Archive for Equality

The Weigh In – Perez Bros

Just in time to battle discrimination at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, the Perez Bros present their new short film entitled, The Weigh In (2014).

Inspired by their film production work with Showtime Sports and the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), the Perez Bros have created a film that shatters stereotypes and brings a new meaning to concept of “contact sports.”

The Perez Bros are award-winning directors living and working in the San Francisco Bay Area. They are best known for their work as co-directors on music videos and short narratives. Their films have been featured on ESPN and have played throughout the international festival circuit. Their style has often been described as comedic, surreal, and always creative.

Perez Bros Website: http://www.perezbros.com/

Press Contact: Hart Perez

Email: hartperez@perezbros.com

Why Can’t We Marry – Time to change it NOW!!!!

Australia is meant to be the lucky country, the country of the fair go, says Melton’s Peter Ellis. But somewhere along the line we dropped the ball.

Ellis’s half-Aboriginal family, and friends – both straight and gay – are longing for him and his partner Wayne Elliott (Director of Coming Out Australia) to marry.

Ellis, whose mother is Aboriginal and who works in Aboriginal health, had an Anglican-Wesleyan upbringing. “I certainly have a lot of love for God and a lot of love for my faith and it’s something that I feel I need to express as a Christian – that something I would want to do is marry my partner.

“I was brought up with a Labor Party background. My grandmother was a mayoress of Broadmeadows and my family is very Labor-oriented. We don’t want gay marriage to be the political football it is now because it’s not a Labor or a Liberal or a Greens issue; it’s a social issue that everybody can own.

“I’ve got a wonderful heterosexual family and friends who are married and have kids and they are waiting for us to have that big day … they want to be a part of it.”

Ellis says he wouldn’t jump on a plane to a country like Canada or Argentina where same-sex marriage is legal.

“I don’t live there, I live here,” he says. “I’m a proud Aboriginal person and I want to celebrate my relationship with my loved ones in my own country, not someone else’s country.

“When you think back to the social justice movement for black fellas back in the ’60s and ’70s, then, absolutely, gay people are still experiencing that level of discrimination.

“A lot of the argument against gay marriage is about their religious ideal of what marriage is about … but I know many people who are not necessarily religious people who still get married. Athiests can get married.”

Ellis says a civil union is like “half a marriage, kind of a marriage”, that doesn’t afford equality when it came to decisions about things like medical power of attorney, wills and probate and adoptions laws.

Elliott, whose three children from a previous marriage are also waiting for him to marry, said equality would send the right message to young people who had not come out.

Samasoni Nafatali

Keilor East Airport West Uniting Church’s Reverend Samasoni Nafatali is ready to conduct weddings for people of any sexual orientation or gender identity – as soon as the hierarchy and government say ‘yes’.

The Samoan minister is not preaching to the converted among his flock and reiterates that he can’t speak for the church or congregation but only himself. “It’s an unfortunate situation because the church has come a long way.

“Through these past 2000 years there have been issues the church has been trying to deal with. And the message the church is trying to convey is to help people liberate, help people feel free to live life to the full, and that’s a message Jesus was trying to convey: that people may have life, receive life and live it to the full.”

Nafatali says it wasn’t long ago that blacks, women and children weren’t recognised as having equal rights. “If we come back to the women’s issue,  women have been liberated from the Western point of view. They have the right to live life to the full. I think helping people liberate and be free is part of the gospel.”

Lisa Stingel

Yarraville’s Lisa Stingel met her girlfriend Will Starke as a nurse in Daylesford Hospital when a mutual friend came in as a patient. When Starke came out “many years ago”, society was still arguing about whether a lesbian or gay person could see their partner in hospital.

Stingel eventually asked Starke out to dinner and the rest is history. “When people talk about marriage equality and anything like that, I forget they’re talking about us because our lives are just so normal,” says Stingel.

“I don’t see myself as different to anybody else; the only difference for me is that at the end of the night I go to bed with a woman and not a man.”

