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The Age – "Gay ‘husbands’ to test their marriage in court " by Farah Farouque

February 4, 2004 Leave a comment


In a legal first, two Melbourne gay men who married in Canada are planning to apply to the Australian courts to have their union recognised at home.

Jason McCheyne and Adrian Tuazon, both Australian citizens, flew to Canada last month and exchanged wedding rings and vows in a civil ceremony at Toronto’s city hall.

Mr McCheyne, 33, and Mr Tuazon, 30, are now preparing to mount a court challenge, probably in the Family Court, to have their same-sex marriage validated in Australia.

The Brunswick couple, who identify themselves as Christians, say they are not “radical political activists”.

Until they met met six years ago, neither had “come out” as a homosexual. But now they are determined to achieve formal recognition of their union and refer to each other as “my husband”.

“We see marriage as a lifetime commitment – just like everyone else,” Mr McCheyne told The Age. “We are a family now. We are very traditional in that sense.”

The couple, who plan to have children, say they want be considered equal to their heterosexual married friends. “We wanted to marry both as a statement to ourselves and to the community,” said Mr Tuazon.

Although gay couples now hold their own informal “commitment ceremonies”, Australian law makes no provision for same-sex marriage.

Prime Minister John Howard is strongly opposed to the idea, and the ALP has also shelved an amendment to the party’s platform that would have given gay unions equal legal status to married heterosexual couples.

Greens leader Senator Bob Brown, who is gay and supports same-sex marriage, wished the men well in their legal challenge.

Mr McCheyne and Mr Tuazon married in Toronto in the province of Ontario, where courts ratified same-sex marriages in June last year. As there are no residency requirements, gay couples from around the world are flocking to Canada to achieve their marital ambitions.

A Melbourne-based lesbian couple, Jacqui Tomlins and Sarah Nichols, believe they were the first Australians to take advantage of the laws when they married in August last year.

“Our wedding was held at a lakeside cottage just north of Toronto, the service performed by a Unitarian minister,” Ms Tomlins said.

“We had vows, betrothal, signing, exchange of rings, food and Australian wine, speeches, dancing, two brides on the wedding cake, and registered with David Jones bridal service.”

The validity of overseas gay marriages has not yet been tested in the Australian courts.

Family law expert Professor Regina Graycar, of Sydney University, said: “I wouldn’t be so confident that a court would recognise such marriages, but I wouldn’t rule it out.”

Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby co-convenor David McCarthy acknowledged that it was a “grey area”, but the group supported the move to have overseas marriages recognised. “It’s a battle that has to be had,” he said.

Bill Muehlenberg, of the Australian Family Association, said validating gay unions would “radically revolutionise” marriage. “If we gave in on this one, we might as well give the whole game away,” he said.

Mr McCheyne and Mr Tuazon, with their matching white gold bands, naturally beg to differ.

[Link: Original Article]

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VAFT News – "How the issue of lesbian and gay parenting is addressed in family reports" by Eve Tauber

February 1, 2004 Leave a comment

This article reports on research which examined whether children of gay and lesbian parents are disadvantaged in any significant respect relative to the children of heterosexual parents. Previous research has indicated that lesbian and gay parents often go to great lengths to be parents, and portrays a picture of families thriving, even in the midst of discrimination. The main findings of the present research indicate that there is no evidence linking homosexuality with abuse or poor outcomes for children.

[Source: VAFT News (Victorian Association of Family Therapists) v.26 no.1 Feb 2004: 5-6]

Categories: gay, Lesbian