Stand up for your love rights!

February 9, 2007

On February 3, the Melbourne Age reported that the Howard government plans to introduce the Family Law (Same Sex Adoption) Bill 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".

A few days later, further attacks on same-sex civil liberties were announced when attorney-general Philip Ruddock said the ACT Civil Partnership Bill, yet to be debated in the ACT Legislative Assembly, was "likely to undermine the institution of marriage" and he would therefore advise the governor-general to disallow it. The bill follows an earlier attempt to accord legal recognition to same-sex relationships in the ACT — the Civil Unions Act — which was disallowed last year.

The Socialist Alliance demands full social and legal recognition of same-sex relationships. This would include extending to same-sex relationships equal status with heterosexual de facto couples in superannuation, immigration, taxation, family law, industrial relations and any other laws and regulations. We also demand the right of gays and lesbians to choose to marry if they so wish; and we call on the government to provide independent incomes [such as Newstart Allowance and pensions] for all regardless of their relationship status, to end state-enforced economic dependency.

The Socialist Alliance also demands the right of gay men and lesbians to adopt or foster children and calls for an end to discrimination against gay men and lesbians in child custody cases.

The Coalition is on a war footing in the lead-up to the federal election, wooing the far-right at the expense of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex rights. Howard is trying to distract working people from unpopular war policies, the Work Choices legislation, the detention of David Hicks and climate change.

We will not allow our civil liberties to be used as a political football — queers and their supporters are taking action! Socialist Alliance offers all our support to help these actions.

To join the Socialist Alliance's "Stand up for your love rights" float in the Sydney Mardi Gras, phone 0435 038 183.

[Rachel Evans was the 2006 National Union of Students female queer officer and has been active in Community Action Against Homophobia for three years. She is part of the Socialist Alliance's Legislative Council team in the upcoming NSW State elections.]

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