The two haven’t talked about whether they will get married, but they want the option. Stingel has two daughters from a previous partnership but never married.

“Not until we got together and I fell in love and not until I felt this is something I’m actually feeling quite passionate about [did I think about marriage] for the first time,” Stingel says. “I want the right to be able to ask Will to marry me and spend the rest of her life with me.” They don’t want the option of a civil union, or what Starke likens to a “skim milk marriage”.    Starke says she would never want someone who didn’t want to marry them to conduct the ceremony – whether a priest or civil celebrant.

Libby Williams

Altona North celebrant Libby Williams believes a marriage should simply be between two people who love each other.

“A marriage is a marriage is a marriage,” laughs Williams, who happens to be bisexual.

She says 65 per cent of marriages are civil functions, not religious ones. “One of the things the government promotes about marriage is facilitating a stable society, you know, historically.

“I think if that’s the essence of a healthy, stable society and [helps] families to grow and so forth, well, I just think, why not? You don’t need to be married, obviously, to live together or have a family, but it’s an opportunity for people, before their family and friends, to declare their love to each other.

“I think, often, gay couples have had a lot of challenges in their lives so they’re even more determined to be together – you know, it might have been harder for them to find the one.”

Rona Goold, head of Australia’s Civil Celebrations Network says: “Let’s give couples the freedom of their preferred style of ceremony and not believe the myth that legal marriage is religious. Even Oliver Cromwell forbade marriage in churches for that reason.

“We don’t need to be so ungenerous of spirit. Fair is fair.”

Images: Michael Copp
Author: Goya Dmytryshchak
Publication: Maribyrnong & Hobsons Bay Weekly
Date: 10 July 2013

It Could Happen To You

It has been said that sharing personal stories is one of the most effective ways to change people’s hearts and minds. This is the story of Shane and Tom and Shane hopes you are inspired to share it with others.

 

Top 100 Marriage Equality Blogs

We received an email from Joseph Atkins, who has compiled a list of 100 Marriage Equality Blogs….

The fight for marriage equality is progressing each day. This week, the Supreme Court is hearing arguments about the constitutionality of two gay marriage laws: the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California’s Proposition 8. The hearings have the potential to help shape gay marriage equality laws for a long time to come. Follow all the news and more about marriage equality with this list of what we consider to be the top 100 blogs on the topic. Please note that these are listed in no particular order.

You can check out list by clicking here…..

Britain passes draft gay marriage legislation

British MPs have voted in favour of legislation allowing gay marriage, despite a split in prime minister David Cameron’s Conservative party.

The draft law, which proposes legalising same-sex marriage in England and Wales in 2014, was carried by 400 votes to 175 votes in the House of Commons.

The legislation is several stages away from becoming law, but has already exposed rifts within Mr Cameron’s party at a time when he is facing growing talk of a possible leadership challenge.

But with the majority of Liberal Democrat and Labour MPs supporting the bill, it passed easily.

The new law would also allow civil partners to convert their partnerships into marriages.

In a late intervention just two hours before lawmakers voted, Mr Cameron made a televised statement to say the move was about “making our society stronger”.

“I think it’s right that gay people should be able to get married too,” he said.

“This is yes about equality, but it’s also about making our society stronger.

“I know there are strong views on both sides of the argument. I respect that. But I think this is an important step forward for our country.”

Gay couples in Britain have had the right to enter into civil partnerships and adopt children since 2005.

The new law does not force the Anglican and Catholic churches – who strongly oppose the move – to conduct gay marriages, but critics say gay people may launch legal challenges.

Behind in the polls, analysts believe Mr Cameron is trying to perform a balancing act to reconcile his desire to show his party is progressive with the views of many of those inside it uncomfortable with such reform.

Amid growing talk of a possible leadership challenge against him, many Conservative MPs say they feel Mr Cameron is not a real Conservative and is sacrificing what were once core party values on the altar of populism.

