Australia

Australia Votes YES for Marriage Equality!

After an eight-week postal survey polling Australian residents on whether or not same-sex marriage should be lawful throughout Australia, the results are in!

At 10 a.m. on November 15th, the Australian Bureau of Statistics announced that the final vote is a YES!

The Aussies have spoken and the results are:

  • 7,817,247 – YES 61.6%
  • 4,873,987 – NO 38.4%

12,727,920 total voters 79.5% total electorate

Here is footage of the gathering in Sydney for the announcement (video from DNA Magazine's Facebook Page). Skip ahead to the 21 minute mark for THE moment.

 

 


Over 12.6 million people participated in the voluntary postal survey, that’s about ¾ of the entire Australian electorate.

This has been one of the most pivotal moments in Australia’s history, creating massive dialogue between campaigns for and against the proposed law.

According to a press release issued by the Human Rights Watch:

The postal survey in effect submitted the human rights of the LGBT population to a popularity contest, putting gay, lesbian, and bisexual people in a vulnerable position. For two months, their lives and identities were open to public debate, scrutiny, evaluation, and sometimes abuse.

During this period, some groups opposing marriage equality used scare tactics to lure voters to their side. Opponents stoked fears that a “yes” victory would pose a threat to religious freedom. The opponents circulated posters and advertising campaigns with misleading information and sometimes outright lies.

Upon news of the historic results, Alex Greenwich from the Equality Campaign shared:

This happened because millions of Australians reached out to our own families, neighbourhoods, organisations – to stand up for equality, stand by our loved ones and share why YES was so important

You’ve done it. It’s YES.

Now, because of you, ours will be the last generation in which LGBTI relationships are not equal under the law. For the young person growing up in a small town, for the couple who have been together 40 years, and the person who’s been longing to propose: you belong here, your love is celebrated and honoured here, and never again will you be made to feel otherwise by our country’s laws.

So pick up the phone right now. Call your son or daughter. Text your best friend. Hug your grandma. High-five the coffee guy. Pump the music in your office. Put a shiny new badge on your profile pic. Give your child a great big cuddle. Because today in Australia, fairness and equality triumphed, and we can all be proud.

Congratulations, Australia! The survey is only the beginning on a path to parliament adoption which would make Australia the 25th country with marriage equality. Let's get ready for some fabulous weddings in the land down under!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Australian Kid Campaigners Take a Stance for Same-Sex Marriage

The debate for same-sex marriage in Australia has created one the greatest divisions in their history. For a country that many feel is open-minded and progressive, it is surprising to know that same-sex marriage is not already law of the land.

With Australia’s same-sex marriage survey closing on November 7th, many have taken to different campaigns urging voters to help in the passing of this law. Results from the survey are due on November 15th when we will know if Australia joins the ranks of the 24 other countries around the world who have already legalized same-sex marriages.

One point of view that has gotten much attention is of the Australian youth. Both positive and negative opinions have risen from a video that journalist Patrick Abboud has hosted via The Feed SBS Viceland featuring kid campaigners from Australia that has posed their perspective on this very important political and social issue. The video depicts a young boy, six-year-old Archie, who is shown spreading love by placing rainbow flags in mailboxes as he rides his bicycle from home to home. This interview with Archie is juxtaposed with protests by religious groups who are against the Australian same-sex law. The video also leads to rural Australia to show a teenager, Jim, who has taken his platform for same-sex marriage to Instagram—asking Aussies to put on some rainbow socks and snapping their pic.

Here’s the video that is making waves with controversy.

Watch: This 104-Year-Old AU Citizen Wants The Country To Say Yes

The public poll on whether marriage equality should be legalized in Australia is coming to an end, but one 104-year-old citizen still has something to say.

AU Marriage Equality is the lead campaign trying to make sure that “Yes” is Australia’s resounding answer, and in order to finish to the end they’ve released an ad with a wise man’s thoughts on the whole thing.

They got a 104-year-old citizen, who also has a gay grandson, to share his thoughts on camera and he says that he “can’t understand what all the fuss and commotion is about.”

The campaign is remind us all that this isn’t just a vote about whether gay people should be able to marry, but about the basic respect for other human lives. It’s about stopping discrimination and giving others the rights that you already have.

Keep in mind that the vote will officially end on November 7. That said, the organization behind managing the poll suggested that all voters had submitted their responses this past Friday in order to ensure that they got in on time.

Now, we just await a week to see what the result will be.

The results are expected to be in by around November 15.

Study Predicts The Australia's "Yes" Vote Will Have A Narrow Loss

An academic study is using Twitter opinions to gauge the results of the public vote for or against same-sex marriage in Australian.

While many opinion polls say that the yes vote will win and be around 60 percent of the vote, this Twitter opinion study says the opposite.

The study, by Academics David Tuffley and Bela Stantic, looked at over 458,565 tweets through the month of October.

At face value, the two found that there was an overwhelming amount of support for marriage equality. Specifically, they found that there was 72 percent support for the yes vote.

That said, they also found that only 15% of the yeses came from people over the age of 55. With that in mind, they adjusted the numbers and ended up with 57 percent support.

