I who may well be...

Musings from the perspective of a human being who may well be not locatable completely within the usual categories of male or female or gay or straight or transsexual or intersexed or exploiter or exploited or supplier or consumer or performer or spectator.

Thursday, June 01, 2006


Good news from Australians for Marriage Equality! Given the choice, a typical Australian employer chooses to do the right thing, and not kowtow to the federal government's refusal to recognise marriage of people not in breeding pairs. Here's the press release from AME:


1 June 2006


Australian Marriage Equality (AME) has congratulated Qantas Airways Limited for changing its policy on recognising the same-sex marriages of its employees.

"Many employers already, no doubt, recognise their employee's same-sex marriages", said Glenn Limond, AME national secretary.

"But this policy change is worth noting. Qantas is not only a very large employer, with over 30,000 staff, but is also an Australian icon".

Qantas wrote to an employee in March 2005 refusing to update his marital status in their records to 'married': "We are unable to approve your marital status in eQHR (employee records) as married because Australian law does not recognise same sex marriages. Pursuant to the terms of the Marriage Act 1961 (Cth), marriage is defined as the union of a man and a woman."

But Qantas has now changed its position.

On 26 May 2006, Qantas Executive General Manager People, Kevin Brown, wrote to the same employee: "Qantas is willing to recognise you...as married and will record your status as married. Qantas will treat you and your family in the same manner as it treats all married staff."

AME believes the recent decision was based, in part, on an email the employee forwarded to Qantas on 21 May 2006 from the former Chief Justice of the Family Court, the Honourable Alastair Nicholson AO RFD QC, in which he wrote: "While Qantas correctly setsout the present state of Australian law, I agree with your view that there is nothing to stop a private employer permitting your husband to be described as your spouse on its documentation and I can see no legal impediment to it doing so. Indeed it would in my view be an appropriate step for it to take. It may be that it takes the view that to so describe your husband could constitute an admission by it in the event of your marital status being relevant in proceedings against it, but I do not think that this is so because the description in its records could not operate to change the law."

After sighting the employee's Canadian marriage certificate, Qantas has now updated its employee records to reflect his status as 'married'and recordedthe description of his partner as 'husband'.

"Australians are increasingly unwilling to co-operate with discriminatory laws. The end of the same-sex marriage ban cannot come quickly enough", said Glenn Limond.

Further information:
Glenn Limond
0416 106 797


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