

Mr Croome said research had shown that 54 per cent of same-sex couples would “marry tomorrow if they had the chance”.

Melbourne couple Luke Taylor and his partner Karl Scherrer have been engaged for three years, and have plans to marry in Switzerland next year because they cannot legally marry in Australia. “But we would come to Tasmania tomorrow if the laws there changed,” said the 34-year-old stylist.

Brisbane couple Fiona Nichols, 27, and Kristen Watt have been looking at an overseas wedding too, but are now waiting for the nod from Tasmania.

“We want to share it with our friends and family,” said Ms Watt, 24, who is studying law.

Continue reading…

500 brave rain in Hobart to support marriage equality / Advocates welcome S.A. decision to follow Tassie

500 people braved cold and wet conditions in Hobart today to show their support for marriage equality at a rally addressed by State Premier, Lara Giddings.

Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group spokesperson, Rodney Croome, said the turn-out on such a gloomy day shows how excited many Tasmanians are about the state leading the way on marriage equality.

“The rally was further evidence of what recent polls have already shown – Tasmanians support marriage equality and want their state to take the lead.”

Continue reading

Same-sex marriage support

The majority of Tasmanians support same-sex marriage and agree the state should legislate without waiting for national laws, a new poll has found.

The EMRS poll revealed that 61 per cent of respondents agreed that gay and lesbian couples should be allowed to marry, with 31 per cent disagreeing and 8 per cent unsure.

Support was strongest among younger age groups — with 95 per cent of those aged 18-24 in favour of the reform, with minority support only in age groups over 55 years.

Continue reading…

For the full results…

Equal share of wedded bliss

The most important issue regarding marriage equality is not marriage — the important issue is equality.

For this reason, the term “gay marriage” misrepresents the issue. The real issue is equal rights for all Australians, regardless of their sexuality.

Tasmania may have been the last state to legalise homosexuality, but now it may be the first to legalise same-sex marriage, after the Premier’s motion to introduce the country’s first state-based gender-neutral marriage Act.

It is fundamentally wrong that people do not have the same choices in life that the rest of us take for granted when it comes to marriage, Premier Lara Giddings said at the state ALP conference on the weekend.

It is the last area of discrimination left, Ms Giddings said, and no matter how you feel about the institution of marriage, this is an important issue for all Tasmanians, not only same-sex attracted Tasmanians.

Continue reading…

Fight for the pink dollar

Tasmania faces a battle for the coveted “pink dollar” as the ACT considers pursuing same-sex marriage.

Marriage equality campaigner Rodney Croome said the value was likely to be hundreds of millions of dollars to the first state or territory to take the plunge.

“The race is on,” Mr Croome said. “There is a very large amount of money at stake.”

Research released this year showed legalising same-sex marriage would be worth about $100 million.

“But that was very conservative, because it estimated the average spend at just one-quarter of a heterosexual wedding,” Mr Croome said. ” It’s likely to be several times more.

“And it doesn’t take into account the spend on honeymoons, tourism and friends and families visiting.

“And it’s all directed at the small business sector.

Continue reading…

Gay marriage laws at mercy of independents

Before the Tasmanian government’s bid to be gay marriage’s first mover ever gets tested in the High Court, it needs to get into law past the Legislative Council. So how likely is this chamber to vote for marriage equality? We may be surprised. Early evidence of which way the wind is blowing has come from Ruth Forrest, a 50-year-old former midwife, who represents a north-west Tasmanian electorate that still holds strongly to religious and traditional views.

Continue reading…

Tasmania is the logical ‘first mover’ on marriage equality

Tasmanian Premier Lara Giddings has announced that Tasmania will pass new laws allowing same-sex couples to marry.

For some people it will seem strange that Tasmania could be the first place in Australia to allow same-sex marriages. Tassie has a reputation for homophobia that comes from being the last Australian state to decriminalise same-sex relationships. Besides, isn’t marriage a federal issue?

