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    December 17, 2007

    Different hemisphere, same leadership vacuum

    Posted by: Chris

    Kevinrudd_wideweb__470x3050 Australian gays were understandably a bit giddy about last month's election, as the left-center Labor Party overturned 12 years of Conservative Party rule. Moderately anti-gay Prime Minister John Howard even lost his own seat in Parliament. But it's interesting to see how the rise of new Prime Minister Kevin Rudd still carries with it little prospect for actually following through on pro-gay campaign rhetoric.

    In an essay in the gay paper Sydney Star-Observer, the country's first out gay senator, Brian Greig of the centrist Democrats, paints the picture:

    On the face of it, a Labor Government and Green Upper House is the most ideal outcome for the delivery of sexuality law reform. Certainly, that dynamic has worked well in WA and Tasmania, producing the best suite of law reforms in Australia at state level.

    However, this won’t necessarily translate to federal dynamics because federal Labor is more conservative than its state counterparts. Labor could also bypass the Greens in the Senate if it needs to by working with Opposition and Independent senators.

    Sound familiar to anyone in the U.S.? (And not just on gay issues, of course.) A national party sapped of political willpower by the moderates it fears it needs to compete nationally.

    Greig also points out that even though Rudd's Labor party supports a national anti-discrimination law and 58 reforms in same-sex entitlements recommended by a non-partisan blue chip panel, party leaders have already signaled that the federal law must wait until after the next election.

    Labor committed during the campaign to recognizing state-issued civil unions at the federal level, according to Greig, but just yesterday Rudd denied his government was planning a civil unions law, instead opting for a "national relationships registry" and some minor insurance and tax reforms.

    And, of course, Labor like their Dem counterparts back home are opposed to same-sex marriage, a position which for some reason surprised the country's gay activists. I suppose hope springs eternal in both hemispheres. Rudd even refused to say how he felt about same-sex second parent adoptions, something leading Dems have at least supported.

    The moral of this tale of two parties is that national political parties will take support from gays and our allies for granted without constant pressure and an activist base that is not captive to the "gay-friendly" party -- or so steeped in inside-baseball lobbying that they forget they are part of a civil rights movement, not a textile manufacturers' trade association.

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    Comments

    1. Andoni on Dec 17, 2007 4:35:48 PM:

      Yes, isn’t it a pisser how the Democrats are all promises when they come asking our community for money and then never deliver. They partially deliver, but never manage to close the deal for us.

      Here is a solution of how to put an end to this abusive relationship we have been putting up with. We organize and tell them point blank, NO MORE MONEY until they come back with 218 co-sponsors for every piece of legislation on the HRC House scorecard and 51 co-sponsors for every piece of legislation on the Senate scorecard.

      Maybe they can make it easy for themselves and lump all our bills (ENDA, Hate Crimes, DADT repeal, UAFA, etc) into one Gay Rights Omnibus Bill so they only have to gather the respective 218 and 51 once.

      I am sick and tired of being taken advantage of. My suggestion would turn the tables on them so that when they say, “SHOW US THE MONEY,” we reply with, “SHOW US THE CO-SPONSORS!”

      Takers anyone?

    1. Kevin on Dec 18, 2007 2:25:45 PM:

      I adored the closing line :)

    1. Monster Beats Sale on Nov 26, 2011 3:06:40 AM:

      when they say, “SHOW US THE MONEY,” we reply with, “SHOW US THE CO-SPONSORS!”

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