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Australia, Kylie and the case for equality (oh, and a bit of Bowie too)

It’s three monumental years since I set foot in Australia. There are many things I love about this sunburned country: the climate, the standard of living, the matey egalitarian society (still quite a novel concept for a Brit), the beaches and the flora and fauna to name just a few. Even the relative safety and cleanliness of the streets. But being English I’m actually posting to tell you about two Aussie things I don’t like. Neither will be a surprise.

Firstly, the fact that Oz still doesn’t have equal marriage in 2017 is a prehistoric travesty. Hell, it’s 15 years since I lived in The Netherlands, where gay marriages had already been law for a year.

This beautiful continent has slipped so far behind the rest of the civilised world it’s becoming a laughing stock.

For example, since the Labor government of the 1990s, same-sex foreign partners of Australian citizens have been able to receive residency permits in Australia known as “interdependency visas” but even though equal marriage has been legalised in 25 countries, two Aussies of the same sex still can’t have their vows recognised.

This is a disgraceful anomaly that can be traced back to 2004, when same-sex couples were prevented from marrying by amendments to the federal Marriage Act (1961) by the homophobic Howard Government, the so-called ‘Liberals’.

Slightly less important, but if you know me at all you’ll already know how much I dislike the gays fawning and simpering over Kylie Minogue, or Vylie, the singing budgie as I affectionately call her. She can’t sing, she can’t dance, but for some strange reason, she’s gone a long way, even if her budget budgie toilet water doesn’t.

I remember being in a nondescript watering hole in Copenhagen with my local host, Fernando Solimando, and Vylie was played (quelle surprise!). When I voiced my dissatisfaction at the pathetically predictable song choice (I can’t remember which piece of pap it was, but let’s be honest, the majority are versions of each other with extremely predictable and conventional structures), this effete little queen told me it was “blasphemous” to diss Ms Minogue in a gay bar.

Like, really?

It’s that horrendous homo-hegemony that I deplore even more than her ‘singing’. Whatever happened to being original, and yourself rather than a superficial stereotype?

Kylie very cleverly manages to come across as incredibly inoffensive and ineloquent in interviews. Obviously a carefully constructed product of the Stock Aitken Waterman machine forever then (no one can really be that dull. Indeed, in the past Kylie very successfully managed to keep her drug-fuelled party girl antics out of the press), but you’d think even a lightweight construct such as Budget Budgie wold have had some lessons from her PR in how to string more than two sentences together.

Quite honestly, I’ve heard sink fulls of dishwater around more interesting.

That aside I don’t know much about Kylie as a person (and I’m very happy about that). However, today’s news that she’s split from her fiancé did remind me of one thing. Joshua Sasse announced last year that even though they were engaged the couple had decided not to marry until everyone in her home country has the right to do so. He said:

“We are not comfortable getting married until this law is passed in Australia. I simply can’t fathom on any level, whether it’s moral or religious or anything, that I have the right to get married and to marry the person that I love and that somebody else doesn’t because of their sexual orientation.”

Well way to go Kylie! Their union may not have lasted but the utmost respect to both of them for their selfless and socially aware actions. This announcement was probably the greatest thing any Minogue has ever put their name to. And it sounds like other happy heteros are following their lead.

So the moral of this post is this: if you’re engaged or planning to get engaged to your opposite sex partner I ask you to use that social conscience we know you have, and ask yourself why do you need to get married at this particular time? Can it wait until your brothers and sisters are afforded the same basic human right?

You bet it can.

Steve Pafford

First published : Facebook, February 2014
Brace yourselves, here’s Vylie in her best reptilian ‘voice’ trying to cover a Eurythmics classic. Eight years later and I’m still laughing/cringing my head off.
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