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December 2007

The headline suffix indicates Country or region and State

  Ireland Rejects Gay Marriage IE 13 DEC

Same-sex Row to Pit Government Against ACT AU 06 DEC

Brumby Silent on View of Gay Marriage AU (VIC) 06 DEC


Ireland Rejects Gay Marriage

IRELAND - A referendum to allow gay marriage in Ireland has been rejected by the Minister for Justice, reports MCV.

Labour Minister Brian Leniham addressed an annual meeting of the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN), and told the group that civil partnerships would be easier to achieve, because gay marriage would require a constitutional change that would split the country.

In his response to the Minister, GLEN Spokesperson Kieran Rose said, "The State pledges itself to guard with special care the institution of marriage, on which the family is founded, and to protect it against attack; it does not give any definition of marriage itself and thus does not outlaw gay marriage."

(MCV No. 362, 13 December 2007, page 06

Same-sex Row to Pit Government Against ACT
The Age

AUSTRALIA, Canberra - The Rudd Government is on a collision course with the ACT Government over the territory's plan to allow civil unions between same-sex couples, reports The Age.

The Age believes Attorney-General Robert McClelland wants the states and territories to introduce relationship registers - similar to those operating in Tasmania and slated for Victoria - rather than allowing for civil unions. Christian groups oppose civil unions because they believe they are too similar to marriage. Before the election, these groups got a promise from the Labor Party to oppose civil unions.

But the ACT Government says relationship registers, which give legal recognition to same-sex, de facto and dependent relationships, do not go far enough.

"We have consistently said that relationship registers are not our preferred model," ACT Attorney-General Simon Corbell told The Age.

"I don't believe (a register) is an appropriate mechanism. It hasn't been widely used where it has been implemented. In Tasmania, there hasn't been a large number of registrations ... and I think the reason is that it doesn't provide the level of recognition of relationship that's important to same-sex couples."

But Mr McClelland told ABC radio yesterday that he favoured "a nationally consistent method of registration that the state and territories may adopt", pointing out that some states already had relationship registers. And - in comments that suggest the ACT will find it hard to get federal support for civil unions - Mr McClelland said it would be "unseemly" if a tourism industry sprang up to take advantage of certain states having more attractive arrangements for same-sex couples.

Mr Corbell would not say whether the ACT would press ahead with its civil partnerships bill if it became clear the Federal Government would block it.

Still, the ACT had been granted self-government and the power to legislate in matters such as same-sex partnerships, so it would "not be appropriate for the Federal Government to intervene", he said.

The ACT has twice tried to introduce legislation allowing for civil unions.

Yesterday, the powerful Australian Christian Lobby warned "federal Labor would ... not want to be seen to break an article of faith with the Christian constituency so soon after winning office".

The Lobby's managing director, Jim Wallace, accused ACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope of leading the way "in breaking down the meaning of family in Australia" by allowing adoption by same-sex couples. Now Mr Stanhope was trying to "undermine the special status of marriage in society as being between a man and a woman", he said.

(The Age 06 December 2007, page 11 - Annabel Stafford

Brumby Silent on View of Gay Marriage
The Age

AUSTRALIA, Victoria - Premier John Brumby has refused to say whether he supports same-sex marriages, reports The Age.

Gay and de facto couples will be able to register their relationships with a government registry under a bill introduced into State Parliament this week.

But yesterday the Premier repeatedly refused to answer questions about his own stance on gay marriage.

"We (the Government) have moved to put in place the relationship register, and the relationship register ensures that you can register that relationship and I think that's an appropriate step, and that's as far as we are going at this time," he said.

[Ed: The legislation will be debated when Parliament resumes in February.]

(The Age 18 November 2007, page 14 - David Rood