Government homophobia condemned

February 9, 2007

The action was in response to threats by federal Attorney-General Philip Ruddock to have the governor-general disallow proposed ACT legislation on same-sex civil unions. In June 2006, the federal government disallowed an ACT bill on civil unions because it could have "undermined" the "institution of marriage".

A February 7 Canberra Times article reported that ACT Attorney-General Simon Corbell had condemned Ruddock for "refusing to discuss the bill with [Corbell] before making his 'high-handed and arrogant' decision". The Times reported that the bill "aimed to allow same-sex couples to register their relationships and be granted certain rights under territory law immediately, without having to wait years to claim them."

Protesters were also angered by government plans to ban same-sex couples from adopting children overseas. The February 3 Melbourne Age reported that the government plans to "amend the Family Law Act 1975 to indicate that adoptions by same-sex couples of children from overseas under either bilateral or multilateral arrangements will not be recognised in Australia."

Simon Biber, co-convener of Sydney activist group Community Action Against Homophobia (CAAH), said that "far from preventing the undermining of the institution of marriage, the federal government's actions [will] instead, ironically, undermine the progress of the institution of democracy in Australia, which should foster inclusion and diversity rather than ... marginalisation".

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