Since homosexuality was decriminalised in 1997, Tasmania’s progress on the recognition of same-sex relationships has outstripped the other states.

We were the first state or territory to enact a scheme for formally recognising same-sex relationships, the second to allow same-sex couples official ceremonies and the first to recognise overseas same-sex marriages.

Tasmanian Labor was the first to formally endorse the principle of marriage equality and the Tasmanian Parliament, the first to do the same.

Some might say we have made this rapid evolution towards equality despite our history, but I think it is because if it.

Continue reading…

Tassie takes lead on gay marriage

TASMANIA could become the first state to legalise gay marriage after the Premier, Lara Giddings, said the time had come to end discrimination against same-sex couples.

The legislation would be drafted to allow gay and lesbian couples from interstate to be married in Tasmania, something that Ms Giddings said would be an economic boon for the state.

She told the state Labor conference in Hobart yesterday that she would introduce the legislation by the end of the year.

”There will always be excuses, arguments and questions of timing when moving on difficult and controversial issues,” Ms Giddings said.

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Media Release: Advocates call on Tas Upper House to back marriage equality

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Tasmanian marriage equality advocates have welcomed a move by independent state Upper House member, Tony Mulder, to secure in-principle support for the reform from his Upper House colleagues.

Mr Mulder has tabled an Upper House motion to be debated in April that calls for same-sex couples to be able to marry.

Tasmanian United for Marriage Equality spokesperson, Deidre Murray, said,

“Support for the principle of marriage equality from the traditionally conservative Tasmanian Upper House will send a strong message to federal parliament that it’s time to move ahead with this reform rather than sending it off to an expensive and divisive plebiscite.”

“Last year’s successful Tasmanian Lower House marriage equality motion, which was supported by Liberal, Labor and Green members, is a compelling precedent which I urge Upper House members to follow.”

In 2012 the Tasmanian Upper House defeated a same-sex marriage bill by one vote, stymying the opportunity for Tasmania to become the first place in Australia to allow same-sex couples to marry.

Last year Premier Will Hodgman and many of his Liberal colleagues joined Labor and Green party MPs in supporting a marriage equality motion.

For more information contact Deidre Murray on 0412 931 974 or Rodney Croome on 0409 010 668.

Author: Deidre Murray, Rodney Croome
Publication: Tasmania United for Marriage Equality Press Release
Date: 17 March 2016

Media Release: Tasmania To Be First State To Offer Apology To Victims Of Former Anti-Gay Laws

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Tasmanian gay rights advocates have welcomed a state government announcement that it will move legislation next year to allow criminal records for gay sex to be expunged, and have praised its decision to apologise to those who were prosecuted

In 1997 Tasmanian became the final Australian state to decriminalise private, consenting, adult male sex, and it will be the first to provide a formal apology to those arrested and their families.

Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group spokesperson, Rodney Croome, said,

“For those men who were prosecuted in Tasmania for simply being in same-sex relationships it will be a great relief to be rid of the disadvantage and stigma that comes with an unfair criminal record.”

“I am proud that Tasmania will be the first state to apologise to those arrested and their families because it will lift a burden from their shoulders and send the strongest message yet that Tasmania is a progressive and inclusive society.”

In 2008, in a nationally unprecedented move, the Hobart City Council formally apologised for the arrests of gay law reform advocates at Salamanca Market in 1988.

Mr Croome welcomed the Government’s decision to allow the possibility of expungement for other former “crimes”.

“Tasmania was the only state to criminalise cross dressing and I look forward to people targeted under those provisions having he opportunity to clear their names and their records.”

Mr Croome said his preference is for expungement applications to be made by an independent expert panel, as proposed by the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner, Robin Banks.

The other states that have already passed expungement legislation are South Australia, Victoria, NSW, and the ACT. None have offered formal apologies to those arrested.

Under Tasmania’s former anti-gay laws the maximum penalty for consenting adult private male sex was 21 years in gaol, the highest in the western world.

