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 Post subject: Re: Australia and sex
PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2017 5:22 pm 
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Australian lawmaker proposes to gay partner during debate
By ROD McGUIRK
4 December 2017

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) -- An Australian lawmaker giving a speech on same-sex marriage proposed to his gay partner Monday during Parliament's debate on a bill that is expected to soon legalize marriage equality across the country.

Tim Wilson, a 37-year-old lawmaker in the conservative coalition government, was among the first lawmakers to join the House of Representatives debate and toward the end of his speech popped the question to his partner of seven years Ryan Bolger, who was watching from the public gallery. "In my first speech I defined our bond by the ring that sits on both of our left hands, and they are the answer to a question we cannot ask," an emotional Wilson said, referring to the first time he addressed the Parliament last year. "There's only one thing left to do: Ryan Patrick Bolger, will you marry me?" Wilson added to applause.

The 33-year-old primary school teacher responded: "yes," which was recorded in the official parliamentary record.

The House of Representatives is holding its final two-week session of the year, which is giving priority to lifting the ban on same-sex marriage ion Australia. The major parties want the legislation passed this week after a majority of Australian's endorsed change in a postal ballot last month. The Senate last week approved the bill and rejected all proposed amendments that would have increased legal protections for those who would discriminate against gay couples on religious grounds.

But several lawmakers including Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull intend to persist with amendments rejected by the Senate. Turnbull, a gay marriage supporter, says he wants wedding celebrants, not just those affiliated with churches, to have the right to refuse to officiate at same-sex marriages. If the House of Representatives supported such an amendment, then the altered bill would have to return to the Senate for ratification, delaying the reform.

Turnbull told Parliament that while nothing in the bill threatened religious freedoms, he wanted more reassurances for the millions of Australians who oppose marriage equality. "We must not fail to recognize that there is sincere, heartfelt anxiety about the bill's impact on religious freedom," Turnbull said. "That is why I will support several amendments to the bill which will provide that additional reassurance in respect of their fundamental rights and freedoms," he added.

Warren Entsch, a long-term advocate of marriage equality within the conservative government, helped draft the bill and was the first to speak for it in the House on Monday. "The bill which the Senate passed is a robust bill, a whole range of religious protections are already in place," Entsch said in introducing the bill. "We have made sure that we have removed any element of discrimination in this bill while ensuring that religious freedoms are protected," he added.

Entsch said related amendments to bolster freedoms of speech and education rights could be debated in a separate bill next year and should not be sued to delay the reform. "Australians are sick of excuses and they're sick of delays," Entsch said.

A nonbinding postal survey found that 62 percent of Australian respondents wanted gay marriage to be legal. Almost 80 percent of Australia's registered voters took part in the two-month survey. Most gay marriage opponents accept that the Parliament has an overwhelming mandate to make the change. While marriage equality could become law this week, state marriage registries say they would not have the paperwork to proceed with weddings until January.

Source: AP

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 Post subject: Re: Australia and sex
PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 6:24 pm 
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Australian Parliament votes to allow same-sex marriages
By ROD McGUIRK
7 December 2017

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) -- Australia's Parliament voted Thursday to allow same-sex marriage across the nation, following a bitter debate settled by a much-criticized government survey of voters that strongly endorsed change.

The public gallery in the House of Representatives erupted with applause when the bill passed. It changes the definition of marriage from solely between a man and a woman to "a union of two people" excluding all others. The legislation passed with a majority that wasn't challenged, although four lawmakers registered their opposition. "What a day. What a day for love, for equality, for respect. Australia has done it," Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told Parliament.

The Senate passed the same legislation last week 43 votes to 12. The government later announced that same-sex couples will be able to apply to marry starting Saturday, with the first weddings potentially from Jan. 6.

Champagne and tears flowed in the halls of Parliament House as gay celebrities including Olympic champion swimmer Ian Thorpe and actress Magda Szubanski hugged lawmakers and ordinary folk in a party atmosphere. "What an amazing day, I'm a little bit delirious, it's extraordinary," said Szubanski, who sat in the public gallery during Thursday's daylong debate.

