Skeptical readers may have seen the name Stanislaw Burzynski floating around the internet of late. Dr Burzynski believes he has found the cure for cancer and is accepting enormous amounts of money from desperate people to enrol them in his ‘trials’.
Burzynski claims that a group of peptides which he calls ‘antineoplaston’ are the key to curing cancer. He administers this treatment in ‘clinical trials’ at his Burzynski Clinic and the Burzynski Research Institute in Houston, Texas.
It probably won’t come as a great shock to you (Burzynski not having won the Nobel prize) that independent studies have been unable to reproduce the positive results reported in Burzynski’s own studies. In fact, the mainstream medical community seems unanimously convinced that Burzynski’s claims are nothing more than ‘scientific nonsense’.
Burzynski has been constantly in trouble with the law since 1993 when he was taken to court for treating patients with a non-FDA approved drug.
He was found guilty of fraud in 1994 and had severe advertising restrictions placed on him in 1998. He was in trouble with the FDA again in 2009 for conducting trials which did not adequately minimize risk to patients. In 2010 he was up on ten charges including:
a failure to practice medicine in an acceptable professional manner
a failure to meet the standard of care
negligence in performing medical services
failure to use professional diligence
failure to safeguard against potential complications
failure to disclose reasonably foreseeable side effects of a procedure or treatment
failure to disclose reasonable alternative treatments to a proposed procedure or treatment
failure to obtain informed consent from the patient or other person authorized by law to consent to treatment on the patient’s behalf before performing tests, treatments, or procedures
non-compliant prescription or administration of a drug
unprofessional or dishonorable conduct that is likely to deceive or defraud the public or injure the public
A 2010 film, Burzynski, Cancer is Serious Business , which uncritically promoted Burzynski’s unproven claims, only served to spread his reputation as a quack and charlatan of the first order.
But here is the fun bit. In the last few weeks, a Mr Marc Stephens, who identifies himself as ‘representing’ Burzynski has been writing pseudo-legal letters to bloggers who criticize the good doctor. In the strongest possible language Stephens demands that articles critical of Burzynski be taken down ….. or else. These letters are so reminiscent of those that emanate from Nigerian scammers – or even uber-troll Dave Mabus – that it’s impossible to read them without laughing out loud.
One of the recipients of Mr Stephens’ correspondence is Andy Lewis who runs the Quackometer blog. By publishing Stephens’ hilarious threats, Lewis unleashed the ‘Streisand’ effect. This well-known internet phenomenon proves the theory that the more you try to hush something up on the internet the more likely it is to go viral. Always willing to sing for skepticism, this is my small choral contribution to spreading the word about Burzynski. Many thanks to Marc Stephens – without his trollish letters I would probably have never heard about Burzynski, let alone felt motivated to write about him.
Do pop over to Quackometer to read the full extent of Marc Stephens’ dumbfuckery. But, for your reading pleasure, here’s a short extract. Tip -it’s much more fun if you read it aloud in a very angry voice:
You have a history of lying in your articles since 2008. All articles and videos posted from your little network are being forwarded to local authorities, as well as local counsel. It is your responsibility to understand when you brake[sic] the law. I am only obligated to show you in court. I am giving you final warning to shut the article down. The days of no one pursuing you is over. Quackwatch, Ratbags, and the rest of you Skeptics days are numbered.
So, since you have a history of being stubborn, you better spend the rest of the day researching the word Fraud … Your source of information are all frauds, and none are medical doctors. You being apart of the same network makes you guilty, in the eyes of the jurors.
Be smart and considerate for your family and new child, and shut the article down..Immediately
… when I present to the juror that my client and his cancer treatment has went up against 5 Grand Juries which involved the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the National Cancer Institute (NCI), Aetna Life Insurance, Emprise, Inc., Texas State Medical Board, and the United States Government, and was found not guilty in all 5 cases, you will wish you never wrote your article. … I am going to pursue you at the highest extent of the law.
