Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Rudd sides with the bigots

Whenever I look at Australian politics, I'm constantly reminded that the Australian Labor Party is neither as progressive or liberal as its New Zealand equivalent. I've had another such reminder today, with Kevin Rudd categorically ruling out any move to introduce civil unions in Australia. His reason? American-style bigotry:

The Government’s response equated the proposal with same-sex marriage equality, saying the no gay unions policy "reflects the widely held view in the community that marriage is between a man and a woman".
The furtherest they'll go is to officially recognise gay de facto couples. And this in a country which has not yet outlawed discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation at a federal level.

Civil unions are not full equality - they are "separate but equal", which never is. At the same time, they are a marked improvement, and a step on the road to full equality. Rejecting even this half-measure is the sign of a party - and a country - which is still deeply bigoted, and does not yet accept the fundamental principle that everyone is born equal and should be treated as such. We expect that from the right; to see it from the left is deeply troubling.