Thorpe thanked "our straight brothers and sisters" for strongly backing marriage equality in the two-month postal survey. "Quite literally without them voting for us, this would never have happened," Thorpe said. "It means that we've created an Australia that is more equitable, it's more fair, it's more just," he added.

Janet Rice, a minor Greens party senator, hugged and kissed her transgender wife of 31 years, Penny Whetton, after the decision. They have been allowed to remain married because Whetton is listed as male on her birth certificate. "I'm overwhelmed," Rice said. "It' been such a huge thing that we've been living with for so, so long and we've finally achieved equality."

Amendments meant to safeguard freedoms of speech and religion for gay-marriage opponents were all rejected, though those issues may be considered later. The government has appointed a panel to examine how to safeguard religious freedoms once gay marriage is a reality in Australia.

Lawmakers advocating marriage equality had argued that the national postal survey in November mandated a change of the marriage definition alone, so changing the law should not be delayed by other considerations. Gay marriage was endorsed by 62 percent of voters who responded to the postal ballot. "It is now our job as members of Parliament to pass a fair bill that does not extend or create any new discriminations," an emotional government lawmaker Warren Entsch, who helped draft the bill, told Parliament. "It is a strong bill that already strikes the right balance between equality and freedom of religion."

Most gay rights advocates believed the government should have allowed marriages years ago and saw various ideas for a public survey as a delaying tactic. The U.N. Human Rights Committee had called the ballot survey "an unnecessary and divisive public opinion poll." The current bill allows churches and religious organizations to boycott gay weddings without violating Australian anti-discrimination laws. Existing civil celebrants can also refuse to officiate at gay weddings, but celebrants registered after gay marriage becomes law would not be exempt from anti-discrimination laws.

One of the rejected amendments would have ensured Australians could speak freely about their traditional views of marriage without fear of legal action. It was proposed by Attorney-General George Brandis and supported by Turnbull, both gay marriage supporters.

Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who was a high-profile advocate of traditional marriage, told Parliament that Turnbull and opposition leader Bill Shorten had failed to deliver detailed protections for freedoms of speech, conscience and religion in the bill. "A promise was made by the leaders of this Parliament and the promise has not adequately been delivered on," Abbott said.

Abbott pointed to an Australian teenager who lost her job for advocating against gay marriage on social media and an Australian Catholic bishop who was taken before a state anti-discrimination tribunal over a pamphlet he published extolling traditional marriage. The complaint against the bishop was dropped. "The last thing we should want to do is to subject Australians to new forms of discrimination in place of old ones that are rightly gone," he said.

Government lawmaker Trevor Evans ruled out an Australian equivalent of the U.S. Supreme Court case in which a baker who refused to provide a wedding cake for a gay couple argued he was exercising artistic freedom and was exempt from Colorado anti-discrimination laws. "Let's be honest here, for a case like that to arise in Australia, it would require a gay couple who care more about activism than about the success of their own wedding, to find a business operator who cares more about religious doctrine than the commercial success of their own small business, and for both of them to commit to having a fight," Evans told Parliament. "Typical Australians would genuinely question the bona fides of the players in a case like that and the slim prospect of that occurring doesn't warrant the pages and pages of commentary and debate that have been dedicated to it," he added.

Several gay marriage opponents in Turnbull's conservative coalition have regarded marriage equality as inevitable and have welcomed an end to an issue that has long divided the government ranks. The result is a political win for Turnbull, who became prime minister after deposing Abbott in 2015 in an internal government leadership ballot. Abbott was head-butted by a gay rights advocate during the postal survey campaign in September. Kevin Rudd, a center-left Labor Party prime minister whom Abbott defeated in elections in 2013, blamed the postal ballot for an assault on his 19-year-old godson as he campaigned for marriage equality a week earlier.

Source: AP

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Cutiepie Snoozikin Scrupelshrumpilstilskin's "major pain in the butt"
Sex. Enjoy it. Talk about it. Share the experience. Learn from others.


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