when lifesavers are gay

Stanhope pressures PM on gay unions in Australia

KEVIN Rudd has been presented with his first major challenge on gay law reform from within his own party, with ACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope challenging him to allow gay and lesbian civil unions in the territory.

Mr Stanhope said the Prime Minister – a self-described social conservative – should allow the move, arguing that if Mr Rudd could demand China respect the human rights of Tibetans he should defend the rights of his own citizens at home.

It is the first time Mr Stanhope has spoken publicly about the federal Government’s intervention to see the ACT laws blocked.

The Rudd Government is in discussions with the ACT Government to remove clauses in its civil partnerships bill that would allow gay couples to hold a public ceremony marking their union.

In a speech to lawyers, Mr Stanhope said a national bill of rights could protect Australian citizens against such interventions. The Rudd Government has committed itself to an inquiry on a charter of rights, but has ruled out any model that would undermine the authority of parliament.

“I have hopes that a Prime Minister and a Government capable of advocating for the basic rights of the Tibetans will – must – comprehend the justice of formally extending each of those same basic rights to folk back home,” Mr Stanhope said.

“I have hopes that this Prime Minister … will respect the right of the component parts of our federation to legislate as they are constitutionally empowered to do and as they have received a mandate to do.”

He said legislating for civil partnerships was within the powers of the states and territories. “We know that what the ACT is attempting to do is no more than to extend to same-sex couples equality with other Canberrans, under ACT laws,” he said. “Not commonwealth laws: that would require a national bill of rights. Just ACT laws … in the community to which they contribute, and to which they belong.”

But Mr Stanhope said that unfortunately for the men and women in the ACT who desire recognition of and respect for their long-term “enduring primary relationships, efforts by the ACT Government to deliver these things have been thwarted”.

“The evidence suggests the rights of a significant number of Canberra’s men and women cannot be guaranteed by my Government, because of church disapproval,” he said. “This in a nation that has committed … to a separation of church and state.”

NSW has taken a wait-and-see attitude on a relationships register, with Attorney-General John Hatzistergos saying he wanted to see “how it pans out at national level”. The issue is on the agenda of the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General and the states are being urged to adopt a uniform approach by federal Attorney-General Robert McClelland.

But Mr Hatzistergos announced yesterday children born through IVF to lesbian mothers would soon have the same rights as those of heterosexual couples.

He estimated 20per cent of the state’s female same-sex couples had children. Legislative changes later this year will grant parenting rights and obligations to the non-biological mother and another 50 state acts will be amended to remove discrimination against same-sex couples in NSW. For example, school authorities would be compelled to recognise both parents and hospitals could accept consent forms from both women.

from here

sydney mardi gras was great

thanks to my friend Brenton from Aussielicious

were you on the gay only flight from new-zealand airlines?

sydney mardi gras as if you were there

mardi gras float sydney

My friend Brenton from aussielicious encourages you to go to the mardi gras float…

Here’s a clue for what to expect from our mardi gras float. No there won’t be any waves, but you’ll love this video anyway. This is why I had so much fun rowing surfboats. It’s an amazing adrenaline rush crashing through a massive surf or flying down the face of a wave. It doesn’t hurt that there are fit guys all around with their speedos up their butts either!

I seriously can’t wait for the parade, its going to be so much fun!

Mardi Gras , let’s go

If you can go, therefore you must

For anyone visiting for mardi gras for the first time and going to the after party which is officially sold out for the first time in years, this video gives you a good impression of what to expect.

I’ve heard rumours of all sorts of performers, Olivia Newtown-John, Cindy Lauper, George Michael, Scissor Sisters and Bear Force One. Who will actually turn up? Who knows!

from Brenton from aussielicious

Mardi gras celebrates 30 years of gay fun

It’s the largest gay party in the world, with extraordinary performances, costumes, sports events and festivals, and this weekend, the 30th anniversary of Sydney’s Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras kicked off with a bang. The theme this year is Brave New World, chosen to represent the struggles and achievements this legendary event has had to endure over the past three decades.
In the summer of 1978, homosexuality was still a crime in most parts of Australia. Just participating in homosexual activities or congregating with other members of the community could be grounds for discrimination in employment, housing, and healthcare, and the community at large was reaching it’s boiling point.

A decade earlier, the Stonewall riots in New York had sparked a monumental shift in the gay movement, and although the riots were violent in nature, they acted as a catalyst for gay people across the world to stand up and demand equal treatment and equal rights.

On Saturday, June 24th, 1978, as a showing of gay solidarity with the men and women at Stonewall, a group of 2,000 Australian gays and lesbians took to the street for a peaceful protest march that had been permitted by the government. Half way through this first crude parade that was lead by pick up trucks and PA systems, the permit was revoked and police began to harass participants resulting in fights and the eventual arrest of over 50 marchers.

The names of those arrested were released in the Sydney Herald and many men and women lost their jobs and friends because of the public outing.

The following year, the Parliament of New South Wales passed a Public Assemblies Act which allowed the public to demonstrate peacefully without a government permit, and the gay marchers came back for a second event that was much more successful. After that, the organizers added a post parade party, and each year the event steadily grew with more participants and more events contributing to a now world-renowned celebration.

