law

All posts tagged law

NY 4 Marriage Equality

Published June 25, 2011 by Michael C Leeson

Today, NY Senate passes Marriage Equity Act 33 -29, which enables long overdue recognition of same-sex civil marriages in New York State. I congratulate the many advocates for their commitment in prosecuting this hard fought battle for marriage equality and applaud these politicians for showing some leadership on this matter. On this day, New York leads America in taking another step forward towards full recognition of LGBTIQ Civil and Human rights. However, while buoyed by the Albany outcome the Rainbow Nation may want to take a moment to reflect on the journey from Stonewall to the present success.

Some 42 years ago, a rag tag army of the most marginalised members of the Rainbow Nation stood up to authorities and said through their action enough is enough. These heroes drag queens, transgender community, effeminate young men, hustlers, and homeless youth gave life to the battle for change. This event occurred at a time when the Nation sort change through the Gay Liberation Movement however it seems over time in seeking social respectability, the middle-class have sanitized our fight for change. Today, these marginal groups face the same discrimination from within the nation and wider community It is unclear how things have really changed.

As tomorrow and in 30 days, people will wake and the biases underpinning this discrimination will not have changed while challenged bigotry remains strong.  I do not believe marriage equality is the panacea for the discrimination experienced by people who identify it is but more window dressing in the campaign for social respectability. Admittedly, many would disagree with this view however, as a queer I feel strongly that contemporary activists while well meaning have missed the reason so many have spilt blood in this battle for change and not tolerance.

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The Republic of Australia

Published April 29, 2011 by Michael C Leeson

The question of an Australian Republic

From time to time people seek to mount a case for Australia to become a republic their reasoning rarely has anything to do with effective government.  As it seems the current model  has served us well in the provision of relatively stable government since federation. The Australian people have rejected this question in several referendums for various reasons the last in 1999.

Points of argument

To sever remaining ties with Britain and become an independent country?

The Constitution of Australia (PDF)  The Constitution of  Australian (HTML)

Time line

Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act 1900 (UK)

Royal Commission of Assent  1900 (UK)

Royal and Parliamentary Titles Act 1927 (UK)

Statute of Westminster 1931 (UK)

Statute of Westminster Adoption Act 1942 (Cth)

Nationality and Citizenship Act 1948 (Cth)

Australia Act 1986 (UK) Australia Act 1986 (Cth)

Documenting Democracy

This has already happened

Calls for an Australian Head of State

The role of head of state of Australia is divided between two people, the Queen of Australia and the Governor-General of Australia, who is appointed by the Queen on the advice of the Prime Minister of Australia. Though in many respects the Governor-General is the Queen’s representative, and exercises various constitutional powers in her name, the office is independently vested with many important constitutional powers by the Constitution.

Confusion about appointment of Head of State

Direct – elected by popular vote – political mandate – separation of executive branch – another lay of government – with separate mandate – powers of PM – would a politician really cede power?

Indirect – parliamentary appointment – political puppet?

If the system works, why fix it?

When Being a Man Becomes Only Another Social Lable

Published August 19, 2009 by Michael C Leeson

Transsexuals declared male without op | The Courier-Mail

The Western Australian State Administrative Tribunal ruled today in favour of two female-to-male pre-op transsexuals on a matter involving a decision by the WA Gender Reassignment Board refusal to issue them with certificates recognising “the reassignment of their gender”. The board had found against them because they had female reproductive systems, which it said was inconsistent with being male. However, in overturning the board’s decision, the administrative tribunal seemingly premised their decision on the applicants had presented as, and appeared to be, males”.

  • Both applicants had undergone bilateral mastectomies
  • Undergone testosterone treatment as a result of which each had undergone extensive physical changes consistent with being male,”
  • Each applicant intended to continue testosterone treatment for the rest of his life.
  • accepted the medical evidence that each was, and would remain, infertile for as long as he continued testosterone treatment

The tribunal said it noted that a surgical procedure was not a requirement of the state’s Gender Reassignment Act 2000. While it said a female reproductive system was “a fundamental, although not essential, physical characteristic of being female”.

Determining that

“it was not persuaded that the presence of those organs alone, in circumstances in which there was no longer a capacity to bear children … outweighed the other physical characteristics by virtue of which each applicant is now identified as male”.

WA gender decision to become test case

A layperson’s view

There are two points that stand out

  • the weight given to the appellant’s social presentation over biological factors

Therefore, gender is about social perceptions and biological features while relevant seem secondary

Does that mean gender is more about social perception? If you look like a man then you are a man and if you look like a woman then you are a woman.  The conservatives must be spinning on their heads, that a public servants has usurped the ordained order. It may also be an example of a growing view that gender is a social descriptive label, rather than a biological one.