The decade-long campaign to repeal these laws involved the United Nations Human Rights Committee, the Federal Government, the High Court and Amnesty International.

Text from the State Government statement is below.

For more information contact Rodney Croome on 0409 010 668.

Author: Rodney Croome
Publication: Tasmania United for Marriage Equality Press Release
Date: 17 December 2016

***

TASMANIAN GOVERNMENT

Vanessa Goodwin, Attorney-General
Expunging historic homosexual convictions

The Tasmanian Liberal Government will introduce legislation next year to expunge historic criminal records for consensual homosexual sexual activity.
The Tasmanian Liberal Party, both in Opposition and in Government, has supported expunging historic criminal records for homosexual activity which was previously illegal.
Additionally, a formal apology to those affected, including families and loved ones of those who are deceased, will be made when the legislation is introduced in the house.
The legislation will expunge convictions for the following offences:
- Section 122(a) – sexual intercourse against the order of nature;
- Section 122(c) – consensual sexual intercourse between males; and
- Section 123 – indecent practices between males.
These sections of the Tasmanian Criminal Code were repealed in 1997 after homosexuality was decriminalised in Tasmania but the repeal did not address the implications for those with existing criminal records pertaining to consensual homosexual activity.
The legislation will ensure that any individual prosecuted under these offences will no longer suffer distress or be disadvantaged by a criminal record in relation to travel, employment, and volunteering.
The legislation will also allow other offences under which people may have been charged for consensual homosexual activity to be added by regulation at a later date so these historical offences can also be expunged from a person’s criminal record.
I thank the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner for her report titled ‘Treatment of historic records for consensual homosexual sexual activity and related conduct’, which has helped to progress this important issue.
The Government has approved some variations from the model for expunging offences proposed by the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner, in order to allow us to implement legislation and open the scheme to expunge offences as efficiently and as soon as possible.
Rather than requiring the establishment of a Historic Criminal Records Expert Panel as proposed by the Commissioner, applications will be processed through the Secretary of the Department of Justice, consistent with how other jurisdictions manage this process.
Contact: Chris Medhurst
Phone: 0410600400

Media Release: Police Pride Parade Contingent Welcomed – Bishop Urged To Listen To Catholics Who Support Marriage Equality

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Gay rights advocate and outgoing Tasmanian of the Year, Rodney Croome, has welcomed the decision by Tasmania Police to march in uniform in tomorrow’s Tas Pride Parade, a first for the state.

Mr Croome said,

“I congratulate Commissioner Hine and Tasmanian Police for showing their support for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex community.”

“This shows how far Tasmania has come since we were the last state to decriminalise homosexuality, and it is something all Tasmanians can be proud of.”

“The simple message being sent by Darren Hine and the other police who will march in the parade is that there is no room for prejudice, discrimination and exclusion in the police service and in Tasmanian society more broadly.”

Commissioner Hine will also speak at tomorrow’s Tas Pride rally, and will be introduced by Mr Croome.

Tas Pride is Tasmania’s annual lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) festival.

Meanwhile, Mr Croome has urged the Archbishop of Hobart, Julian Porteous, to listen to Catholics who support marriage equality after students and parents walked out of a Catholic College graduation ceremony in Hobart in response to the Archbishop’s comments against the reform.

Julian Porteous lrg

Students also responded to the comments by chalking a rainbow outside the same College.

Mr Croome said,

“I urge Archbishop to listen to those Catholics who want Christian principles of justice and equity extended to same-sex couples seeking to marry.”

“As Pope Francis keeps reminding Catholics, dogma on issues like marriage should not be allowed to drive faithful Catholics away from the Church.”

For the report Police show gay support as officers join Tas Pride Parade click here.

For a report on the protests against Archbishop Porteous’ comments, click here.

For more information contact Rodney Croome on 0409 010 668.