If you had no history of lying, and if you were not apart of a fraud network I would take the time to explain your article word for word, but you already know what defamation is. I’ve already recorded all of your articles from previous years as well as legal notice sent by other attorneys for different matters. As I mentioned, I am not playing games with you. You have a history of being stubborn which will play right into my hands. Be smart and considerate for your family and new child, and shut the article down..Immediately. FINAL WARNING.
I know you will be shocked to hear that Marc Stephens isn’t a real lawyer – perhaps he plays one on TV?
My good friends, Ed Brown, from the Really, Ed Brown blog and Lucas Randall (aka Codenix) have added their voices to the Streisand effect and they provide some good links to more information on Burzynski and Stephens. I’m sure they won’t mind me sharing them here, but go visit their blogs as well – they’re good ‘uns.
*That’s Chrys with a ‘y’ and Stevenson with a ‘v’, Mr Stephens. I’ll be delighted to publish any threatening letters you care to send. I have nothing to lose and a passionate dislike for bullies and frauds – especially those who target the parents of dying children (thanks Peter Bowditch).
But wait … there’s more! It seems our delightful Marc Stephens has a history of writing abusive emails in defence of Dr Burzynski. This one was directed to someone who simply warned that people should be wary of alternative treatments. It’s a doozy. Stephens says, in part:
“You are stubborn which is why god gave you so much pain in your life. God hate ugly as they say. This is also why your comments are filled with ignorance, hate, and lies. you work for the devil now.. Wake up miss cancer patient of the decade. You probably LIED about cancer as well..you need attention.
In the end I will be laughing at all of you psychos. Go drink a glass of chemo..on the rocks. You are psycho but at least you have an excuse. Radiation and chemo turned you out..you no longer think with logic.
I already know your name and address. So good luck if a suit is at your front door. You talk too much thats how I found you. Lol. Be a good girl..hope you dont have pain in your thighs anytime soon..your already a pain in the ***… Lol.”
Amongst this stream of invective, Stephens also shares his contact details:
“Feel free to contact me anytime 562-843-9398 [Long Beach/Irvine, California] or firstname.lastname@example.org. Many people are unaware that Dr. Burzynski patients are treated and are doing great. Don’t fall pray to propaganda. There is also a movie out (documentary) about Dr. Burzynski which has won numerous awards..I suggest you watch it. Thursday March 31 I am very serious. Thank you Marc Stephens. fyi..Dont think your IP is not tracked. Good night.”
Update: And a brilliant blog post on Marc Stephens, the termination of his association with Burzynski, how he has almost certainly broken California law, and the back-alley dobermans Burzynski has hired in his stead from Ken at Popehat.
If you receive a threat on behalf of the Burzynski clinic, it might be a good idea to drop Ken and his fellow real attorneys a line.
Here’s a new video from the Australian Secular Lobby (ASL). It has to be seen to be believed. In short, the ASL claims that Peter Garrett’s commitment to allow secular welfare workers into state schools is a huge sham.
Here are some salient points:
1. Gillard announces the extension of funding for existing chaplaincy to 2014 and says the program will be extended to a further 1000 schools.
2. Garrett announces the program is to be changed to allow secular welfare workers.
3. In practice, however, it appears that new ‘secular welfare workers’ will only be populating these extra 1000 schools.
4. Further, of the 1000 new places, 500 are likely to go to church schools – so probably only a maximum of 500 of 3,700 schools will have Garrett’s supposed choice of either a chaplain or a student welfare worker. In practice, as you will be see, it will far less than this. In other words, it sounds like there is equal opportunity for secular and religious workers when, in fact, there isn’t. It’s spin to satisfy the secular lobby with a nudge and a wink to the Christian lobby.
5. Before Garrett opened applications for secular workers he had already invited schools to ‘roll over’ funding to retain their religious chaplains – ensuring that most schools would have applied to keep their chaplains before they realised they could apply for a secular welfare worker. But ….
6. … just to complete the ‘con job’, secular welfare workers can only be employed through an approved supplier. Currently there are no approved suppliers of secular welfare workers. But, never fear, there are plenty of applicants to do this. Given the rush of applications it now looks certain that those supplying ‘secular’ welfare workers will be …. Christian provider organisations. A double whammy.
