17th May 2022
Happy IDAHOBIT !
International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, Biphobia and individual and organizational discrimination and violence against Intersex, Brotherboy, Sistagirl people. Our communities unite to recognize our real life circumstances and to honour innumerable individual and community struggles for justice, common sense, human kindness and compassion. We acknowledge the resilience and dedication of our communities.
Today is a day for thanking our activists and our allies.
On IDAHOBIT day we consider the successes of our struggles but remain realistic about the social changes and reforms that are still desperately needed.. We acknowledge that some within LGBTIQA+ communities in Australia, and other western countries enjoy relative peace and security in contrast to those in so many other societies where constant fear, death and lack of opportunity to enjoy life is socially and legally denied and well-being is constantly threatened.
Just Equal Australia unanimously recommits to continuing to strive towards the values and goals we hold and share with other organisations and individuals in Australia. Just Equal Australia will continue to work honestly, ethically and relentlessly with our international friends and allies.
9th May 2022
Just.Equal Australia has condemned the Coalition Government for its plan to bring back the Religious Discrimination Bill. It has called for the Coalition to deliver some positive initiatives to reduce discrimination against LGBTIQ+ people instead.
Meanwhile, the PM has said gay students aren’t being expelled from faith-based schools. That’s not true, but even if they aren't being expelled then what’s wrong with ensuing it doesn’t happen again by banning it? As for trans students, it’s obvious to everyone they are facing discrimination. But the Government seems fine with that. The attached table is a handy reminder of who voted for what during the religious discrimination debate in February.
5th May 2022
The results from the 2022 Election Survey are in and shows religious exemptions and school safety are among the top priorities. Now, JEA will use the results to seek commitments from all the major parties.
3rd May 2022
18th April 2022
16th Apr 2022
16th Apr 2022
16th April 2022
16th Apr 2022
16th Apr 2022
14th Apr 2022
Great to see some positive transgender policy commitments from the Greens. As Sally Goldner says it’s an antidote to all the anti-trans fear-mongering. More here…https://www.theage.com.au/.../greens-call-for-gender...
13th Apr 2022
11th Apr 2022
7th Apr 2022
23rd Mar 2022
22nd March 2022
21st Mar 2022
4th Mar 2022
6th Feb 2022
6th Feb 2022
6th Feb 2022
4th Feb 2022
3rd Feb 2022
3rd Feb 2022
30th Nov 2021
Hi community members and allies
The Just Equal board notes that the proposals relating to so-called Religious Discrimination bills are likely to be introduced to federal parliament this week, with much debate in all forms of media to follow.
We sadly recall the often difficult and challenging experiences that took place before, during (and even after) the 2017 marriage postal survey. In this light, we are concerned that many LGBTIQA+ people, family members and allies will experience similar distress at this peak time of debate over this legislation, given some aspects of it are likely to be damaging both directly and indirectly for many folk in our communities. We are concerned that the tabling of this divisive legislation may have many unintended consequences with the greatest impact on the mental health and well being of people who have struggled all their lives to create a welcoming and accepting space in which to survive and be accepted.
We strongly affirm the idea of self-care as needed. Every individual knows what works best for them like exercise, pets, music, TV, a bath, breathing exercises. We offer some general thoughts:
- Pull back from reviewing media articles, discussion on social media if things even begin to feel a little bit tough
- Talk to friends and supports
- Check in on each other
- Utilise services such as Qlife 1800184527 www.qlife.org.au/ or www.rainbowdoor.org.au/ or 1800729367 or services in your state/territory
If you are doing ok, Just Equal and other community organisations advocating to expose this unnecessary legislation for what it is will welcome your support. Now is the time to stand together and activate for those who can't. One way you can do that is to send a message to Labor to speak out against this proposal and do all they can to kill the bill.
1st June 2018
11th March 2017
DEVIL IN THE DETAIL: The choice between true marriage equality and new forms of discrimination against LGBTI Australians
This new book by long-time marriage equality campaigner, Rodney Croome, asks the question, should the LGBTI community compromise on marriage equality? Should we accept being allowed to marry in return for new laws that allow us to be discriminated against?
The book looks at what compromises are likely to be proposed, how they will be put forward under the cover of "religious freedom", how they will be defended and why we should not accept them.
Rodney also considers who has the right to make the difficult choices at stake.
Australian commentator, Peter van Onselen, has written,
“I don’t think churches should be compelled to marry gay couples if it’s against their belief systems, but a Christian baker refusing to bake a cake for a gay wedding sounds pretty bigoted to me. These are issues worthy of further debate.”
Rodney Croome's book is an important contribution to that debate. Download Devil In The Detail here.