Author: Rodney Croome
Publication: Tasmania United for Marriage Equality Press Release
Date: 6 November 2015

Media Release: Advocates Call For Tasmanian Government To Enforce Gay-Hate Decision

homosexuality stats

Tasmanian advocates have called on the Tasmanian Government to hold accountable a man who was found to have breached the state’s Anti-Discrimination Act but is refusing to respect the decision.

Last month James Durston was ordered to apologise after it was found he had breached the Anti-Discrimination Act by distributing a leaflet denouncing homosexuality called “Homosexual Stats”, but in a lengthy letter to the Anti-Discrimination Commission (attached), Mr Durston has refused to adhere to the ruling that he describes as a “gross perversion of justice”.

The man who took the case against the leaflet, senior Tasmanian public servant, Robert Williams, said

“It’s always troubling when people think they’re above the law. However, in such a serious matter as this, where the Anti-Discrimination Tribunal has said Mr Durston broke the law, it saddens me that he won’t accept the umpire’s ruling.”

“Actions such as Mr Durston publishing of this hateful flyer cause much damage in our community and are the very reason laws like the Anti-Discrimination Act exist.”

Tasmanian gay rights advocate, Rodney Croome, said,

“To maintain confidence in the Anti-Discrimination Act, and to ensure Tasmania is a safe and inclusive society, the Tasmanian Government must do everything it can to uphold the ruling against Mr Durston.”

Mr Durston was ordered to publish an apology or face a fine. He has refused to do either. His letter explaining why is attached. The original Tribunal decision is also attached.

For more information contact Robert Williams on 0411 671 755 or Rodney Croome on 0409 010 668.

Author: Robert Williams Rodney Croome
Publication: Tasmania United for Marriage Equality Press Release
Date: 8 July 2015

Anti-Discrimination Decisions

James Durston response

Media Release: Bias Watchdog Orders Tasmanian Anti-Gay Advocate to Publicly Apologise

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Robert Williams has an apology coming to him, which he told the tribunal was also due to those who struggled with their sexuality.

A senior Tasmanian public servant, Robert Williams, has won his case against an anti-gay flyer distributed in Hobart.

The state Anti-Discrimination Tribunal has ruled that the author of a flyer titled “Homosexual Stats”, James Durston, must publicly apologise or face a fine.

The flyer stated homosexuality is “utterly abominable” and “should not be tolerated”. Among several far-fetched claims it stated that the medium age of death for gay men is 42 and lesbians are 466 times more likely to die in traffic accidents. It was distributed in Hobart during the 2013 state election campaign under the name of “Three Wise Monkeys”.

Mr Williams said,

“I’m happy with this outcome because it says that the vilification of Tasmanians on the grounds of sexual orientation is not acceptable.”

“I didn’t do it for myself, but for those young same-sex attracted Tasmanians who are really vulnerable to this kind of hatred and stereotyping.”

“There’s no point having laws as strong as the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination to protect our freedoms unless we use them.”

“I’d encourage anyone who feels they’ve been discriminated against to make a formal complaint.”

Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group spokesperson, Rodney Croome, also welcomed the decision, saying,

“I congratulate Robert Williams for his initiative in making a complaint and for the calm, intelligent and well-informed way he made his case.”

“This decision will help save lives by sending the message that hatred has no place in Tasmanian society.”

“Free speech is vitally important but every right comes with a responsibility not to harm others.”

“This flyers clearly crosses that line.”

Mr Durston has been ordered to publish an apology in the Hobart Mercury or face a fine.

A copy of the decision is attached. A copy of the flyer is also attached, as part of Mr Robert’s original complaint. It can be found on pages 4 & 5 of that complaint.

For more information contact Robert Williams on 0411 671 755 or Rodney Croome on 0409 010 668.

Williams v ‘Threewisemonkeys’ and Durston – Judgment – 30-6-15

Author: Robert Williams Rodney Croome
Publication: Tasmania United for Marriage Equality Press Release
Date: 1 July 2015

Media Release: Marriage Equality A Winner In Tassie Election

case against 8 TASSupporters flock to Launceston marriage equality film screening

Tasmanian marriage equality advocates say Saturday’s Upper House election was a victory for marriage equality.