But that’s not all, they then adjusted the numbers again to make up for the low amount of tweets coming from people older than 55 (a voter pool that will show up in the actual vote). This ended up with a 49 percent yes rate for the vote.

Tuffley and Stantic are known for being surprisingly accurate when it comes to tough call votes and polls. For instance, they predicted the Trump win for the 2016 US presidential election.

And as they told Australian News Agency 9 News:

“It is likely to be a close-run result, much closer than the earlier polls suggested, and leaning in the direction of 'no.”

That said, the two do note that predications can have complications that get in the way of coming up with a true and fair answer.

"One of the problems with predicting poll outcomes is that people are often reluctant to say out loud what they really think about issues.”

"What people say online can often be more accurate than what they say to each other in this age of political correctness."

Yes Voter Featured in A No Campaign Is “Devastated To Be Linked To This Rubbish”

A volunteer interpreter is “personally distressed” after she was filmed signing the words of a campaigner for LGBTQ rights, and then placed in a Vote No to Marriage Equality ad.

Paola Mitchell told news.com.au that she’s called the Coalition for Marriage to remove the ad, but they have refused to respond.

Ms. Mitchell was first made aware of the video by a friend who messaged her after seeing the ad in a doctor’s waiting room. She now worries that she may be shunned by some of the deaf community after appearing in the video.

“It’s irresponsible and they obviously don’t really care who or what they do is affecting,” said Ms Mitchell.

“I’m proudly and openly gay and it just tears me apart to my very core and devastates me my face is even remotely associated with this rubbish from the No campaign.”

“I’m horrified and personally distressed. I never gave my permission for my image to be used in this way.”

A Coalition for Marriage spokesman told news.com.au: “We sympathize with her and can understand why she would want to distance herself from Roz Ward and the radical safe schools program.”

The ad depicts the argument that legalizing same-sex marriage will eventually effect and change the lecture plans taught in schools.

Speaking of the vote, it is coming to an end soon. The Australian Bureau of Statistics, which manages the survey, recommends voters send their votes in the mail by this Friday to make sure they are received by the cut-off date of November 7.

City of Sydney Is Granting Free Venues If Gay Marriage Passes

The City of Sydney has showed their support for the “vote yes” campaign and is even giving special privileges to same-sex couples.

Gay couples, and not straight couples, will be able to marry for free in well-known government buildings and parks if marriage equality is legalized.

This was made official Monday night in Australia to make many government locations free for the first 100 days if the vote goes through.

This is just like the promise that recently elected mayor Darcy Bryne made late last month.

In a Facebook live session, Byrne asked for newly elected city councilors to support the proposal of this motion and added, “On the day that this country finally accepts that love is love, I want couples to know that the inner west will welcome them with open arms if they want to celebrate their marriage in our public facilities.”

That said, only the locations will be provided for free. All other services like catering, security, tech, and so on will be the responsibility of the couples.

Even though Darcy Bryne openly supported the motion, it was Labor councilor Linda Scott who moved it into succession and Lord Mayor Clover Moore who whipped the necessary votes.

That said, some are feeling that this act goes against the very idea of marriage equality.

One such person is openly out politician Christine Forster who voted against the motion after trying to get it to apply to straight couples as well.

"This has been a fight for equality before the law and it's my belief that we can't ask for equality for ourselves and then deny it to others," she told the Sydney Morning Herald.

"It's also been about making marriage inclusive not exclusive, and this motion flies in the face of that."

That said, opposition to that argument says that this act is not discrimination but a practical way to combat and move past the many years of discrimination gay people have suffered.

The currently public survey for marriage equality ends on November 7 and the results will be announced on the 15th. If the vote comes out as a yes, then we could be seeing marriages happening as early as Christmas time.

Police Force Targeted Drug Tests At Gay Officers Because They're "Notoriously Promiscuous"

Four officers from Australia, Christopher Sheehy, Steven Rapisarda and Shane Housego who are currently serving, and former officer Christian McDonald, say they were wronged by the New South Wales Police Force who acted against them because of their sexuality.

The NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal released court documents showing that there was “genuine concern” that the four men were taking part in illegal drug taking because they regularly frequented gay bars.

It all started when a fifth officer, named Sergeant George Zisopoulous, had a hair sample tested positive for use of ecstasy, speed, and prescription drugs back in May of 2015.

Superintendent Simon Hardman, in a statement, noted that afterwards Sergeant Zisopoulous shaved his head and arms. Then coincidentally officers McDonald and Rapisarda later cut their hair “extremely short” within the following week.

In the statement, Superintendent Harmon stated that such actions caused suspicion of additional drug use and an attempt to avoid detection.

Then, the statement gets pretty... harebrained.

Excuses for the investigation into them go so far as to note the close friendships between the officers, and their frequent visits to gay bars such as Stonewall, the Beresford Hotel, and the Ivy.

Then possibly the furthest stretch was when the statement pointed out that "George, Christian and Christopher are also notorious for their promiscuity.”

Superintendent Hardman later admitted in his statement that there was no direct evidence to suggest officers Sheehy, McDonald, Rapisarda or Housego had taken illicit drugs. But, he still urged a further investigation of the four.