Addendum to Devil In The Detail, Jan 2018
This book was written before the passage of legislation allowing Australian LGBTI people to marry in December 2017. The purpose then was to make a case against compromises in that legislation which allowed discrimination in the name of “religious freedom” (or religious privilege as it should be known). With the religious privilege movement currently in full swing this discussion is now more important than ever.
Downloadable Addendum here.
18 jan 2017
We are concerned that any marriage equality legislation that entrenches the unequal treatment of LGBTI couples undermines the point of providing for these couples to marry. Indeed, it cannot properly be called “marriage equality”. The many people who support marriage equality because it provides for equality would find it very difficult to support legislation that takes with one hand while giving with the other.
Just.equal is a national LGBTIQ lobbying, advocacy and campaign group with a focus on anti-discrimination protections and on marriage equality. Our mandate comes from the extensive and exhaustive research we conduct on the views of LGBTIQ Australians.
In this submission “same-sex couples” refers all those adult couples who the meet the criteria for marriage except they are not male and female. We will use “marriage equality” to refer to laws that allow them to marry.
We support marriage equality in principle, including the intent of the Marriage Amendment (Same-Sex Marriage) Bill.
We support allowing ministers of religious to refuse service to any couple whose relationship does not conform to their religious views.
We oppose all provisions that specifically allow same-sex couples to be refused service by marriage-related service providers including civil celebrants and businesses owned and operated by religious organisations.
We believe the Marriage Amendment (Same-Sex Marriage) Bill should be fully inclusive regardless of sex, gender or sexual orientation.
Reasons for supporting marriage equality
The case for marriage equality has been made consistently and well over many years, including to several parliamentary inquiries. We will not give a detailed exposition on the need for marriage equality except to remind the inquiry that:
a) marriage equality is based on values of legal equality, personal freedom, inclusion and respect
b) there is significant evidence that marriage equality boosts the health and wellbeing of LGBTIQ people and their families, as well as strengthening their relationships and the institution of marriage
c) there is no evidence that marriage equality has undermined marriage as an institution, the wellbeing of children or religious freedoms anywhere it has been enacted.
We are more than happy to provide extra information, including empirical research, in regard to any of these points if it is required by the Committee.
Reasons for opposing provisions that allow refusal of service to same-sex couples.
As stated above, we support the current provision of the Marriage Act that allows religious ministers to refuse to marry any couple based on the minister’s beliefs.
We oppose all other provisions of the Marriage Amendment (Same-Sex Marriage) Bill that allows refusal of service to same-sex couples who intend to marry. First we deal with concerns specific to particular provisions, then general concerns.
It is unnecessary to provide ministers of religious with an additional legal right to refuse service to same-sex couples when they already have this right for all couples.
Civil celebrants are delegated by the government to perform a government duty, much like justices of the peace. They are also private business owners who provide a commercial service. On both counts, they should not be able to refuse service to anyone on the basis of their relationship status, sexual orientation or gender identity. We are not aware of any organised call or demonstrated need for civil celebrants to be able to discriminate against same-sex couples.
Religious organisations provide commercial services that could be relevant to marriages.
These commercial services should be subject to the same laws as all commercial services.
That means they should not be able to refuse service to anyone on the basis of their relationships status or sexual orientation.
We are concerned that the proposed provisions are specific to same-sex couples. This means same-sex relationships will continue to be stigmatised as second-rate and less worthy than heterosexual relationships. One of the main reasons for allowing same-sex couples to marry is to challenge the deep, historical stigma and prejudice against same-sex relationships. We oppose the proposed provisions because they will perpetuate this stigma.
Access to services
We are concerned that couples in rural and regional areas may find it difficult to access wedding services under the proposed provisions. One of the main reasons we support marriage equality is to allow couples to celebrate their love and commitment with friends and family in those places that mean the most to them, for example, in the communities they grew up in. Denial of wedding services can limit the choices same-sex couples make about where to celebrate their marriages.
We are concerned that any marriage equality legislation that entrenches the unequal treatment of same-sex couples undermines the point of allowing same-sex couples to marry. Indeed, it cannot properly be called “marriage equality”. The many people who support marriage equality because it provides for equality would find it very difficult to support legislation that takes with one hand while giving with the other.
We are concerned the proposed provisions undermine Australian anti-discrimination law.
Protections that currently exist under some state laws will be lost. The principle that there should be no discrimination on the grounds of relationship status or sexual orientation will be infringed. The fundamental principle of discrimination law - that everyone should have equal access to the same opportunities in life - will also be violated.
The slippery slope
We are concerned by the precedent the proposed provisions will set. If this parliament accepts that same-sex couples can be discriminated against because of the religious beliefs of service providers, what stops a future parliament allowing discrimination against inter-racial partners, inter-faith partners, civil union partners, or any partners who don’t conform to a particular religious doctrine? Indeed, what stops parliament accepting any form of discrimination that can be justified by holy texts? We note that in the United States a religious freedom bill before that Kentucky state legislature has prompted concerns from those people who feel it is broad enough to encompass couples other than the same-sex couples it explicitly targets.
