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Australia Considers New Forms of Discrimination


The lower house of Australia's Parliament is expected to pass a bill barring single women and lesbians from using in vitro fertilization to become pregnant. Fortunately, the upper house may reject it. The opposition Labor Party and the Democrats—who usually vote with the government—said they would vote against it.

A dozen protesters demonstrated against the proposed legislation, accusing the government of sexism. "We should be working to eliminate discrimination in all forms, not introduce new ones," said Erica Lewis, one of the protesters.

Conservative politicians proposed this anti-woman legislation after similar legislation in Victoria, one of Australia's states, was successfully challenged in court. The judge ruled that the state law clashed with federal laws prohibiting sex discrimination. This decision led to the conservative attempt to water down the federal laws to accommodate the discrimination.

Prime Minister John Howard's ruling conservative coalition is promoting the legislation to limit the reproductive rights of women who don't have sex with men to forego their reproductive rights, using as a smokescreen a professed concern for children. "The government is doing its part to protect the rights of children to have the care and protection, other things being equal, of both their mother and father," attorney general Daryl Williams said.

Wouldn't it be great if the government directed this kind of fervor toward ensuring that men learn to properly care for and protect the young ones of our society? After all, they are the gender that has been particularly negligent and exploitative of children. It would make a whole lot more sense if the government required men to take classes on children's and women's rights, and forced men to undergo extensive training in caretaking and nurturing, before allowing them to reproduce.

(source: Associated Press, August 17)



Dodgers Apologize to Lesbians who Kissed


A lesbian couple was thrown out of Dodger Stadium on August 8 after they kissed during a game against the Chicago Cubs. When Danielle Goldey and Meredith Kott were escorted out of the ballpark by eight security guards, they were not told why they were being ejected. Later they learned that someone had complained about their kiss, saying that children should not be exposed to "those people."

Goldey and Kott said that their companions, a straight couple, also kissed but were not ejected. They had planned to file a civil rights lawsuit unless the Dodgers apologized.

Fortunately for everyone, the Dodgers came through with their apology. But they didn't stop there. They donated 5,000 tickets to three gay and lesbian organizations and promised to provide sensitivity training for their employees. They also invited Goldey and Kott to sit behind home plate for a game.

Goldey and Kott generously forgave the Dodgers. "I think they stepped up to the plate more than they had to," Goldey said. "All we wanted was an apology." Kott said, "I'm extremely happy with the results."

(source: Associated Press, August 23)

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