Gay marriage courts global rift

Who has the right to refuse two partners marriage? Someone who has never even met the couples concerned: enter President Bush...

Apparently a religious man, US President George W Bush moved last month to put a constitutional ban on same sex marriages.

Mr Bush used his weekly radio address to deliver a plea for the US Senate to formally define marriage as the union of man and woman.

He said the measure was needed because "activist courts" left no alternative.

Meanwhile, following the push from Bush, the Australian Federal Government has also moved to outlaw civil unions between homosexuals in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT).

"There are all sorts of fine relationships that don't involve a man and woman for life," Tony Abbott, Minister for Health said.

"We are not against them. But they are not marriage.

"The trouble with the ACT's Bill is that it tries to equate these civil unions with marriage and that's just not something the Federal Government accepts."

Prime Minister John Howard said he had scuttled the ACT's law because it challenged a major characteristic of Australian society.

"The Bill is plainly an attempt to mimic marriage under the misleading title of civil unions," Mr Howard said.

"We are not anti-homosexual people or gay and lesbian people, it is not a question of discriminating against them, it is a question of preserving as an institution in our society marriage as having a special character."
 
Not discrimination? So the government deciding what is and isn’t worthy of marriage is a democracy that accepts all people?

Discrimination in Australia is still continuing with the treatment of Aboriginal Australians who are still fighting for equality.

However, ACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope said he would lobby his federal labour colleagues and Governor-General Michael Jeffery not accept the Howard government's decision.

"I can make representations to the governor-general imploring him not to be party to an act that would discriminate against Australian citizens who have a different sexual orientation," Mr Stanhope said.

"I would be gravely disappointed if my federal colleagues, in the labour Party did not seek at least - acknowledging the numbers in the Federal Parliament - to have the disallowable instrument disallowed.

"It is simply not appropriate that federal parliament, through its processes, send that signal that the Federal Parliament of Australia believes it's appropriate to discriminate against gay and lesbian couples."

Across the world this has remained one of the most talked about issues. Something that would neither determine or undermine ‘world peace’. Surely there are bigger issues at hand to deal with.

The UK last year moved to allow ‘civil union marriages’ not marriage but a union that will allow declared partners to be entitle to ‘marriage’ rights. What’s the difference? A word.

However, Spain's lower house of parliament recently voted in favour of allowing gay couples to marry and adopt children.

The bill will became law, making Spain Europe's third nation after the Netherlands and Belgium to allow same sex marriages.

But a Roman Catholic group had presented MPs with a 600,000-signature petition opposing the legislation and were lobbying hard for a referendum on the issue.

And Pope Benedict XV1 has just called for people to unite against the issue and encourage family life.

What the Pope does not grasp is the idea that a family doesn’t necessarily bring happiness. Love does, something Spain agrees with,

“We are not legislating, ladies and gentlemen, for remote unknown people - we are expanding opportunities for the happiness of our neighbours, our work colleagues, our friends, our relatives,” Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said.

This global argument isn’t about laws, rights or discrimination but it’s about a basic human need.

The need we all share, the need for love. And who another decides to love for ever, should not be decided or condemned by any other.