7. But let’s play Garrett’s grubby game for a moment and imagine there will be secular workers. What will their guidelines be? Obviously they can’t be asked to offer ‘pastoral care’ and religious guidance – can they? Apparently, yes. In Garrett’s ‘new guidelines’ chaplains and student welfare workers share exactly the same code of conduct. There is no separation between the roles at all. The new guidelines simply replace the word ‘religious’ with ‘spiritual’. The word ‘spiritual’ is used 26 times in the new guidelines – the word ‘secular’ appears only five times.
8. The new guidelines enable both chaplains and secular welfare workers to: help students explore their spirituality, provide services with a spiritual content including discussion groups and lunch-time clubs, and (with prior approval) deliver activities and services that offer a particular view or religious belief and perform religious services and rites including worship and prayer during school assembly etc. Yes – whether religious or secular, the new guidelines allow chaplains and ‘secular’ welfare workers to evangelise and proselytise providing they have approval from the principal.
9. Under the ‘old’ guidelines, schools at least had to pretend they had undertaken community consultation. Under the new guidelines the minimum ‘community consultation’ is simply ‘minuted approval by the P&C executive plus one ordinary member’. We often find P&C’s have been ‘colonised’ by evangelical Christians. This means the wider parent community doesn’t even have to be consulted about having a religious chaplain in the school.
So there you go, secular and non-Christian parents. Peter Garrett and Julia Gillard have pulled a huge swifty on the lot of you. The NSCP has been made to ‘look’ secular when in fact it is just as religious as before – if not more so. It’s all ‘smoke and mirrors’. Julia Gillard can go to the Australian Christian Lobby and say (behind closed doors of course), “Nothing has really changed,” – and she’ll be right.
This is political chicanery at its very finest.
And if you think this is all horribly grubby and underhanded, and you’re embarrassed because the Prime Minister is an atheist – never fear; remember, she assured Jim Wallace and the Australian Christian Lobby her values come from her Baptist upbringing.
Not happy? Contact Julia Gillard or Peter Garrett.
In late October 2011, Queensland Treasurer, Andrew Fraser announced his plan to introduce a Civil Partnerships Bill to the Queensland Parliament before Christmas. Since then, my friend Phil Browne and his colleagues have been actively involved in lobbying in support of the bill, and monitoring reaction to it.
It’s been an emotional experience for Phil and I hope you will be as moved (and incensed!) as I was by his very personal account from the ‘campaign trail’. What follows is a longer version of an article that will appear in the December edition of Queensland Pride.
If you are moved by the words of my guest blogger, please, take an extra moment to take some of the steps he suggests at the end of this post. Marriage equality is fast gaining momentum – the only thing that stands in our way is apathy.
Browned off by bigotry: a campaigner’s insight into the Queensland Civil Partnerships Bill
by guest blogger, Phil Browne
Queensland’s LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transexual) community has been buzzing since Queensland MP, Andrew Fraser, surprised us all by announcing his intention to introduce a Civil Partnerships Bill to the Queensland Parliament. Like many other Queenslanders, both gay and straight, I don’t care about the timing of the Bill or even if it’s a political stunt. Improving our rights late, is better than not at all.
I was among the dozens of marriage equality supporters who packed into the public gallery of Parliament House on 25 October 2011 to hear Andrew Fraser explain his proposal. I was both moved and elated when his presentation drew a spontaneous burst of applause from the public gallery. My optimism grew as the Premier spoke very strongly in support of civil unions. It was exciting to be amongst such positive energy at Parliament House.
Next, the Bill was referred to a Parliamentary Committee for their scrutiny. As part of this process, submissions were called for and public hearings scheduled. The committee is due to return their recommendations to Parliament by 21 November. Full content should be made available on here.
