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    November 28, 2008

    Will Obama follow Rudd's example?

    Posted by: Chris

    Kevinrudd In case you've forgotten what it looks like for a politician to actually fulfill his campaign commitments, there's Australian Labor Prime Minister Kevin Rudd:

    The Rudd government has finished its one-year anniversary by honouring an election commitment to remove discrimination against same-sex couples from a wide-range of federal laws.

    The federal parliament today approved changes to superannuation laws that allow same-sex couples to leave entitlements to their partner or children upon death. The Senate also agreed to a bill to extend the meaning of de-facto to include same-sex relationships.

    The legislation brings long-awaited equality to same sex-couples in areas including tax, social security, health, aged care and employment. They are part of an election commitment to act on the recommendations of a 2007 landmark report by the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission.

    Like Barack Obama, Rudd came to office after many years of conservative government control. Like Obama, Rudd opposes equal marriage rights for gay couples. Unlike Obama, Rudd even opposes civil unions, and in fact any form of civil ceremony for same-sex couples.

    Nonetheless, Rudd's government has delivered in its first 12 months in office, on equal treatment for gay couples under federal law. Since Rudd opposes civil unions, the federal government recognition is not based on whether the relationship is recognized under state law. But Rudd's success illustrates how incremental approaches, however distasteful they may seem, can bring real change to real lives, on the road to full equality.



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    1. Chris on Nov 29, 2008 11:34:07 PM:

      I can see where you're coming from here, but I still sense that the winning/granting of full rights can and probably should precede and not follow the readiness of numerical majorities to approve this change, and is part of what can help change minds and hearts. It'll be interesting to see how this incrementalist vs. whole-hoggist approach plays out in New York state around equal marriage.

      Can't say much for Obama, but I just hope he doesn't cave like Clinton, who became a wholesale disappointment, particularly when he signed DOMA.

    1. Tim on Dec 1, 2008 2:35:08 PM:

      Don't hold your breath...

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