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December 27, 2013

2013 saw many gains and set backs in the fight for LGBTI rights in Australia - GSN looks back on a year of struggle in the Great Southern Land

2013 was a tumultuous year for LGBTI rights in Australia, with significant victories on the road to reform but also significant short term obstacles put in its way.

The LGBTI community started 2013 on a bit of a high with the 2012 national conference of the then ruling Australian Labor Party adopting same-sex marriage as part of its party platform in December of 2012 – though the party stopped short of binding MPs to vote for the reform.

December 11, 2013

A group of Australian senators from the Liberal, Greens and Labor parties have formed a cross-party working group to work towards the legalization of same-sex marriage in Australia

Senators from the three largest political factions in the Australian Parliament have today announced the formation of a cross-party working group to push for the legalization of same-sex marriage in Australia.

At around 10.30am this morning the Greens' Senator Sarah Hason-Young, Liberal Senator Sue Boyce, and Labor Senator Louise Pratt signed a pledge of co-operation that will form the basis for the working group.

December 7, 2013

West Australian state Labor MP Stephen Dawson and partner Dennis Liddleton have become the first gay couple to be legally married on Australian soil, marrying at 12.01 this morning as the Australian Capital Territory’s law came into effect

The first same-sex couples have been legally married in Australia after the Australian Capital Territory’s (ACT) same-sex marriage law came into effect just after midnight last night.

West Australian state Labor MP Stephen Dawson and partner Dennis Liddleton became the first male same-sex couple to be legally married on Australian soil, marrying on the forecourt of the Australian Parliament at 12.01am this morning.

Following his wedding Dawson said he was ‘jubilant’ at being able to call Liddleton his husband.

November 4, 2013

Australia’s Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said he believes Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s party room will allow a conscience vote on whether same-sex couples should be allowed to marry

Malcolm Turnbull - Australia’s Communication Minister and leader of the Liberal Party while in Opposition from 2008 to 2009 - has said he believes his party room will allow a conscience vote on same-sex marriage.

However he told Network Ten TV that he does not know whether there are the numbers in the parliament for a bill to pass.

However the MP for what is considered Australia’s gayest electorate said he did not know whether there were enough supporters in the Australian Parliament for a bill to pass.

October 28, 2013

An Australian inquiry into the sterilization of intersex people in infancy to make them conform to the gender binary has recommended that such efforts be delayed until they are of an age to give informed consent

An Australian Parliament committee has recommended that intersex people not be forced into being surgically assigned a gender and that they should be left to make any decision about that until they are old enough to give informed consent.

Intersex people are those who are born with variations in physical sex characteristics, such as anatomy or chromosomes and traditionally most were surgically assigned a gender in infancy before they could consent or express a sex preference.

October 22, 2013

A national day of action has been organized for 23 November to defend the newly passed same-sex marriage law in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) from the Australian Government

A national day of protest has been called by LGBT rights group Community Action Against Homophobia (CAAH) for 23 November to defend the ACT Government's passing of same-sex marriage from a court challenge by the Australian Government.

The ACT Government’s law allows any couple who are not allowed to marry under the federal Marriage Act to marry in the ACT.

October 2, 2013

Australian Workers Union boss Paul Howes told GSN he believes his party must vote as one to preserve the legislative independence of the Australian Capital Territory as it moves to become the first Australian jurisdiction to allow same-sex couples to wed

Australian Workers Union national secretary Paul Howes, a key power broker in the right wing of the Australian Labor Party, has told GSN that it is vital that his party defend the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) from any attempt by the Australian Government to interfere with it’s ability to pass its own laws.

‘Labor has always been the party that has supported self government in the territories,’ Howes said, taking a question from GSN.

September 9, 2013

There will be more supporters of marriage equality in the next Australian Parliament despite a win by marriage equality opponent and Catholic conservative Tony Abbott
 

As the results of Australia’s preferential system of voting continue to be calculated it appears that there will be more votes in the new Australian Parliament for same-sex marriage than ever before.

Australian election rules allow people to mark candidates in their preferred order to win so that if a person’s most preferred candidate does not get enough votes to win office, their vote then flows to the next preferred candidate and so on.

August 2, 2013

New LGBT and intersex anti-discrimination protections passed by the Australian Parliament earlier this year have come into effect, starting August 1

New LGBT and intersex anti-discrimination protections passed by the Australian Parliament in June have come into effect, starting August 1.

Australian Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus announced yesterday that new laws to provide protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity or intersex status had come into effect.

July 29, 2013

A report by a New South Wales state parliamentary committee that found that Australian states can make laws in regard to same-sex marriage may lead to same-sex couples being able to wed in South Australia and in the nation’s capital of Canberra

South Australia may vote again on same-sex marriage, but this time it is likely Opposition MPs will be given a conscience vote on the issue – meaning the bill may pass.

June 20, 2013

Senator Sue Boyce crossed the floor to show support for same-sex marriage in Australia, despite her party saying all Liberal senators must vote against it

Liberal Senator Sue Boyce defied her party's line on same-sex marriage and crossed the floor of the Australian parliament's upper house to vote for a bill giving legal recognition to same-sex marriages performed overseas.