A return trip to Parliament the following week provided a sad reality check. LNP and independent MPs attacked the Bill with relentless vigour. It was very obvious they wanted to kill this Bill and keep us as second class citizens. With the Opposition and independents yelling their arguments and snide put downs (presumably based on homophobia and/or ignorance) coming thick and fast it was impossible not to take their opposition as a personal attack. These MPs didn’t even know me, yet here they were yelling out reasons to deny me justice. I wanted to respond to their pathetic reasoning, but we’d been warned that any calling out or even touching the gallery handrail could see us ejected. As a homosexual, you half expect this sort of abuse in the streets, but not in the place where laws are made – supposedly to protect people.
As Andrew Fraser explained, civil unions are inferior to marriage but it’s the best a state government can do. Only the Federal Government has the power to legalise same-sex marriage. So what are some MPs opposed to? Why not allow Queensland to follow Tasmania, Victoria, NSW and the ACT who already have civil unions? It certainly looks to me like they want to prevent treating queers as equal and will do anything to achieve this.
“@AndrewFraserMP Great responses to the LNP Kawana MP at Parl today “mate” Shameful LNP opposing equality. Thank you for doing right thing.”
(My reference to “mate” related to Andrew Fraser addressing a fellow MP as “mate”, rather than “the honourable member”, to indicate that the MP was being totally unreasonable in his objections to the Bill. Well done Mr Deputy Premier!)
A particularly nasty insinuation was that the Civil Partnerships Bill should be dismissed because it did not enjoy wide community support. We knew this was untrue, but Independent MP Chris Foley gloated that, on the day submissions were to close, of more than 300 submissions received, only nine supported the Bill. My fellow advocates and I were totally stunned to hear this. The four of us had each lodged a submission; could there really only be five other people in the entire state who had bothered to put their support for the Bill in writing? This was hard to believe, but it sent us into immediate action mode. I sent out a bulk e-mail and urged my social networks to get writing.
On Facebook and Twitter I wrote:
“ONLY 9 SUBMISSIONS FOR #QldCivilUnions 292 AGAINST Say you want Civil Unions BEFORE 5PM TODAY e-mail to email@example.com RT”
It was incredibly frustrating. We knew most Queenslanders were behind us, we just had to motivate the masses to make their feelings known.
As with the recent Rip & Roll debacle where the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) orchestrated a campaign to remove tasteful and discrete safe sex posters from bus shelters, our social media networks were invaluable for spreading the word and getting people to take action. We imagined how the ACL would now be lobbying their members and church groups to make submissions opposing civil unions. But each time they oppose us, we become better organized and our networks grow. Now, instead of contacting the company Adshel, we were rallying the troops to make last minute submissions. Interesting how the Australian Christian Lobby group has been involved in both these cases.
Our next task was to challenge LNP Leader Campbell Newman. Despite previously stating his support for same-sex marriage, Newman announced that, not only would he continue the LNP’s long-standing opposition to marriage equality, he would deny LNP MPs a conscience vote.
“Attending Campbell Newman “Listening post” TODAY 12:00-12:45 Seils Park Toomba Ave Ashgrove to ask why not allow Civil Union conscience vote”
Numerous equality advocates questioned Mr Newman in his Ashgrove electorate, but he was adamant his decision would stand. At least I heard it direct from his own mouth. When I vote I will remember how Newman set aside his personal convictions on justice and equality for no better reason than to score political points. It was a truly appalling display of political amorality.
The following week brought another return visit to Parliament House for a full day of public hearings by the Parliamentary Committee. Twenty-one different groups were invited to share their views about the Bill directly with the committee comprising six MPs (ALP, Independent and LNP).
The eleven groups invited to speak against civil unions were all church or “family” organisations. I’m a strong person, but I was fearful of what toxic hateful comments I might hear coming from these groups, and how I might react to them. Walking to Parliament House I saw a lesbian couple walking hand in hand, and I took this to be an omen that all would be okay. If there was any justice in the world, love would prevail.