Spokesperson for Tasmanians United for Marriage Equality, Andrew Badcock said,

“Across the state, candidates who supported the 2012 Same-Sex Marriage Bill were returned with whopping votes while the candidates against didn’t fair so well.”

“Saturday’s election provides MPs with an impetus to revisit a state law should the federal parliament against fail to pass marriage equality nationally.”

Two high-profile supporters of marriage equality, Mike Gaffney and Craig Farrell, where returned with huge majorities.

Mike Gaffney

Craig Farrell

Mr Gaffney’s opponent, Vivienne Gale, specifically campaigned against same-sex marriage but polled badly.

High profile opponent of same-sex marriage, Ivan Dean, was also returned, but without a majority in his own right and with a much lower vote than Messrs Gaffney or Farrell.

Meanwhile, on Monday night almost 100 people attended a screening for the marriage equality documentary, The Case Against 8, in the Village Cinemas in Launceston.

Screening organiser, Mara Schneiders, said,

“It was great to see such a strong turn out in Launceston, especially after the recent Launceston City Council decision not to support a marriage equality motion.”

“Many of those who attended felt inspired to contribute more to the campaign by contacting their local federal MPs.”

Movie-goers included those Launceston Aldermen who voted for the marriage equality motion.

For more information contact Andrew Badcock on 0400 884 149 or Mara Schneiders on 0459 406 497.

Author: Mara Schneiders Andrew Badcock
Publication: Tasmania United for Marriage Equality Press Release
Date: 6 May 2015

Media Release: First Door-To-Door Marriage Equality Petition Reveals 72%

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Entire Hobart suburb first in nation to be canvassed
Battery Point Dubbed “Equality Point”

In an Australian first, campaigners have canvassed the opinion of an entire suburb and found 72 percent support for marriage equality.

The result was unveiled today with campaigners vowing to continue to canvass suburbs across Tasmania and the nation.

The marriage equality campaigner who co-ordinated the door-to-door petition, Ben Bartl, said,

“Over the past few months a small team of volunteers has door-knocked every house in Battery Point with a petition for marriage equality.”

“With the results demonstrating that 72 percent of households are supportive of marriage equality we believe that Battery Point can now officially be referred to as Equality Point”.

“We will not give up the fight for marriage equality. Door by door, street by street, community by community we will prove to the Government that marriage equality is supported by the overwhelming majority of Australians”.”

To highlight the petition, campaigners chalked the iconic Kelly’s Steps in rainbow colours.

tas kellys steps2

Tasmanians United for Marriage Equality spokesperson, Andrew Badcock, thanked volunteers who went door-to-door with the petition and who helped create the rainbow steps.

“Door-to-door petitioning is a great way for us to talk our fellow Tasmanians about why marriage equality matters, plus the results show beyond doubt that the community supports marriage equality.”

“I’d like to thank everyone who helped gather petition signatures and who chalked Kelly’s Steps in rainbow colours.”

“Today, Battery Point is Equality Point.”

For a news report, click here.

For more information contact Ben Bartl on 0417 032 832 and Andrew Badcock on 0400 884 149.

Author: Ben Bartl Andrew Badcock
Publication: Tasmania United for Marriage Equality Press Release
Date: 13 December 2014

Tasmanian Marriage Equality Advocate Receives Human Rights Award

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Tasmanian marriage equality advocate, Andrew Badcock, has been recognised for his contribution to human rights.

Yesterday, Andrew was the recipient of a Tasmanian human rights award for his work on marriage equality and other LGBTI human rights issues.

Andrew is the convener of Tasmanians United for Marriage Equality and Amnesty International’s Human Rights Queer Network. He is employed by Tasmanian LGBTI support and training service, Working It Out, as an LGBTI mental health project officer.

Andrew said,

“I’m very grateful and honoured to have been given this award.”