If the legislation’s passage is just as smooth in the House of Lords, Britain will become the 12th country to legalise same-sex marriage.

Relationships Workshop – Melbourne -VICAIDS

“Where can I find Mr. Right?”

“What is it that I want in a relationship?”

“What is relationship communication?”

These are just some issues that we discuss in Relationships workshop. This is a great workshop for men who want to know more about relationships in a safe, supportive and confidential environment. The workshops runs for 6 weeks and we discuss issues such as personal expectation in relationships, relationship communication, sex and sexual health in relationships, and starting over when a relationship has ended.

Next Workshop – starts on 12 November – 17 December (every Monday night for 6 weeks) from 7 – 10 pm at VAC/GMHC, 6 Claremont St, South Yarra.

For more information contact 9865 6700 or relationships@vicaids.asn.au to register your interest.

A Marriage Equality Vote is Coming, What You Can Do To Help

Australian Marriage Equality are doing a wonderful job with campaigning for marriage equality for the GLBTIQ community.

How you can help marriage equality in Tasmania

Send a message to Premier Lara Giddings thanking her, and Opposition Leader Will Hodgman asking for a Liberal conscience vote

http://www.australianmarriageequality.com/contact-tasmanian-government/

If you live in Tasmania, send a message to your local Upper House member and attend the marriage equality rally on Saturday August 11th at Parliament House

http://tasunited.org/contact-your-mlc/

http://tasunited.org/get-involved/events/

Donate to the special fund that has been established for marriage equality in Tasmania

https://www.gofundraise.com.au/payments/donate/beneficiary/652

Share a new video which explains how and why Tasmania should take the lead on marriage equality

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UAvasBFvIvU&feature=youtu.be

Tasmania’s gay marriage plan hits stumbling block

The leader of Tasmania’s Upper House has refused to speculate on whether the chamber would pass newly proposed laws on gay marriage.

On Saturday Premier Lara Giddings told the State Labor Party conference she would move to legislate marriage equality by the end of the year.

Ms Giddings said she had legal advice that Tasmania could go it alone and she was confident she had the support of all state Labor MPs except Speaker Michael Polley.

It is likely the legislation will pass the Lower House with the help of the Greens but its passage through the Upper House is less certain.

Legislative Council president Sue Smith said while she personally opposed the change she could not speak for fellow members.

“I would never presume to understand how my colleagues will vote,” Ms Smith said.

“They certainly will listen to their electorates, they will do their homework and they will formulate an opinion on the wishes of the electorate and the legislation that’s before them.”

There are also concerns the laws could be challenged in the High Court even if they are passed by Tasmania’s Parliament.

Treasurer Wayne Swan told Channel Ten Labor would continue to pursue a conscience vote in the Federal Parliament, but said he could not say what legal status gay marriages in Tasmania might have.

“We’ll go through our process in the National Parliament and I guess they’ll go through theirs in Tasmania,” he said.

“But we haven’t seen the outcome of that as of yet, so it’s far to early too draw a conclusion on that matter.”

Federal conscience vote

Prime Minister Julia Gillard also said it was too early to make any decision about the issue.

“We do have a bill before the Federal Parliament dealing with same sex marriage,” she said.

“I determined that this should be a conscience vote for the Labor party and people will be free to determine how they vote.

“As for any laws that may be the subject of consideration in Tasmania, we don’t have any details at this stage.”

The Australian Greens have called on the Federal Government to rule out taking court action over Tasmania’s plans.

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said Federal Labor should say what it intends to do.

“I call on Julia Gillard to rule out any legal challenge by the Commonwealth to the passage of legislation being passed in Tasmania,” she said.

Greens leader Christine Milne also pressed the Federal Government for reassurance it would not stand in the way.

“We want to make sure that this goes through, that the enormous benefits that will accrue to the community can come to pass, that we genuinely end discrimination and we want to see the Prime Minister get right behind it,” she said.

“The Greens have been driving this agenda nationally and in Tasmania for a long time. It is so important to get rid of discrimination and it will be great for Tasmania to take a leadership role.”