Waiting for entry to the Parliamentary Annexe a crowd was gathering for the day’s proceedings. It was very haunting looking around the crowd at people you did not know. Were they friend or foe? It was hard to tell which side people were on. Who would soon stand up and spew filthy hate from their mouth, and who would speak of love and acceptance? All this was unknown. I acknowledged an elderly woman – could she be a grandparent here to support her gay grandchild, or someone with a narrow closed mind convinced that gays were inferior? I soon learnt she was the latter.
Upon entering the large room where the public hearing was being held, I saw rows of chairs with an aisle down the middle. For the first time it struck me, “Where does everyone sit?” Is there one side for supporters and one for opponents? It was hauntingly like attending a wedding and determining which side to sit on depending if you knew the bride or groom. I almost laughed out loud with the irony of the situation. Here I was fighting for the right of same sex couples (in addition to opposite sex couples) to have legal and social recognition of their love. I was here because I wanted, one day, to see rows of seats for bride and bride and groom and groom, and here I was deciding whether to sit on the bride’s side or the groom’s! To this day I find this rather hilarious. As people who live our whole lives with discrimination, we learn to make light of things that may otherwise upset us, though yes – it still hurts.
The public hearing began with those arguing against civil unions and Wendy Francis from the Australian Christian Lobby was first to speak. Speaker after speaker spoke of the “harm” granting civil unions would do, especially to the “children” and the “family”. It was getting very monotonous and I was wondering when they were going to say it would fade the curtains too! One “family” organisation representative compared us to nuts and bolts, saying a nut and a bolt “marry”, but two nuts or two bolts “are not biologically complementary”.
Another presented each committee member with a photo of a 2.25 metre high basalt sculpture from the 19th century BC – the Amorite dynasty. It contained the Code of Hammurabi which was 282 ancient “laws” written in cuneiform, the script of the Babylonians. Apart from thinking can someone tell this man it’s 2011 not the 19th Century BC, the statue was extremely phallic looking. Like many others, including the committee I suspect, I was left scratching my head and thinking, “When are you going to present your “real” argument?” If it wasn’t November, you could have thought it was April Fools’ Day.
Some speakers seemed not to comprehend the Bill would also allow heterosexual couples to enter civil unions. Instead they spoke only of the harm that would ensue if homosexual couples are granted this right. Even when MPs responded that civil unions will provide immediate legal protection to the children of heterosexual parents (who, otherwise, may have to wait for up to two years for recognition of their defacto status), the speakers remained opposed.
But there were some light moments. When the opponents were making their case, the committee’s raised eyebrows and shaking heads (and even laughter once when threesomes and foursomes were suggested) spoke volumes. It did occur to me (and perhaps to the committee) that these conservative Christians seem to have kinkier sex fantasies than us!
Attending the parliamentary hearing had an added bonus; by the end of the session I had composed a list of churches never to send a gay person to, for fear of them being cajoled into an ex-gay program!
Something that shocked me was that some of these opponents with such distorted views were younger people. Curiously, I was also surprised that some were so good looking – Wendy Francis, for example, is a surprisingly attractive woman, and a couple of the nice reverends would certainly turn heads in a gay bar. I guess I had this perception they would all be old and ugly, like their out-dated and ugly prejudices. Perhaps I was expecting a room full of Fred Niles and Jim Wallaces.
I was also shocked to hear representatives of so many supposedly “loving” churches make the wildly outrageous (and completely unsubstantiated) claim that civil unions will cause “social breakdown”, “family breakdown” and “breakdown the social fabric”. Silly me! I thought religion was about love, acceptance, and not judging others. It sure seems like a truck-load of judging going on here.
The tragic thing is that ignorant people with attitudes like this, many of whom are pastors and ministers, are spreading hate and using religion as an excuse. These attitudes inevitably contribute to LGBT youth suicide as people are told they are inferior and evil, and won’t get to heaven, leading many to feel they have no place in society. Sadly, they are also contributing to full waiting rooms at psychologists across the world. The human toll is immeasurable.
I was pleased to see MPs interject numerous times to correct speakers or challenge outlandish claims unsupported by evidence:
Numerous times MPs commented that speakers were arguing against same sex marriage, yet the Bill is not about marriage, and marriage is different to civil unions.
