TIME TO GO TO TASSIE?
I’ve never been to Tassie. Will there soon be a compelling reason for me and my partner, Donna, to go?
Will I be a same-sex tourist; getting married in the Apple Isle or, perhaps, going to a friend’s wedding?
Since the announcement that Tasmania’s Labor Premier Lara Giddings (left) wants to make same sex marriage legal in the State, there has been a lot of chatter about the impact on tourism – $100 million apparently. And here I was thinking it had something to do with equity and social justice.
Does everything come down to the bottom line for it to be valuable? Or palatable?
Premier Giddings should be applauded for her stance; her motives, judging by her words, stem from a desire to make important social change.
”Labor has a proud history of tackling discrimination and introducing important social reform,” she said. ”I expect the rest of the country will be watching closely as we work through this process.”
Gay rights campaigner Rodney Croome was overjoyed that the last Australian state to decriminalise homosexuality might become the first to allow gay marriage, reports smh.com.au.
”The message that Lara Giddings has sent the rest of the world today is that Tasmania has a heart, a heart that beats with courage and a heart that beats with love,” he said.
The other valuable message is that this action shines a light on just how out of step Julia Gillard is on this issue. There is little hope that the Federal Bill to legalise gay marriage will fly later this year.
With that in mind, Ms Giddings said yesterday: ”the time has come to act decisively on this issue”.
”There will always be excuses, arguments and questions of timing when moving on difficult and controversial issues,” she said.
”But just as we have responded to other forms of discrimination throughout history, there comes a time when no amount of excuses should stand in the way of doing what is right.”
The Tasmanian bill looks set to pass in the lower house with Labor and Greens support, but the picture is less clear in the upper house, where 13 of the 15 MPs are independents, says smh.com.au.
Well, go Tassie, I say. And if the State becomes the gay marriage centre of Australia giving it millions of dollars in tourism revenue, even better.
But let’s not forget that this is an issue about discrimination, not dollars.