Australians accept marriage equality
by Rex Wockner
A national poll has found that 75 percent of Australians believe legalization of same-sex marriage is inevitable.
Marriage-equality advocates responded by calling on political leaders to act immediately.
"The tide of history is running toward equality and nothing can turn it back," said Alex Greenwich, national convener of the group Australian Marriage Equality. "Our plea to the nation's leaders is to get on with this reform instead of unnecessarily prolonging a debate."
National polls show about 60 percent support for amending the Marriage Act to allow same-sex marriage.
The new poll, conducted May 27-29 by Galaxy Research and commissioned by Australian Marriage Equality and by Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, found that 80 percent of women, 79 percent of people under age 50, 78 percent of people with young children, 71 percent of men, and 68 percent of people over age 50 see legalization of same-sex marriage as inevitable. Galaxy Research questioned 1,052 Australians over age 18. Afterward, the data was weighted by age, gender, and region to reflect the makeup of the country.
The question asked was, "Do you believe it is inevitable that eventually the law will change in Australia to allow same-sex couples to marry?"
"Australia is ready for equality for our gay and lesbian children, so it's time for political leaders to act," said Shelley Argent, PFLAG's national spokeswoman.
Argent has launched a national TV ad campaign where she is seen decorating her son's wedding cake while expressing concern, "We may never get to eat it."
"I'm ready, and so is the cake," she says. "Please, Julia ... give my son the choices and rights to emotional security and instant respect that comes from marriage."
Julia Gillard is the Australian prime minister. The ad is online at http://www.tinyurl.com/4397qys.
Croatian gay Pride Parade attacked
The gay pride parade in Split, Croatia, was attacked June 11.
Activists said thousands of opponents hurled rocks, bottles, firecrackers, flares, tear gas, eggs, tomatoes, glass, bricks, shoes, paint, cigarette lighters, and flowerpots at the 200 marchers.
They reportedly shouted, "Kill the gays."
Up to a dozen people were injured, including some reporters.
Hundreds of police officers arrested at least 135 people and escorted the marchers away from the conflict.
Organizers faulted the authorities for failing to protect LGBT marchers' right to freedom of assembly.
"None of it would have happened if they cleared the route properly," said one participant.
Gaga appears at Euro Pride
Lady Gaga addressed the Euro Pride rally in Rome June 11 and sang a down-tempo version of "Born This Way" accompanied only by her piano playing.
"It has become clear to me that my greater mission is to be part of the joyous mobilization of the LGBT community worldwide," she said in her address to the throngs at Circus Maximus park in the city center. "Today and every day we fight for freedom, we fight for justice, we beckon for compassion, understanding and, above all, we want full equality now!
"The stories of all my beautiful fans, the young soldiers, the homeless LGBT youth, anti-gay violence, the effect that the denial of gay marriage has on real families worldwide: These are the stories that must be told to the world," Gaga said. "These are the stories that will change the world. These are the stories that speak out in the defense of love. We are here today because we are not less valuable. We are here to proclaim our strength, our steadfastness and our intelligence. We will not be treated as anything less than human."
The bisexual pop star also noted that she has spoken out on these issues.
"I have spoken out all over the world, repeatedly and viciously, about these issues," she said. "I'm often questioned, 'Why so much gayspeak?' I am often questioned, 'How gay are you, Lady Gaga? Why is this question, why is this issue so important?' My answer is: I am a child of diversity, I am one with my generation, I feel a moral obligation as a woman, or a man, to exercise my revolutionary potential and make the world a better place. And, on a gay scale of 1 to 10, I'm a Judy Garland fucking 42."
She urged people to come together.
"Let us give birth to a new and international ideology. Let us come together and synthesize our histories into today. Let us be revolutionaries of love and use our human powers, our very strong human powers, to save lives and encourage unity around the world."
Prior to the rally, some 400,000 people took part in the Euro Pride Parade.
The event moves to a different European city yearly.
In Greece, meanwhile, some 10,000 people marched in the seventh Athens gay Pride Parade June 4. The turnout doubled last year's numbers.
Transsexual takes seat in Madrid Assembly
Actress Carla Antonelli took her seat in the Madrid Assembly June 7, becoming the highest-ranking openly trans elected official in Spanish history.
"It's very exciting to be here, to see the room and be seated on the bench," Antonelli said.
Spain's state Federation of Lesbians, Gays, Transsexuals and Bisexuals said, "[We] hope that this appointment will serve as an example and is supported by companies so they get used to transsexual reality and permit transsexual people to compete for jobs on equal terms with everyone else, without their gender identity being a factor."
Antonelli ran as a party-list candidate for the Madrid Socialist Party-Spanish Socialist Workers' Party.
Public opposition to Moscow Pride drops
A new poll has found that 61 percent of Russians agree with the Moscow city government's annual ban on the gay Pride Parade, down from 82 percent support for the ban a year ago.
The poll also found that 53 percent of Russians have heard about the efforts to stage the parade, up from 33 percent in a similar poll at the end of April.
The FOM poll, conducted nationwide June 4-5, found that 9 percent of Russians oppose the pride ban and 30 percent don't have an opinion on the matter.
"These results ... show that over the last years, 30 of us managed to make our voices heard by 75 million in a country which is well-known for its lack of free media," said activist Nikolai Alekseev.
Undeterred by an April ruling from the European Court of Human Rights that banning Moscow Pride is illegal, the city blocked the May 28 gay parade for the sixth time this year.
Activists responded by trying to rally near the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and City Hall. They were violently arrested.
The Euro Court declared that banning pride violates the European Convention on Human Rights in the areas of freedom of assembly and association, the right to an effective remedy and prohibition of discrimination.
Samoa may decriminalize gays
Samoa's Law Reform Commission has told the government to legalize male-male sex and cross-dressing.
Current law bans gay sex and men's wearing women's clothes.
The government is likely to express support for the moves this month, after which repeal measures could be included in a bill updating criminal law.
Bill Kelley contributed to this report.