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MARRIAGE DIGEST: Australia P.M. moves to ban ‘gay marriage’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–In part a reaction to legalized same-sex “marriage” in Canada and the United States, Australian Prime Minister John Howard is moving to change his nation’s laws so that only traditional marriage will be recognized.

Howard announced May 25 that his government would move to insert the words “man” and “woman” into Australia’s Marriage Act to head off court challenges.

Three Canadian provinces and one American state –- Massachusetts — have legalized same-sex “marriage,” and three homosexual couples are suing to have their Canadian marriage licenses recognized in Australia.

“I believe in these measures,” Howard said, according to the Taipei News. “They wouldn’t be coming forward if I didn’t believe very strongly in them.”

Until now the Marriage Act has had no formal definition of marriage, The Courier-Mail in Australia reported. It was assumed that marriage consisted of one man and one woman.

The Courier-Mail said that the legislation is expected to pass.

Australia’s battle is similar to what American states will face in the coming months, as same-sex couples acquire marriage licenses in Massachusetts and sue to have them recognized in their home states.

In an effort to protect the legalization of same-sex “marriage” nationwide, President Bush has backed a constitutional marriage amendment -– a stance that apparently has drawn criticism from homosexual activists worldwide.

“It hasn’t worked for Bush and it won’t work for Howard,” said Somali Cerise of the New South Wales Gay and Lesbian Right Lobby. “Most Australians want to live in 2004, not the 1950s, which is where Howard wants to drag us.”

MASS. UPDATE -– The Massachusetts cities of Provincetown, Somerville, Worcester and Springfield have stopped issuing marriage licenses to out-of-state same-sex couples, although other localities apparently have continued.

At least two cities, Attleboro and Fall River, have been asked by Republican Gov. Mitt Romney to submit records showing if they issued marriage licenses to out-of-staters, the Associated Press reported. Officials of both cities have said publicly that they defied an order by the governor.

A 1913 law prevents the state from issuing marriage licenses to out-of-state couples if the license would not be recognized in their home state. Romney says that because Massachusetts is the only state with legalized same-sex “marriage,” licenses should be issued only to couples who live in Massachusetts or plan to move there.

But legal challenges may be forthcoming to the 1913 law. Attorney Gretchen Van Ness, who is representing Provincetown, said legal action is possible.

“[W]e’re trying to take some time and figure out what our right next move is,” Van Ness told the AP.

In addition, the Alliance Defense Fund, an Arizona-based pro-family group, announced May 26 that it had filed suit against clerks in Provincetown, Somerville and Worcester, seeking to stop them from issuing marriage licenses to out-of-state couples. ADF filed the suit on behalf of former Boston Mayor Raymond Flynn and Massachusetts businessman Thomas Shields.

Same-sex “marriage” became legal in Massachusetts May 17 by order of the state’s Supreme Judicial Court.

BILL SEEKS REMOVAL -– Massachusetts state Rep. Philip Travis, a Democrat and vocal opponent of same-sex “marriage,” has filed a bill that would remove Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Margaret Marshall from the bench. Marshall wrote the controversial decision that legalized same-sex “marriage” in the state.

Travis said Marshall, who has spoken to homosexual activist groups in the past, had already decided the case before it was heard.

“I think we should go after the person who was the source of the problem,” he told AP.

The bill, though, faces an uphill battle.

ORE. CASE APPEALED — Seeking to overturn part of an April ruling by a lower court judge, the state of Oregon filed an appeal May 27 with the state court of appeals.

The appeal of Judge Frank Bearden’s ruling seeks to delay his order requiring the state to recognize the approximately 3,000 marriage licenses Multnomah County issued to same-sex couples, The Statesman Journal reported. In that ruling, Bearden also ordered the county to cease issuing the licenses to homosexual couples.

Pro-family supporters are collecting signatures in a petition drive that would place a constitutional marriage amendment before voters this November. They must collect some 100,000 signatures by early July.

CASE GOES TO MO. SUPREMES –- A case that will decide when Missouri citizens will vote on a proposed constitutional marriage amendment is heading to the state supreme court. The court has scheduled a June 1 hearing for the case, which could affect everything from the state’s gubernatorial election to the presidential race.

State Democrats want the amendment on the August ballot to minimize its impact on statewide and nationwide elections. Republicans want it on the November ballot. Although polls have shown that majorities in both parties oppose same-sex “marriage,” the issue seems to energize Republicans a bit more.

Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon, a Democrat, filed suit May 20 against Secretary of State Matt Blunt, a Republican. Nixon lost on the trial court and the appeals court level before winning a hearing before the state’s high court.

Blunt faced a May 25 deadline in notifying local election officials of items that will be on the ballot, AP reported. Republicans in the legislature planned on waiting past that deadline to send an official copy of the amendment to Blunt, which would have forced a November vote.

CREWS MAKES IT OFFICIAL — Ronald A. Crews, former head of the Massachusetts Family Institute, announced May 25 that he is running as a Republican for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Crews, who supported a push for a state constitutional marriage amendment, must first win a September primary before he can face U.S. Rep. James McGovern, a Democrat.

“Will we be a nation where children will have the privilege of having a mom and a dad, or will we be a nation where we don’t even know what the word marriage means anymore?” he asked during his announcement, according to The Providence Journal.

PA. HOUSE DELAYS –- The Pennsylvania House of Representatives voted May 26 to delay a debate on a same-sex “marriage” ban until after the November elections. The vote was 96-94, AP reported.

The proposal by state Rep. Jerry Birmelin, a Republican, would ban same-sex “marriage” and apparently Vermont-type civil unions.

While Pennsylvania already has a defense of marriage act banning same-sex “marriage,” supporters say the bill would strengthen current law.
For more information about the national debate over same-sex “marriage,” visit

    About the Author

  • Michael Foust