The ‘Vote No’ campaign launched in Sydney last Sunday and in response the National Mental Health Commission issued a statement warning the debate had heightened discrimination against LGBT people, making them especially vulnerable. They’re right. ReachOut, a national mental health service has experienced a twenty per cent spike in online traffic. That’s around 17,000 extra requests for help. CEO Jono Nicholas told Fairfax Media people are requesting help because they’re anxious about what the postal survey results will mean.
Federal laws prohibit discrimination based on disability, race, color, descent or national or ethnic origin, marital status, age, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, political opinion, family or caregiver responsibilities, pregnancy, and intersex status. An independent judiciary and a network of federal, state, and territorial equal opportunity offices... Expand
Federal laws prohibit discrimination based on disability, race, color, descent or national or ethnic origin, marital status, age, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, political opinion, family or caregiver responsibilities, pregnancy, and intersex status. An independent judiciary and a network of federal, state, and territorial equal opportunity offices effectively enforced anti-discrimination laws.
There are no laws criminalizing consensual same-sex sexual conduct between adults. Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity is prohibited by law in a wide range of areas, including in employment, housing, family law, taxes, child support, immigration, pensions, care of elderly persons, and social security.
The HRC received 16 complaints of discrimination based on sexual orientation from July 2012 through June 2013. Information on resolution of the complaints was not available.
The law provides protections against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, and intersex status.
Source: U.S. Department of State's  Human Rights ReportContract
Far right political group The Party for Freedom have announced they will be holding a ‘Straight Lives Matter’ rally to oppose the push for marriage equality in Australia. The group say they will be marching for “white heteronormativity.” The rally is proposed to take place in the Sydney suburb of Darlinghurst, at the heart of Sydney’s LGBTI community. The rally will take place near a monument to LGBT people who were murdered in the holocaust. The party has been distributing poster, identical to the ones seen in Melbourne a few weeks ago that equate same-sex marriage with child abuse.
“I’m 50-50, sitting on the fence – on barbed wire, you might say.” The undecided man in his 70s, poring over betting slips with his wife at the local club in the Queensland town of Warwick, says he is not much bothered by same-sex marriage, since it doesn’t affect him. “You’re going to have to make up your mind,” his wife reminds him sharply. The nationwide postal survey forms that could decide whether the Australian parliament legalises same-sex marriage are already in the mail, and she declares her vote will be a resounding “no”, adding: “The Bible says it’s wrong and that’s all there is to it.”
A free legal service for Canberra LGBT employees who experience harassment at work during the same-sex marriage postal survey has confirmed it has already received numerous requests for help. Slater and Gordon, the law firm running the service, confirmed several people have come forward for help since the service began on September 1. "We have received a number of referrals and requests for assistance, the details of which are confidential," the firm's senior lawyer Martin Carrick said.
The National Mental Health Commission issued a warning on Monday about the negative effects the intense dialogue surrounding same-sex marriage could have on LGBT+ people, but not everyone is convinced. Former resources minister Matt Canavan told Sky News that the debate “hasn’t been that bad”, despite anti-gay propaganda being circulated around the country and “scaremongering” adverts airing on TV. “Can’t we just all grow a spine and grow up?” he said. “I mean, the debate hasn’t been that bad.
The Australian government will let people “have their say” on same-sex marriage. The Australian High Court ruled Thursday that the government’s postal plebiscite can proceed, so next week ballots will arrive by mail, asking voters: “Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?” This non-binding vote has been criticized for being a “glorified opinion poll” and a symptom of the country’s parochial and paralyzing politics. Since the elected parliament could simply pass a marriage equality bill, the plebiscite seems little more than a costly and unwieldy bit of political pageantry.
Rama Ramanuja Achari, head of the Australian Council of Hindu clergy, recently wrote a blog supporting same-sex unions. His argument: Same-sex attraction is not a personal choice like "Should I have dal makhani or dal fry?"— It is an orientation with which one is born. In the Western context one is said to be "genetically predisposed towards same-sex attraction"; in a Hindu context it is a samskara inherited from one's previous birth, said the Sydney-based priest. Clearly, Hindu religion in foreign climes is adapting to changing times, even as India itself appears to be frozen in 1860, clinging to the archaic section 377 of Indian Penal Code that rules sex between homosexuals illegal and against the order of nature.
With Australia set for a postal vote over the legalisation of gay marriage, a crowd of an estimated 30,000 people rallied at Sydney town hall before marching to Circular Quay in support of the ‘yes’ campaign. The rally began at Sydney town hall at 1pm, with crowds going around the block. Addressing the crowd, the Labor leader, Bill Shorten, said: ‘I’m sorry for all of the hurtful and stupid things which have been said and are going to be said until we win marriage equality ... I’m sorry to all LBGTIQ Australians because we have one more mountain to climb but we will climb it together.’
Australia's High Court has ruled that a national postal vote on same-sex marriage will go ahead, after a challenge by marriage equality advocates failed. Same-sex marriage advocates had taken the government to court over the postal vote which they argued was both unnecessary and an illegal use of public funds. But in decision Thursday, the High Court ruled the national survey could go ahead.
How should a country decide the issue of same-sex marriage? Most hold a referendum (Ireland, for example) or they leave it to a vote of their elected leaders (such as Germany). In Australia, though, we’ve developed our own peculiar process. We’re going for a nonbinding, non-compulsory postal vote, which — for legal reasons — has to be dressed up as a survey. People are now busy campaigning on both sides, with television commercials and heated arguments. The voting forms — sorry, survey inquiries — are due to arrive in our mailboxes in a couple of weeks.
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