Bendigo Advertiser letters to the editor

Support to name pool after Olympian

I fully support the Kangaroo Flat Community Enterprise request to name the new Olympic pool in memory of Bendigo’s only Olympic Gold medal swimmer, Faith Leech.

As a youngster at the time I remember how her victory brought great honour to Bendigo district and beyond.

Time has arrived for the City of Bendigo to give honour to a great Bendigonian

John Forbes OAM, Mitiamo

Concern about proposal

It seems from the letters and front page (August 12, 2017) that we are not at risk of a really balanced debate about marriage from the Advertiser. It's weighted in favor of what is misleadingly termed 'same-sex' marriage.  In fact, it should be made clear that what is being proposed is 'transgender' marriage. i.e. "the union of any 2 people".

Under this definition the right to marry would not be determined by sex or gender.  Same sex couples, and couples including people who are intersex or of a non binary gender would be able to marry.

But the real issue at stake is the lack of legal protection for basic rights of freedom of religion, speech and conscience. 

This is already a problem and can only get much worse if this marriage law is passed. 

That has been the unpleasant and costly experience of anyone exercising that conscience in countries having already legislated 'same sex' or multi-gender marriage. 

On top of that, schools  would be forced to teach that new definition whether or not it agrees with their ethos. It would be Safe Schools on steroids.

Nothing should be done until this risk to basic human rights is resolved. 

Helen Leach, Bendigo

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Time to right the wrongs over same-sex marriage

IT is time for our federal parliament to right its wrongs on same-sex marriage.

In 2004, two same-sex couples, who both married earlier in Canada, sought clarification of their marriage status in Australia. Their cases were set to be heard in the Family Court on 23 August 2004.

The then prime minister, John Howard, being made aware of this, raced through legislation to ensure that same-sex couples could neither marry in Australia nor have same-sex marriages conducted overseas recognised in Australia.

The Marriage Amendment Bill 2004 was introduced to the parliament on June 24, 2004 and included, for the first time, a definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life. 

The bill further stated that: Certain unions are not marriages.

A union solemnised in a foreign country between: (a) a man and another man; or (b) a woman and another woman; must not be recognised as a marriage in Australia. 

The bill was rushed through ensuring it was passed into law before the application was heard in the Family Court. Amendment of the Marriage Act (1961) received royal assent on 16 August 2004, exactly one week before the hearing in the Family Court.

Due to the new legislation being enacted, the application to the Family Court was withdrawn.

We must also remember that the issue of same-sex marriage is about not only human rights but also equality for all. 

Whether a civil or religious marriage takes place, the marriage is legally binding. Therefore only a change to the Marriage Act 2004 by the federal parliament can make same-sex marriage a reality in this country.

It is now the responsibility of all elected members of parliament to deal with this and overturn Howard's stunt and right his wrong.

It doesn't need a plebiscite or a postal vote.

Simply a free vote in Parliament.

Ron Egeberg, Soldiers Hill