Australian former judge says he is a ‘second-class citizen’ because he cannot marry

Retired High Court of Australia judge is questioned by senate inquiry into legalising same-sex marriage

Australian former judge says he is a ‘second-class citizen’ because he cannot marry
03 May 2012

Retired judge Michael Kirby reached the pinnacle of his profession and served on the High Court of Australia for 13 years, but despite this he said today that he is a ‘second-class citizen’ because he can’t marry his partner of 43 years.

Kirby, 73, while being questioned by the senate inquiry into legalising same-sex marriage said: ‘I rose to be one of the significant judicial citizens of this country, but I was always a second-class citizen. I am still a second-class citizen’ reported  Sydney Morning Herald.

‘A loving relationship of tenderness, of gentleness and affection, and fidelity and support is a beautiful thing and anyone who would disrespect it is not a kind person,’ said Kirby of his relationship with Dutch emigre Johan van Vloten, who has lived with Kirby since 1969.

‘I have never had a satisfactory explanation to me of how my loving relationship with my partner in any way damaged the institution of marriage or would if marriage were available to us,’ continued Kirby in response to an argument often made by various representatives of Christianity in Australia.

Former premier of New South Wales and current Labor MP Kristina Keneally also appeared before the senate committee into legal affairs today.

Keneally spoke about how her Catholic faith informed her support for same-sex marriage. ‘Catholics have a responsibility to form their conscience,’ she said. ‘A Catholic who has formed their conscience cannot be compelled to act contrary to it.’

The senate legal affairs committee will hear from individuals, religious groups, lawyers and gay and lesbian groups today and tomorrow in Sydney and Melbourne. They are expected to announce their recommendations on 6 June.



No thumbnail available

Samoan fa'afaine don't want gay marriage

Fa'afaine, a third gender culture unique to Samoa, say they don't want gay marriage despite former colonial rulers New Zealand legalizing it
No thumbnail available

Luxembourg's gay PM marries his partner

Xavier Bettel is only the second worldwide leader to marry someone of the same sex
No thumbnail available

How Courtney Act convinced me to join the GlamCocks

Have you met the GlamCocks? Australian bombshell Courtney Act introduces us to the gay family that takes on Burning Man every year
No thumbnail available

Lesbian kiss at Olympic opening ceremony sparks praise, fury

First ever gay kiss is shown in Saudi Arabia, as well as some of the most homophobic countries in the world
No thumbnail available

Illinois Unites for Marriage launches $2 million campaign to get gay marriage approved

House of Representatives failed to vote on bill in May for marriage equality
No thumbnail available

MPs having gay affairs plan to vote against marriage equality

Gay political pundit Iain Dale has said there are married MPs having gay affairs who plan to vote same-sex marriage
No thumbnail available

Canadian man finally gets apology for anti-gay slur in his 1970 high school yearbook

Robin Tomlin, who is battling liver disease, calls it a 'happy day'
No thumbnail available

Political Animals TV series features gay son of former US President

In preview clip, he arranges anonymous hookups online
No thumbnail available

UKIP members’ extreme anti-gay views exposed

UK Independence Party members have used forum to express views like gay people are pedophiles and black people are schizophrenics
No thumbnail available