it continues to bother me that i couldn’t articulate a response to my Paternal Parental Unit’s civil unions rejoinder a few weeks ago. i hate when i can’t present a cogent argument. shits me to tears, actually.
i wandered over to the most excellent website Australian Marriage Equality for a little help.
learned some things immediately. for a start, civil unions only exist in the ACT, tasmania, and victoria, and only to residents of those states.
AME has this to say:
The provision of civil unions, whilst ensuring couples have access to most relationship entitlements, should not be confused with equality.
A number of courts around the world have ruled that schemes separate from marriage cannot be equal to marriage. Most recently, the California Supreme Court ruled on 15 May 2008 that giving the unions of same-sex couples a name that was separate and distinct from marriage reduced gays to “second-class citizens”.
Australian Marriage Equality supports Australia’s state-based civil union schemes as a method of extending relationship entitlements to couples who cannot or choose not to marry. However we reject the notion that a national civil union scheme instead of civil marriage can deliver equality.
the site also provides a couple of articles that i’ve found very helpful. the first – Same-Sex Marriage and Equality by Wilkinson and Kitzinger – offers up the following points:
Such rights – along with a string of others, such as the right to adopt as a couple, to vote by proxy, automatically to receive a pension and other income related benefits, to register a spouse’s death, to be exempt from inheritance tax – are taken for granted by heterosexuals who have exercised their right to marry. Previously, some of these rights could be assembled piecemeal; increasingly some or all of them can be acquired (in some countries) with ‘civil partnerships’ or ‘civil unions’. With the advent of marriage for same-sex couples, they are acquired wholesale, and automatically, as part of the legal contract, just as they are by heterosexual couples.
Civil partnerships, or variants thereof, differ from legal marriage in most countries in that they offer far fewer legal benefits. For example, the systems in Vermont and California do not, and cannot, cover federal rights such as the ability for a non-US spouse to become a full US citizen, federal taxes, and the more than one thousand laws triggered by legal marriage.
that point is particularly relevant for me, because my romantic attachment happens to be of the American variety.
Marriage is universally understood to be the fundamental social institution for recognition of the couple relationship; and civil partnerships are generally seen as something ‘less than’ marriage. Indeed, this is precisely why they are sometimes favoured by those who oppose samesex marriage. Historically, exclusion from marriage – on grounds of the partners’ gender, sexual orientation, ‘race’, ethnicity or religion – has always been used as a tool of oppression.
like the nazis banning marriages with jews. or the inter-racial marriage bans in the US. small, minor oppressions like that.
and, quoting Canada’s Justice Laforme:
Any ‘alternative’ status that nonetheless provides for the same financial benefits as marriage in and of itself amounts to segregation. This case is about access to a deeply meaningful social institution – it is about equal participation in the activity, expression, security and integrity of marriage. Any ‘alternative’ to marriage, in my opinion, simply offers the insult of formal equivalency without the promise of substantive equality.
The introduction of civil partnerships constructs a two-tier system of state recognition of relationships that concedes to same-sex couples virtually all of the rights, benefits and responsibilities of marriage, withholding only the symbolically charged name of ‘marriage’. By continuing to exclude same-sex couples from marriage – the fundamental institution for recognition of the couple relationship – the new
civil partnerships send the inescapable message that lesbians and gay men are second-class citizens. Separate is still not equal.
the second article is longer and more detailed and more Australian focused, and therefore, well worth reading in full. it is called ‘A failed experiment’: Why civil unions are no substitute for marriage equality and is available here.
basically the article presents 11 points:
so. i feel much better now. better armed. look at that. knowledge really is power.
holy shit! wonders will never cease. apparently there IS life outside the US of A. who knew?
the place was the daily beast. the subject matter was last week’s Future in Review conference in san diego. it was australia’s proposed national broadband network that attracted the attention:
National Broadband in Oz: The “tyranny of distance” has long been a complaint of our best allies in the Southern Hemisphere. But the new government in Australia has announced a $43 billion investment initiative that will bring high-speed broadband Internet to 90 percent of all homes, schools, and workplaces. With speeds up to 100 megabits per second, that’s 100 times faster than current average speeds, and it will catapult Australia into the forefront of the Internet age, with enough speed and bandwidth to run an international business out of every Aussie home. The immediate sell is job creation coincident with the national instillation, but the real long-term economic benefits are just being seeded. And compared to the more scattershot, less long-term infrastructure-driven investments in our $787 billion stimulus package, the Aussie bet is the one that really reflects the audacity of hope.
mmmmm pretty words. but aussies know to be a little more cynical of our political process than that. that $43 billion is gonna come out of our hides, and it’s going to take five years for this to even touch the farce that is australia’s current broadband facilities, which are, in a word, crap, except for the highest of high end users.
still, kudos to the daily beast for looking beyond their own shores for some news.