  • Fertility issue

What was the significance around the testosterone treatment if either person chooses to cease this treatment they would more likely be able to reverse their fertility status. While the tribunal  argue the existence of a ‘full female reproductive system was important it was not essential to determining gender. Does that mean any infertile woman could also be defined as a man?

Proposed Surrogacy Law Changes – Queensland

Published August 18, 2009 by Michael C Leeson

Surrogacy changes

The Queensland Premier Anna Bligh today outlined in Parliament the Government’s plan

“…to decriminalise an antiquated law which prevents Queenslanders who want to have children from seeking the help of a surrogate mother.

Legislation decriminalising altruistic surrogacy – in other words, surrogacy where there is no financial gain – will be introduced to Parliament by the end of the year. It will also cover same sex couples wanting to have children.

I know that these are issues, which will cause a moral dilemma for some people.

But first and foremost this is about acting in the best interests of children born in these circumstances.

Decriminalising altruistic surrogacy will offer fresh hope to people who really want to become parents and bring us in to line with what’s happened in other states and territories right around Australia.”

Qld to include same-sex couples in surrogacy law changes (ABC News)

Australian gay and lesbian law blog on proposed altruistic surrogacy law changes

Current consultation activities : surrogacy –  QLD Department of Justice and Attorney-General

Employment Non-Discrimination Act (USA)

Published August 11, 2009 by Michael C Leeson

Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA)

Would prohibit discrimination against employees on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, and disability. Such protections are already available to employees of the federal government through executive orders for sexual orientation and gender identity in 1998 and 2009 respectively; this would extend them to employees in the private sector (religious organisations exempted).

First introduced in 1994

103rd Congress

House of Representatives

Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 1994

H.R. 4636 June 23, 1994 Rep. Gerry Studds (D-MA)

Died in the House Subcommittee on Select Education and Civil Rights

Senate

S. 2238 July 29, 1994 Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA)

Died in the Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources

Notes

Introduced in the following congresses 104, 105, 106, 107, 108, 110 on each occasion Gender Identity was not included and the bill either died in committee or failed on the floor when put to the vote.

111th Congress Employment Non-Discrimination Act 2009

Includes Gender Identity

House of Representatives

H.R. 2981 June 19, 2009 Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA)

Referred to the House Judiciary Committee

H.R. 3017 June 24, 2009 Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA)

Referred to the House Judiciary Committee

Senate

S. 1584 August 5, 2009 Rep. Jeff Merkley (D-OR)

Referred to the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee

Current U.S. LGBT employment discrimination laws

All employment:
Sexual orientation and gender identity Sexual orientation onlyState employment:
Sexual orientation and gender identity Sexual orientation only No state-level protection for LGBT employees

United ENDA coalition

Comparison

Australia

Commonwealth

Australian Human Rights Commission

Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986

An Act to establish the Australian Human Rights Commission, to make provision in relation to human rights and in relation to equal opportunity in employment, and for related purposes

The Australian Human Rights Commission works to promote and protect the rights

What are human rights?

Every person has inherent dignity and value. Human rights help us to recognise and respect that fundamental worth in ourselves and in each other.

Australia has agreed to uphold the human rights standards set out in a number of international treaties and declarations, including:

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)

International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)

Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)

Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD)

Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)

Related Legislation

Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex Equality

Queensland

Anti-Discrimination Commission Queensland

is an independent statutory authority established under the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991.Our core business is to receive and deal with complaints of discrimination and other contraventions of the Act, and to promote human rights in Queensland.

Anti-Discrimination legislation and decisions

Tracking Your Rights: Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender & Intersex People

Sexuality

Gender Identity & Vilification

Law

Published August 2, 2009 by Michael C Leeson

Rainbow Legal – Australian Legal Links of interest to LGBTIQ (practical & reform)

GayLawNet – comprehensive resource

Australian Human Rights Commission – Complaints: 1300 656 419

Parliament of Australia – Know & lobby your local Federal member

Australian Law

Australian Government Attorney-General’s Department

Australian Law Online

National Association of Community Legal Centres

NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby

Department of Justice and Attorney-General

Legal aid Queensland

Women’s Legal Service

Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby

Gay and Lesbian Equality (WA) Inc

Darwin Community Legal Services

Australian Coalition for Equality

Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group

Take from it what you may and your always welcome to add to the list or ask for the links to be updated