“Human Rights Week for me highlights the importance of pushing for fairness – from marriage equality to a better recognition of gender and sex diverse people.”

“The award shows just how much support there is from the wider community to ensure the rights of LGBTI people are recognised equally and fairly here in Australia and around the world.”

“The award also recognises the invaluable support of our allies in the community and politics who’ve pushed for a fairer world.”

Another Tasmanian LGBTI advocate, Caleb Nichols-Mansell, received a high commendation for his work challenging homophobia.

Caleb is a young gay, Indigenous Tasmanian from the state’s North West Coast who has spoken about the issues facing young LGBTI people in Tasmania to groups of school students, teachers and chaplains, and during police LGBTI training.

The human rights award received by Andrew Badcock is sponsored by Rainbow Communities Tasmania and was awarded as one of nine human rights awards during the launch of Human Rights Week at Parliament House in Hobart.

In 1991 the inaugural Tasmanian human rights award was received by Rodney Croome who is currently the national director of Australian Marriage Equality and was named Tasmania’s Australian of the Year in October.

A photo of Andrew with his certificate outside the Tasmanian Parliament is attached.

For more information contact Andrew Badcock on 0400 884 149.

Author: Andrew Badcock
Publication: Tasmania United for Marriage Equality Press Release
Date: 4 December 2014

Media Release: Call On Arrested Gay and Transgender Tasmanians To Come Forward

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Advocates have called on gay and transgender Tasmanians who were once arrested under Tasmanian law to speak up in response to a proposal to expunge their criminal records.

Tasmanian anti-discrimination commissioner, Robin Banks, has issued a discussion paper on expunging records of gay men and transgender people who were arrested.

Tasmanians Gay and Lesbian Rights Group spokesperson, Martine Delaney, said

“It’s vital that those most affected by the expungement of criminal records come forward and are heard.”

“I know it will be hard for some people to revisit a painful time in their life, but it will be crucial to getting this legislation right.”

Until 1997, men who had sex with other men could be gaoled for up to 21 years in Tasmania. Men who dressed as women between sunset and sunrise could also be prosecuted.

The discussion paper can be found here: http://www.antidiscrimination.tas.gov.au/news_and_events/historic_convictions_discussion_paper

For more information contact Martine Delaney on 0417 530 621

Author: Martine Delaney
Publication: Tasmania United for Marriage Equality Press Release
Date: 4 Nov 2014

Advocate Welcomes Bill to End Forced Divorce For Transgender Tasmanians

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A Tasmanian transgender advocate has welcomed a bill to be introduced today which will remove the requirement that transgender people must divorce if they want the government to officially recognise their gender.

Greens’ Leader, Nick mcKim, will today introduce a bill to remove the divorce requirement from the Births, Deaths and Marriages Act.

Tasmanian transgender advocate, Martine Delaney, welcomed the move saying,

“Couples facing the gender transition of one partner are already under enough stress without being forced to divorce.”

“Any one who believes in marriage and in keeping couples together should oppose this cruel and unnecessary provision.”

“If my late wife was still alive, Tasmanian law would force us to divorce even though we made the decision to stay together despite my gender reassignment.”

“No-one should be forced to choose between the official recognition of their marriage and the official recognition of their gender.”

Under Tasmanian law people who have gender reassignment can only amend their birth certificate to represent their true gender if they are unmarried, forcing married transgender partners to divorce.

Ms Delaney went on to say the issue should not be confused or conflated with same-sex marriage.

“Although the Marriage Act says partners entering a marriage must be of different genders, there is nothing in that Act which requires states to terminate marriages because one partner changes their gender.”

Similar legislation will be introduced today in the NSW and South Australian parliaments.

To read Ms Delaney’s personal story about transgender forced divorce in today’s edition of the Hobart Mercury, click here.

A fact sheet is attached.

For more information contact Martine Delaney on 0417 530 621.

Author: Martine Delaney
Publication:
Date: October 16 2014