The Bill, sponsored by Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, was defeated earlier today by 45 votes against to 28 votes for.

May 4, 2013

Australian equal marriage activists say that if Australian Opposition leader Tony Abbott is so sure few of his MPs will vote for marriage equality then why not let them

Australian Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has ruled out a free vote in the Australian Parliament on same-sex marriage before 2016 if he is elected Prime Minister and says that so few of his MPs would vote for it that it would not pass now.

'I don't think anyone should expect that this is necessarily going to come up in the next parliament,' Abbott told Fairfax newspapers.

December 21, 2012

Marriage equality advocates in Australia are encouraging people to talk about the importance of marriage equality when they spend time with their family these holidays

High profile Australian supporters of marriage equality have joined forces to encourage people to talk about the importance of letting gays and lesbians marry when they spend time with family this holiday season.

A new online video campaign by advocacy group Australian Marriage Equality (AME) features Tasmanian Premier Lara Giddings, Labor Senator Louise Pratt, Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, former Australian Medical Association head Professor Kerryn Phelps, independent Sydney MP Alex Greenwich and NSW Greens Legislative Council member Cate Faehrmann.

December 20, 2012

South Australian MP Ian Hunter has become the first Australian politician to enter into a same-sex marriage while in office

South Australian state MP Ian Hunter has married his long time partner Leith Semmens, in the process becoming the first Australian politician to enter into a same-sex marriage while in office.

The couple travelled out of Australia, which still bans same-sex nuptials, to the Spanish city of Granada for their ceremony, which was presided over by the mayor of the municipality of Jun, Jose Antonio Rodriguez Salas.

17 friends and relatives travelled to Spain for the ceremony, which the couple told AFP was not in anyway a political stunt.

December 6, 2012

South Australian politician Ian Hunter will marry partner of 20 years in Spain despite the union not being recognized in his own country

A gay South Australian member of parliament will tie the knot with his boyfriend in Spain because his country does not yet recognize same-sex marriage.

Politician Ian Hunter and artist Leith Semmens will walk down the aisle in the Spanish town of Jun on 19 December.

The couple moved the date forward from January after the Australian Parliament rejected a proposal to legalize gay marriage.

October 11, 2012

A motion to stop Australian federal government from challenging states’ same-sex marriage laws fails

A parliamentary motion to stop the federal government from challenging state same-sex marriage laws has failed in the Australian parliament.

Marriage equality proponent Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young brought the motion to the Senate today but it was defeated by 38 votes to 10.

September 24, 2012

Anti-gay marriage group is using legal advice to claim a Tasmanian law would be unconstitutional

An Australian Christian group has been circulating a legal opinion amongst members of the Tasmanian Upper House that claims state legislation creating same-sex marriages would be unconstitutional ahead of a vote on the issue on Wednesday, but a leading Australian constitutional law expert says the issue is anything but settled.

September 10, 2012

Debate in Australian parliament indicates there is not enough support to pass same-sex marriage bill

A two-hour debate over a same-sex marriage bill in the Australian parliament today indicated that there is not enough support to change the law.

MPs from across the political spectrum expressed doubt over the passing of the bill, despite many saying that they support it.

Liberal frontbencher Malcolm Turnbull said he would vote for legalizing gay marriage if he was allowed to vote freely on the issue, but leader of the opposition Tony Abbott has said all Liberal-National coalition MPs must vote against the bill.

August 23, 2012

Another Australian jurisdiction has announced it will legalize same-sex marriage if the  government refuses to act

Another Australian jurisdiction has announced it will legalize same-sex marriage, while at a federal level, Australian Government senators have introduced their own private members bill to legalize same sex marriage.

The Australian Capital Territory (ACT), which houses the Australian capital of Canberra, today announced it would legalize same-sex marriage at a territory level, joining the states of South Australia and Tasmania who have also pledged to do so.

April 13, 2012

Christian likens gay marriage to incest at senate inquiry despite historic support for reform

A senate inquiry into legalizing gay marriage in Australia has revealed 'unprecedented' support for reform.

Figures released today (13 April) by the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee show that almost 60% of Australians are in favor of allowing same-sex couples to marry, with 44,000 out of 75,000 submissions in favor.

April 3, 2012

Advocates say at least 45,000 submissions in favour of same-sex marriage were submitted to senate inquiry

A same-sex marriage bill that is currently the subject of a senate inquiry in the Australian parliament has become ‘the most strongly supported Bill in the nation's history’ according to advocates.

Campaign group Australian Marriage Equality (AME) say that at least 45,000 submissions in favour of same-sex marriage were sent to the senate inquiry into the issue, four times more than the overall number of submissions received by the next largest inquiry into the Northern Territory Euthanasia Bill in 1997.

January 30, 2012

Parents ask that their gay children are allowed the right to marry in new TV ad

A TV advert aired across Australia from today features real parents of gay people asking that their gay sons and lesbian daughters be given the right to marry.

January 24, 2012

Senator Hanson-Young announces she will bring marriage bill to senate committee

Australian Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young announced today that she will bring a marriage equality amendment bill to the senate's legal and constitutional affairs committee when the Australian parliament reconvenes on 7 February.