Marriage 'next step' for equality as Boswell unmoved
Ahead of tomorrow’s vote in the federal Senate on a marriage equality bill, the Australian Human Rights Commission (HRC) has today released a position paper outlining its support for same-sex marriage as the “next step” towards achieving full equality for LGBTI people.
The release of the paper comes as Nationals Senator Ron Boswell remained unrepentant over remarks inside the Upper House yesterday during debate on the bill where he suggested gay parents were “defying nature”.
HRC president, Professor Gillian Triggs, said the commission believed the fundamental human rights principle of equality meant that civil marriage should be available, without discrimination, to all couples, regardless of sex, sexual orientation or gender identity.
“As long as inequalities remain in our laws, we increase the potential for discrimination and prejudice to damage the lives of Australians,” she said.
“Allowing people the choice to marry, regardless of their sexual orientation, sex and or gender identity, would be an important step on the path to full equality for people in same-sex relationships.”
Triggs said while the federal Parliament’s 2008 amendments to Commonwealth legislation removed discrimination against same sex couples and their children in relation to financial and work-related entitlements and benefits, equality was still not a reality for many Australians.
“These 2008 reforms were a significant step towards equality for people in same-sex relationships but the Marriage Act continues to discriminate against same-sex couples by explicitly excluding them from the opportunity to have their relationship formally recognised under federal law,” she said.
Meanwhile, Boswell has refused to back down from his comments yesterday despite Labor Senator Doug Cameron criticising the Nationals senator for his “dinosaur views”.
Boswell had suggested during the debate that “two mothers or two fathers can’t raise a child properly”.
“Who takes the boy to football?” he said. “Who tells him what's right from wrong? What does he do? Go along with mum, or two mums? How does he go camping or fishing? It won’t work, it’s defying nature!”
Cameron said Boswell’s views sounded more appropriate in the dark annals of history.
“Some of these people need to be brought into the 21st century,” he told reporters.
“These dinosaur views about gays have no place in modern political discourse.”
Boswell though remained unmoved.
“Gay marriage does undermine, I believe, the society that we live in,” the 71-year-old Senator told reporters.
A vote on the bill introduced by Labor Senators Louise Pratt, Trish Crossin, Carol Brown and Gavin Marshall is likely to be held on Wednesday. It is expected the vote will be narrowly lost.
The Australian Human Rights Commission’s position paper on marriage equality is available at: www.humanrights.gov.au/human_rights/marriage_equality/index.html