A letter to Anna Burke about Marriage Equality

Apr 3, 2011

Get Up told me Anna Burke, my local member in the federal seat of Chisholm, wanted to hear from me.

From: GetUp <info@getup.org.au>
Date: 3 April 2011 10:36
Subject: Ms Anna Burke wants to hear from you
To: Michael Barnett

Dear Michael

Your MP, Ms Anna Burke, is conducting a survey in your electorate, Chisholm, to determine community support for marriage equality. Can you participate? Click here to share your views with Ms Anna Burke.

Last spring GetUp members sent over 10,000 emails in support of a Parliamentary motion that encouraged Members of Parliament to gauge their constituents’ views on marriage equality. Now, many MPs, including yours – Ms Anna Burke – have started consulting their electorates.

Under current laws, same-sex couples cannot get married and are denied the same rights and recognition other married couples enjoy. But now, as MPs consult their electorates, you have a unique chance to help form their opinion and inform their vote. Click here to have your say.

Thanks for making your voice heard,

The GetUp Team

I wrote this email in response:

From: Michael Barnett
Date: 3 April 2011 18:07
Subject: My views on marriage equality
To: Anna Burke <anna.burke.mp@aph.gov.au>
Cc: Gregory Storer

Dear Ms Burke,

My partner Gregory Storer and I have been in a committed relationship since November 2008.  We love each other deeply and would like the right to be able to marry each other.

There is no justifiable reason for preventing us from getting married.  We are identical in every way to any heterosexual couple, except that one of us is not female.

Some people will claim that we can’t conceive a child between us and other people will say that any children we raise will suffer from not having a parent of either gender.

My response is that there are plenty of heterosexual people who cannot or choose not to have children.  There are also plenty of single mothers and fathers who ably raise their own children.

As it happens, my partner Gregory Storer has two teenage children that he raised single-handedly and so he is not looking to have any more children.  I am not looking to have any children either.

We would like the right to get married though, as we currently feel we are treated as second-class citizens by our government and we believe we are entitled to the same rights and privileges as all other Australians.

We pay the same taxes as all other Australians and we contribute to society the same as all other Australians.  Yet we are treated differently to all heterosexual Australians simply because one of us is not female.  Do you think that is fair to discriminate against us because one of us is not female?

I encourage to you to understand that it is harmful to the mental health and self-esteem of all people who are treated less than anyone else simply because of their gender or their sexual orientation.  You would understand that, being female.

If you have any doubts or questions about what I am saying, I would encourage you to listen to this presentation by Rodney Croome, delivered at the Wheeler Centre in 2010.  It’s worth every minute of time it takes to watch.

http://wheelercentre.com/videos/video/rodney-croome-the-case-for-gay-marriage/

Sincerely,
Michael Barnett.
Ashwood, VIC
0417-595-541


What do the JCCV, the ACL and fascist regimes have in common?

Apr 3, 2011

Two recent media releases have disturbed me deeply, one from the Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV), and the other from the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) .

In the February 16 2011 media release “JCCV, GLBT and Halacha, together We Can Move Forward” from the JCCV, President John Searle gives tacit approval to the notion that admission of any gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) organisation will be damaging to the Jewish community:

Rabbi Rapoport contends that the GLBT community must accept that they cannot become official members of the JCCV as this would fracture the Jewish community.

In the March 30 2011 media release “Vic EO Commission oversteps mark in promoting homosexuality” from the ACL, Victorian Director Rob Ward declares that it is troubling that homosexuality be considered a normal behaviour:

“The suggestion that the aim is to have the sexual orientation of “gay, lesbian and transgender sportspeople….so public that it’s normal, so people don’t think about it”  is very troubling,” he said.

Here we have two organisations that are making statements that support the notion that GLBT people are in some way a threat to the stability of society and are abhorrent, abnormal and inferior.

Recent history reminds us of the atrocities perpetrated against homosexual men by the Nazi regime.  Similarly intolerant to homosexuals was South Africa under Apartheid.

From 1969 to 1987, psychiatrists of the South African Defence Force were implicated in serious abuses, stemming from attempts to cure homosexual conscripts

The long history of medical treatment to convert homosexuals to heterosexuals reached a peak in the seventies. The results were unconvincing, if not hopeless, and experience showed that neither patients nor therapists found it satisfactory.

Current regimes that persecute homosexual men include the Iranian and Ugandan governments.  The situation is so dire in Iran that the death penalty is the punishment for homosexual activity.

The JCCV has resigned itself to accepting the exclusionary stance proffered by Rabbi Rapoport and goes on to state:

However, the JCCV has a responsibility as the roof body to what it can do for the GLBT community within this restriction.

The language that JCCV President John Searle endorses in this media release, stating that GLBT Jews are unworthy of JCCV membership sends the message that GLBT Jews are a danger to the stability of society and that full and unconditional acceptance of us and our organisations is unacceptable.

This attitude is reminiscent of that of fascist regimes of the past, the same regimes that persecuted Jews and homosexuals, resulting in the genocide of the Holocaust that marks one of the blackest stains on humanity to date.

It is imperative the JCCV and the ACL distance themselves from any notion that homosexual, bisexual and transgender men and women are inferior to, less normal than, or more damaging to society than heterosexual men and women and the organisations that represent them.  While the JCCV, the ACL and any other such organisation perpetuates these notions, they are no better than Germany under the Nazi regime, South Africa under Apartheid or the current Iranian and Ugandan governments.

Lastly, the greatest irony of the stance the JCCV takes on homosexuality is that Anton Block, the chairman of the Anti-Defamation Commission (the branch of the JCCV that investigates and fights anti-Semitism and holocaust rhetoric) founded and sits on the very JCCV reference group that gives tacit support to Rabbi Rapoport’s statement.  The same organisation that is charged with fighting anti-Holocaust attitudes is actually promoting similar attitudes to that which the Nazi party and Block’s birth country of South Africa endorsed.


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