Foreign Minister Bob Carr said recently that the rising number of Iranian asylum seekers coming to Australia are “economic migrants”. The overall rate of asylum seekers has increased this year and Iranians have become the largest group of people arriving by boat, making up about one third of the total.
A recent ruling by the United States Supreme Court represents a big step forward, while another represents a leap backward. Both passed by a five-to-four vote. First the good news. The Court struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that defined marriage as a right of only heterosexual couples. DOMA was passed by Congress and signed into law by Democratic President Bill Clinton in 1996.
More than 100 people encircled by chalk rainbows greeted the weekly meeting of Newcastle city council on June 25. Chaired by Save Our Figs veteran Debbi Long, the rally heard from Greens councillors Michael Osborne and Therese Doyle; federal Labor candidate Sharon Claydon; Michelle Lancey from support service Parents, Friends and Family of Gays and Lesbians; and Miss La Bang, a flamboyantly dressed bridal drag queen representing the radical rainbow army.
The United States Supreme Court, the nation’s highest judicial body, made two very significant rulings that affect the rights of oppressed peoples across the US on June 26. The Supreme Court voted to strike down the Defence of Marriage Act, which allowed individual states to outlaw equal marriage without any repercussions from the federal government. The court ruled that such a law was unconstitutional, as it repressed the civil rights of a certain section of the population, in this case LGBTI people.
Julia Gillard was greeted by a vibrant protest by students, unionists and Aboriginal activists when she spoke in Fremantle on June 12.
Members of the Shop Distributive and Allied Employees union (SDA) rallied outside its Brisbane offices on May 30. The rally was in response to SDA Brisbane branch secretary Chris Ketter sacking organiser Allan Swetman, the day before Swetman was set to challenge for the secretary position. Swetman had questioned the fact Brisbane SDA organisers had attended lectures held by religious organisations against same-sex marriage and abortion rights, and alleged the union is supporting these lectures.
This is a speech by Peter Boyle, the Socialist Alliance candidate for Sydney, at a rally for equal marriage rights in Sydney on May 25. *** Let me begin by acknowledging that we are gathering here today on stolen Aboriginal land, the land of the Gadigal people that was never ceded but taken by force from its Indigenous owners. We pay our respects to elders and warriors — past and present — who have battled for survival and justice for against tremendous odds.
McDonald's workers and supporters held a picket on May 10 outside the Britomart McDonald's store in Auckland, said activist Socialist Aotearoa activist Nico on a May 12 post at Unite news. Nico said a group of about 30 people created a physical picket line across the two entrances of the store, holding banners and placards reading “25c won't pay the rent” (in reference to the company's pay rise offer), and “McStrike”.
The fight against homophobia is arguably the civil rights issue of our times. It is increasingly unacceptable that, in 2013, society continues to discriminate against people based on their sexuality. This is most obviously demonstrated by the continued refusal to grant equal marriage rights to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LBGTI) people.
Hearing the news made me feel like I'd accidentally walked into a wind tunnel. For as long as I had written about this issue and as many times as I had said in recent years that this will happen in a matter of months if not weeks, it still hit me like a triple shot of espresso cut with a teaspoon of Adderall. Thanks to the courage of 34-year-old NBA veteran Jason Collins, we can no longer repeat endlessly that no active male athlete in North America has ever come out of the closet.
Jailed WikiLeaks whistleblower and US soldier, Bradley Manning, was named on April 25 as the grand marshal in this year’s LGBTI Pride Parade in San Francisco. But, amid controversy and pressure, San Francisco Pride president Lisa Williams issued a statement the next day rescinding the honour. Manning was elected by former grand marshals, who form an electoral college to choose a grand marshal each year. Other grand marshals are appointed by the SF Pride board and by a community vote. Grand marshals are chosen for making significant contributions to the LGBTI community.
As the packed galleries burst into an impassioned version of “Pokarekare Ana” (a well-known traditional Maori love song) in response to the passing of the Marriage Amendment Bill by 77-44 votes on April 17, a crowd of more than 1000 celebrated outside parliament in Wellington. The vote made New Zealand the 13th nation to legalise same-sex marriage. France has since become the 14th.