We are concerned that Australia would be defying the trend in comparable jurisdictions if the proposed provisions were passed. The legislation that achieved marriage equality in the UK, New Zealand, Canada and Ireland did not contain any provisions allowing for the refusal of services (other than by ministers of religion). There is no evidence that religious freedoms have been undermined in those countries. If those countries can pass true marriage equality, Australia should be able to as well.
Debasement of religious values and freedoms
We are concerned that the proposed provisions debase religious values and freedoms.
Because the provisions we object to allow refusal of service only to same-sex couples they are clearly not about genuine religious values, they are about permitting prejudice. If they were about the former, they would encompass all couples whose relationships might violate religious tenets. Associating religious values with prejudice in this way debases the very concept of religious values and diminishes the reputation of religious institutions in the eyes of everyday Australians. This is why so many people of faith object to the offending provisions. The same goes for religious freedom. There is an unconditional freedom to hold a religious view. But there is not an unconditional freedom to impose religious values on others, or harm or disadvantage others through the practise of these values. To make a claim to the latter freedom devalues the suffering of those religious minorities around the world who are experiencing genuine infringements of their religious freedom.
We are concerned that the proposed provisions allow “conscientious beliefs” to be the basis for refusing service. This is an ill-defined term that conceivably encompasses all forms or personal prejudice. We oppose “religious beliefs” being a legitimate basis for refusing service, as much as we oppose “conscientious beliefs”. Both terms allow discrimination against LGBTIQ people in the provision of government and commercial services. However, at least there is a body of jurisprudence that sets limits on “religious beliefs”. This is much less the case with “conscientious beliefs”.
Ensuring full inclusion
Most marriage equality legislation that has been proposed makes it clear that marriage is between two people regardless of sex, gender or sexual orientation. This helps ensure marriage equality is fully inclusive of transgender and intersex people. We believe the Marriage Amendment (Same-Sex Marriage) Bill should do the same.
The views of the LGBTIQ community
As stated at the outset, just.equal takes its mandate from comprehensive and exhaustive research on the attitudes of LGBTIQ Australians. Together with groups such as Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, just.equal has commissioned research on the issue of refusal of service. The research is currently underway. We ask the Committee’s permission to be able to present a report of the survey when it is completed.
(the survey report is now available here)
29 Oct 2016
We're keeping the up pressure on parliament to vote down a plebiscite with the release of videoed interviews highlighting the true cost of the 2015 Irish marriage equality referendum.
The video will be the centrepiece of the anti-plebiscite campaign in the days leading up to the final Senate vote, with supporters asked to share it with their federal members through the makeitlaw.com.au website.
The video was commissioned by PFLAG and just.equal and produced by Niall Crowley, managing director of Irish communications company, "We the People".
Spokesperson for LGBTI lobby group, just.equal, Ivan Hinton-Teoh said,
"We are stepping up our campaign against a plebiscite and for a free vote to be absolutely sure it is knocked on the head."
"The Make It Law campaign has already delivered over 400,000 emails to MPs and Senators from everyday Australians calling on the plebiscite to be blocked."
"In the final days before the Senate vote we will be encouraging even more Australians to now share this powerful video with their politicians."
National spokesperson for Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), Shelley Argent, said,
"I think what this video shows is that public votes on marriage equality put a huge and unnecessary strain on same-sex couples and their families."
"Warren Entsch has proposed a less expensive online plebiscite but that misses the point."
"The fundamental problem with a plebiscite is the human cost not the financial cost."
"The question for me is what path to marriage equality is best for our LGBTI children and I think that is clearly a free vote in parliament, not a plebiscite."
Dr Sharon Dane co-authored "Swimming with Sharks", a recently-released study through the University of Queensland and Victoria University of over 1,500 LGBTI Irish people and their families. The study is not directly linked to the video but it did look at the negative psychological and social impact of the Irish referendum campaign. Dr Dane said,
"The video interviews are in keeping with what our study found - that there was a hidden cost to the Irish referendum."
"Many same-sex couples and their families are still suffering from the hurtful and negative messages the referendum enabled."
The Senate is expected to debate the Government's proposed plebiscite legislation the week starting November 7th.
13th Oct 2016
In conjunction with global LGBTI rights group All Out we delivered a petition of 92,068 signatures to the Australian parliament on 13 October 2016.
The message was a simple one: Thank You For Promising To Block The Plebiscite! This 2.4m tall thank you card was delivered throughout parliament and attracted enthusiastic signatures from across the political spectrum.