"I cannot justify seeking targeted drug testing of anyone in the group," he said.

"That said, their regular attendance at licensed premises that have significant intelligence holdings for drug trade is of concern.

"Even in the absence of evidence, I retain a genuine concern the group is actively involved in recreational/illegal drug use."

After the six-month Professional Standards investigation, codenamed Strike Force Andro, the four men were cleared, but now they are seeking compensation and an apology from the force.

Australian Firefighters Are Taking Pics With Animals For Charity

We have another calendar for you all to check out and this one comes from Down Under.

The Australian Firefighters, not the Perth ones, have released their annual calendar again and it’s a sight to behold.

Every year since 1993, a calendar has come out with photos of hot and beefy firefighters.

On top of just generally being hot and an item of thirst trap glory, it’s also been a pinnacle of charity too.

Through the calendar’s proceeds, several charities and organizations have received large sums of donations. Some such organizations are the Sydney Children’s Hospital foundation, Mates4Mates (Supporting Injured Defense Force Mates), Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors, and more.

As for this year’s calendar, we are actually fortunate enough to have the option of three different options.

First, you can buy a calendar of the hot firefighters alone. Second, you can buy a calendar with firefighters playing with and holding puppies. Third, you can get a calendar of the hot firefighters hanging out with zoo animals. Or, you can decided to buy a combination of the three.

Interested? You can click hear to order a calendar, or you can just look at some select pics of the men and animals down below.

Morgan Freeman Had "So Much Fun" At An Australian Gay Bar

Freeman is currently doing some publicity for an upcoming project of his and went through an interview to talk about the project and the process of making it.

Specifically, the project is a six part documentary called The Story Of Us. The story follows different aspects of humanity and community.

The series is also a sequel to the Emmy-nominated The Story of God, which Freeman also worked on.

As part of the process, Morgan Freeman was filming in Australia and in his interview he shared that he stopped by a gay bar during the trip.

“It was so much fun and I thought there was this feeling of freedom. I am surprised Australia doesn’t have marriage equality.”

He later added that he danced to Sister Sledge’s "We Are Family" while in the bar.

Morgan Freeman then went further to say that the key to marriage equality is representation and that it’s bringing a change in the way we think.

“I think one of the catalysts people have experienced here in America is the realization that some of their relatives are gay,

“What are you going to say if your 14 or 15-year-old son comes and says, ‘Dad, I’m gay.”

“Some are excommunicated immediately but most aren’t. There is a new mindset and an understanding that it isn’t some choice you are making.”

The Story Of Us is will come out on 11 October on National Geographic.

Brisbane Pride Was Led By LGBTQ Indigenous People For The First Time

Image via QNews

The Brisbane Pride Festival happened a couple days ago to great fanfare.

While you would think all talk would be about the fact that Australia is currently in the middle of a popular vote to potentially legalize Marriage Equality, the real talk at Brisbane Pride was on its efforts towards diversity and unity.

One of the biggest acts that the pride event did towards that effort was to invite Queensland’s LGBTI First Nations community as the lead of this annual festival.

More than 3,000 attendees attended the event and witnessed something special and historic. First Nation Elders came to Brisbane Pride and participated in a flag exchange ceremony.

During the flag exchange, those elders exchanged the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags with the rainbow flag of the LBGTQ community in a symbolic gesture representing deep mutual respect.

Before the event, Rebecca Johnson of the IndigiLez Women’s Leadership and Support Group, said that this year’s Brisbane Pride would be a historic one.

“As the oldest continuing culture in the world, First Nations people will be recognized and respected by the Brisbane Pride Committee,” Johnson said.

“As a community we will be witnessing history, the start of a journey that embeds Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural protocol and the development of meaningful relationships through a cultural lens.”

In addition, Deejee Hancock, the president of Brisbane Pride, announced how honored everyone was to be invited for the flag exchange.

“The exchange of flags is one of the highest honors between two cultures, symbolizing a commitment between them to honor and learn from each other with the common goal of inclusiveness, support and mutually shared values,” he said.

“The culture and traditions of the LGBTI community are unique and important to us, and the opportunity to both share and learn from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and create a mutual protocol of respect is a unique opportunity for both cultures. We will be seeing history made and there is no greater reason to be proud.”

 “I couldn’t be more honored on behalf of Brisbane Pride and the Brisbane rainbow community. I’m overwhelmed to be part of something so amazing and historical,” he said.

That said, while there was an acceptance and merging of cultures, there was still some conflict. A group of six anti-gay religious protestors walked at the front of the parade, but were drowned out by chants like, “love is love,” and “preach love, not hate.”

 

Biggest Brisbane Pride March Ever!! Such an amazing proud day for us al!! #voteyes #brisbanepridefestival #brisbanepride

A post shared by Harry Katsanevas (@djharryk) on

 

A post shared by Eric Lee (@mousetoast) on

 

A post shared by V Rose (@vrosestyle) on

 

A post shared by AJ (@adrienne.jai) on

 

A post shared by Ryarli . Design (@ryarli) on

 

A post shared by Michael Baxter (@_mcbaxter) on

Pages