With over 500,00 participants by the end of the ’80s, Sydney Mardi Gras had become a gay Mecca and was covered by mainstream news outlets and broadcast media. The event did have some struggles in the early part of the new millennium after tourism dropped following the 9/11 bombings, but the organizers are determined to get the event back on track.

Now the festivities have been moved to February, and the whole month is jammed packed with fundraisers, sports events, parties and performances.

Along with having a great time and partying with some of the hottest men and women from around the world, Mardi Gras 2008 is hoping to spread a message of global consciousness, and the organizers are trying to further the occasion beyond just a big celebration.

At the launch event, co-hosted by Geoff Field and Julie McCrossin, a $5,000 donation to Centennial Parklands Foundation was made to purchase shrubs and trees to offset carbon emissions from the parade and other events during the ceremony. A commemorative tree was planted at the end of the parade route as a reminder of the struggle to succeed and to represent the growth that the gay community has made over the past few decades. Also, the event’s new partnership with Myspace is being used to promote a social network for gay men and women all over the world and is designed to bring them together in solidarity.

They have created a forum where members of the community can go to share their dreams and hopes for the future, and where the can share their stories of coming out and self acceptance in order to send a positive message to younger generations.

Over the next three weeks, Gay Mardi Gras will welcome performers like Cyndi Lauper, Margaret Cho and Kathy Griffin to various parties around the city. World famous DJ’s will help provide atmosphere to lavish pool parties and a Queer Film Festival will highlight some of the best examples of gay cinema. There is also a Fair Day where last year over 60,000 gay men and women came to participate in a plethora of arts, sports and cultural festivities, and to experience great food and shopping while interacting with other members of the community.

All of the events lead up to the legendary Parade, which will take place on March 1st, and hundreds of street performers, dancers and floats will delight audiences with their inspired performances.

What started out as a small protest has expanded into one of the biggest pride celebrations in the world. Partnered with some of the biggest brand named companies like Ikea, Atlantis, Virgin Blue and 42 Below Vodka, the success of Mardi Gras shows that gay people are making great strides toward acceptance, and the celebrations offer hope for further successes in the future.

Sexy native australian

From the wildlife currumbin sanctuary in australia

In 1976, Alex gifted the Sanctuary to the people of Queensland as a National Trust of Queensland property. The National Trust of Queensland is a like-minded organisation dedicated to preserving the State’s natural and cultural heritage. The Trust continues to operate the Sanctuary on a not-for-profit basis, with all revenue reinvested back into the park, in conservation-based research, caring for sick and injured wildlife and public education.

Originally known as Currumbin Bird Sanctuary, the park’s name was changed to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary in 1995 to better reflect the diverse range of animals on display.

While the lorikeets remain a hallmark attraction, every day visitors can get closer to many of Australia’s most amazing wildlife species.

Alex Griffiths feeding Lorikeets
With its foundation in the pioneering days of Gold Coast tourism, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary has developed into a world-leader in the display and preservation of Australia’s wildlife and natural heritage.

With more than 1400 animals and birds, the Sanctuary is home to one of the largest collections of Australian native wildlife in the world. Established nearly 60 years ago, the Sanctuary has attracted millions of visitors throughout its history and continues to provide opportunities to get closer to Australia’s amazing wildlife.

The Sanctuary was established in 1947 by beekeeper and flower grower Alex Griffiths, who began feeding the region’s wild lorikeets to prevent them from ravaging his prized blooms. The feeding of the colourful lorikeets soon developed from a local curiosity to a popular tourist attraction.

discovered by acausedesgarcons

Kylie welcomes 2008 with a new performance

On December 31st Kylie said goodbye to 2007 with a very special appearance on Jools Holland’s annual Hootenanny BBC show.

Kylie’s performed a powerful torch song version of ‘I Should Be So Lucky’ with Jools, along with ‘2 Hearts’ and a sultry cover of the jazz classic ‘Come On Strong’ accompanied by his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra.

Kylie then joined Sir Paul McCartney, at his request, to duet with him on ‘Dance Tonight’ in the last minutes of 2007!

After their respective performances, Kylie and Sir Paul sat together in the audience and watched the rest of the show.

Only a week ago Kylie’s appearance on the Dr. Who Christmas Day special achieved the show’s highest rating for almost 30 years with viewership approaching 14 million!

On January 19th in Los Angeles, Kylie will follow artists like Nicole Kidman, Cate Blanchett, Hugh Jackman and Olivia Newton John when she is honoured by her native country at a gala dinner in Hollywood to celebrate Australia Week.

She will then go back to rehearsals for her 2008 sell-out tour which opens in Paris on May 6 and reaches the UK on June 26, when she plays her first date at the Belfast Odyssey. The tour is still being expanded to cope with incredible demand, with recently announced shows in Latvia, Greece and Russia.

Kylie’s new album ‘X’ is out now and her new single ‘Wow’ will be released in the UK February.

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