‘Huge opportunity’

Ms Giddings’ announcement was greeted with thunderous applause by most at the conference and by Rainbow Labor’s Robbie Moore.

“It’s a very proud moment for all of us,” he said.

“It’s been a long time coming and certainly our focus had been on trying to achieve these laws nationally and that’s still the idea but this step of getting rid of this discrimination within Tasmania is a significant step, it’s a huge opportunity for Tasmania.”

Gay rights activist Rodney Croome said he was also proud of the Premier’s decision.

“It will once and for all dispel our lingering reputation for homophobia,” he said.

There are hopes introducing same sex marriage could also bring economic benefits.

The Tasmanian Small Business Council’s Robert Mallet said an influx of same sex couples could be the fillip the Tasmanian tourism industry needs.

“Modelling shows that Tasmania will be in front of the rest of the country by at least $100 million if we are the sole state that recognises same sex marriage,” Mr Mallet said.

‘Out of touch’

The State Opposition’s Peter Gutwein said the prominence of the same-sex issue said a lot about Labor’s priorities.

“What we need to be doing in this state is growing industry not shutting it down as Labor and the Greens are doing at the moment,” he said.

“For this to be the number one issue to come out of the Labor party conference just demonstrates how out of touch they are with ordinary Tasmanians.”

Federal Labor Senator Helen Polley, who is Michael Polley’s sister, said her constituents were opposed to same sex marriage and she was too.

“I know that the groups and the people that email and telephone my office and make contact with me on a regular basis will be mounting a campaigning to stop any such legislation,” she said.

“I don’t think that we need to change the fundamental structure of the Australian community.”

Watch Sparks – A great online mini series

I have been following a great online mini series called “Watch Sparks”. Thanks to Adrian for sharing it!!!!! Have a read below, then watch it!!!!!

About

Sparks is a comedy for marriage equality. It’s a hilarious mockumentary starring Anthony Gooley, Tom Ballard, Briallen Clarke and Brendan Maclean born from the minds of Warren Clarke and Kyran Wheatley during a walk along Coogee Beach.

Brendan said, “There are a lot of independent projects out there but Sparks was the first one that felt like it had a purpose. Sharp script writing, relevant to everything I believe in – but really it was because it made me laugh right from the first script read. It’s powerful but not preachy, hilarious but with heart.”

It’s about an issue that we need to get sorted, the rights of everyone to marry who they love. With two bills before parliament right now, we need to do everything we can to encourage our politicians to see that it is time to end discrimination.

Co-Creator Kyran Wheatley said, “Love is love. That’s all there is to it. Doesn’t matter if you’re gay or straight or whatever, there shouldn’t be two tiers of spending the rest of your life with someone.”

It is time for all Australians to be afforded the same rights.

It is time to end marriage discrimination in Australia.

Love is Love.

Backstory to Sparks

In 2011 a documentary series was commissioned to investigate the people behind Australia’s small businesses.

The series sought to identify what drives small business owners to risk everything and strive for success, when often faced with financial and personal ruin.

While shooting the series the crew discovered Gerald Sparks, the owner and operator of Sparks Wedding Services a struggling wedding planning business. Gerald proved to be a simplistic character who could be defined by one word; love.

Gerald’s love and passion for his business is unparalleled and he has dedicated his life to the institution of marriage.

Unfortunately, Gerald operates a long way from the world of ideal fairytale weddings and his client-base is filled with the desperate and morally questionable couples who use marriage rather than celebrate it.

www.watchsparks.com.au

Welcome to Diverse and Deadly

VACCHO have launched their “Diverse and Deadly” website:

www.diverseanddeadly.com.au

It celebrates the contribution and diversity of Victoria’s GLBTIQ community! Watch the short video on the homepage and you’ll see Aboriginal GLBTIQ culture is very much alive and well! (If anything, just check out Aunty Rieo dancing to “Single Ladies”