Lesbian and gay community advocates have welcomed the results of a new opinion poll demonstrating that Queenslanders support further gay law reforms. The Galaxy poll conducted in December 2008 found that a majority of Queenslanders support civil unions, marriage and full legal recognition of same sex parents.
“Despite being regarded as one of the most homophobic states in Australia, the majority of Queenslanders agree with further law reform to remove discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people”, said Louise DuChesne, spokesperson for Action Reform Change Queensland (ARCQ).
“Currently, Queensland law treats same sex de facto couples differently to heterosexual de facto couples when it comes to their children.
“Community advocates have been calling on the Bligh Government to recognise same sex parents and provide full entitlements for their children.
“This poll shows that law reform in the interests of children would be supported by at least two thirds of Queenslanders. It’s time for action from the Government.
“The Queensland Attorney-General, along with other state and territory Attorneys-General, supported recent reforms to federal family law to recognise non-birth parents in same-sex relationships. Why isn’t he making similar changes to the laws in this state as well?
“It’s crazy to have one set of rules at the federal level and another set at the state level. It’s time that the legacies of homophobia were removed in Queensland,” said DuChesne.
Couples should be able to have a civil union with the same legal rights and responsibilities as marriage, while 54% of Queenslanders believe that same sex couples should be able to marry.
“There is no impediment to the Queensland Government moving ahead on civil unions”, said Paul Martin, spokesperson for the Queensland Association for Healthy Communities (QAHC).
“In the absence of gay marriage, which is in the federal jurisdiction, a Queensland-based civil unions scheme would provide documentation and certainty for same sex partners. “Attorneys-General around Australia have agreed to put in place state-base schemes but we’ve seen nothing yet from the Queensland Government”, said Martin.
Significantly there was almost complete agreement that schools should actively prevent and respond to homophobic bullying. A staggering (96%) of Queenslanders support a proactive approach by Education Queensland to make schools a safe and positive experience for all young Queenslanders. Coordinator of Open Doors Youth Service Lisa Thorpy welcomes this finding and has called on the Queensland Government to enact the will of the people.
Thorpy told QNews, “clearly current school anti-bullying measures do not adequately protect gay students; this is providing a discriminatory and unsafe educational environment for gay students and schools need to take further actions to ensure ALL students are safe at school.”
The poll was commissioned by a coalition of community groups and activists based in Queensland advocating for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights and funded by PFLAG Brisbane (Parents & Friends of Lesbians & Gays) and QAHC.
The report from the Galaxy Poll is available at www.qahc.org.au/election09