To refrain from evil and from strong drink and to be always, steadfast in virtue; this is the good luck.
hmmm. good-looking film, this. gorgeous cast – scar-jo, penn cruz, and jarvier bardem; gorgeous location – barcelona; and a director – woody allen, who knows how to make the most of both.
vicki’s a solid, dependable woman, engaged to a solid, dependable man. her best friend christina is flighty, romantic, searching for herself. they go to barcelona for the summer, as you do, and meet an artist, juan antonio, who wanders over to them in a restaurant and invites them for a weekend of sex and sightseeing, as you do.
naturally, vicki says no, christina says yes, but it’s vicky who ends up sleeping with him first.
then the crazy ex-wife (cruz) shows up, tries to kill herself, moves in with juan antonio and christina. a perfect menage a trois ensues. of course.
and then, two minutes after telling vicky how happy she is with the situation, christina decides she isn’t. she leaves the artist and the ex-wife to go find herself. again. and it all goes to shit, because, naturally, christina has provided the balance the two exes need to keep their relationship together.
drivel really. but very good-looking drivel.
and it goes nowhere. poor old vicky goes off to her boring married little life despite loving juan antonio and being shot by maria-elena, and christina wanders off as vague and clueless as she was before.
you can’t help feeling that woody allen is just mucking about making his fantasies come true in pretty pictures, because he can. who wouldn’t want to see scar-jo, cruz and bardem in a bed together?
woody’s a tool, let’s face it. you only look at his personal history to know that. but he does make a pretty picture. just don’t expect anything deep anymore from the guy who can’t afford to look too deeply at his own life.
in a word: DECORATION.
this film was called nothing is private in the US, which just goes to show that the pc police are completely missing the point.
anyway. basically this is the story of a 13-year-old half-lebanese girl who goes to live with her racist father. she’s battling on two fronts – discovering her sexuality, and discovering that she’s being racially abused.
Summer Bishil plays the girl, and was 19 or 20 when it was filmed. which is just as well, because the sight of an adult man (played by Aaron ‘Harvey Dent’ Eckhart) fingering a 13-year-old actress would be really disturbing. as it is, it’s confronting enough.
aussie goddess toni collette, plays the neighbour who tries to provide a sanctuary for jasira.
oh i dunno. i’m kinda conflicted about this one. yes, it’s a story that needs telling, i guess. young, isolated girl trying to find out who she is, discovers sex but has no way of knowing what’s right or appropriate, gets raped left, right and sideways – including by her high school boyfriend, but nobody seems to think THAT’S a problem.
it just left me a little cold. in the sense that it felt a little gratuitous. did we really need to see the used tampon? really? but, maybe i’m missing the point as well.
in a word: meh.
briefly: because as goes america, so go we. twas ever so (well, since the brits abandoned singapore in february 1942 and left us to look to america) and, i suspect, as long as the US remains a world power, twill ever be so.
so gays and lesbians got screwed over again in california yesterday. except for those who were in a position to get married in that brief period of happiness when same-sex marriage was legal, leading up to the presidential election in november. those 18,000 marriages are still legal, the court ruled. the rest of you, too bad.
the worst possible scenario. and the one the conservatives will be loving the most because it seems to divide the gay community between the married and the not-allowed-to-be-married.
i run into such a completely emotional response on this issue, that it renders me completely unable to make cogent arguments.
for example, a conversation with Paternal Parental Unit a few weeks ago, left me kind of tongue-tied. we were discussing same-sex marriage with the Pommy Visitor and i said it wasn’t legal here, and the PPU said something about how we can have civil unions.
i then found myself completely unable to explain the concept of ‘separate is not equal’ that i floundered. i think i was just so gobsmacked that he felt the need to say ‘oh but there’s civil unions’ as if that’s GOOD ENOUGH.
how do you explain to your father that there is no reason on the planet good enough to deny me the same rights that he has, that every str8 human being has.
put it this way … it’s taken this long to find a way of articulating it.
we have to fight for this, australians. because otherwise we will get caught out, like californian gays did – they weren’t organised enough, they didn’t take Prop 8 seriously enough. we could blink and be robbed of our rights as human beings without us even realising it.
this isn’t just politics, this is life.
and yet, somehow, still kinda cute.
… to make light of the suffering of others.
woke up this morning aching like a son of a bitch. thought my back was out as it often is. took a long hot shower to ease it off, swallowed a couple of (vile-tasting) panadol rapids and hied me off to work.
then the nausea set in, and the chills, and the fever. hoorah. evil achies. went to the doctor at 4pm.
hmmm, he says. been in contact with anyone coming in from overseas? oh, fuck off, says i. no. hmmm. anyone at work been sick at all, he says. you’re kidding, right? i says. all three people i work with have had bouts of the flu in the last five weeks.
hmmm, he says. go home, sleep, keep your liquids up, take these antibiotics (!! for a virus?!!! ooook) and take tomorrow off as well. if you develop respiratory symptoms come back and see me.
so here i am. blogging on my back. 100.4-degree temperature. evil achies. time for a little sleepie-poo.
later … *sigh* … karma, it’s a bitch.