When a reverend raised threesomes and foursomes, ALP MP Grace Grace responded “Are you advocating that way?”
In response to a speaker saying that, granting civil unions was like changing the rules of a sport “for the sake of some who did not want to play the game in the particular way it was designed”, ALP MP Carolyn Male pointed out that the game of cricket and various football games have all undergone rule changes.
John-Paul Langbroek MP said, “Reverend Twinn, you say in your submission, ‘Other nations that have deviated from this bedrock definition have paid a heavy cost.’ Could you outline for the committee what cost they have paid?” “Do you have any empirical evidence?” It was great to see this being challenged, but my elation was quickly deflated by the realisation that, being from the LNP, Langbroek is bound to vote against this Bill – even if the reasons for doing so make no sense.
Everything said on the day can be read on the Hansard transcript here.
Some organisations seem to think that adding the word “family” to their name, gives them the authority to hate and judge others. As the opponents to the Bill concluded their arguments, I was left with the impression that the word ‘family’ had been hijacked. To these critics, a ‘family’ is an exclusive club owned by heterosexuals. As the self-appointed moral guardians of this club, they claim their right to determine who can join and what filthy riff-raff has to be kept out. We homosexuals, it seems, are the filthy riff-raff – and that’s on a good day!
“#QldCivilUnions Public Hearing: Christian haters shoot self in foot. MP’s raise eyebrows & shake heads in response to outrageous statements.”
Finally, we heard from the ten groups supporting the Bill. These included numerous church groups, PFLAG, Australian Marriage Equality, Healthy Communities, the Queensland Council for Civil Liberties, the Anti-Discrimination Commission and the Queensland Law Society.
I noticed that when real stories were told the committee concentrated and listened intently. As speaker after speaker stated the case for passing the Bill, I saw no negative facial expressions at all from the committee members. It was a refreshing change to finally hear the word ‘family’ connected with “love” – something curiously absent from the presentations of those who claimed to speak in support of traditional ‘Christian’ values. The word love was mentioned repeatedly in the afternoon session and I was revelling in it. Finally this is what it’s all about … LOVE. Why can’t everyone see that? It’s so logical.
Stories were told of awful discrimination against same sex couples without legal recognition and protection offered by civil unions. With my health care background I, too, had seen cases where a family who rejected a child decades ago for being being gay, suddenly appear at their child’s death bed, claiming next of kin rights, and legally ordering that the same sex partner of 30 years be excluded from seeing their partner in love and life. One such tragic story told to the committee gave me goosebumps. This evil discrimination must stop now.
By the end of the day I felt confident the committee could see through the false and unjustified arguments against civil unions and would recommend to Parliament that the Bill should proceed.
It’s been a roller-coaster ride and it’s impossible to remain emotionally detached. It’s demeaning to have perfect strangers brawling over whether you should have the same rights as other Australians. Seeing this in Parliament is challenging because you are not allowed to respond.
The battle will not be won until MPs debate and then vote on the Bill. This is likely to take place between 29 November and 1 December (with a high probability it will be the evening of Wed 30 Nov) and we have lots of work to do before then. Campaigners against the Bill, who sadly are much more militant lobbyists than us, are flooding MPs with demands they vote against it. It’s essential that our supporters – both gay and straight – make the effort to tell their MPs to vote for the Bill.
If this historic Bill is to pass, we really need to engage our real-life and online networks and encourage as many Queenslanders as possible to contact their local State MP in support of Andrew Fraser’s Civil Partnerships Bill.Please do this before 29 November.
We know some LNP MPs would like to vote for the Bill, but their Leader Campbell Newman will not allow them to vote for what is right and just – despite Mr Newman saying he supports same sex marriage – go figure! With enough pressure, some of these supportive LNP MPs may be “sick” on the day of the vote. This would mean they are not present and cannot vote against the Bill. Similarly some ALP MPs have said they will vote against the Bill, and with enough pressure, some of them may be persuaded, instead, to support the Bill.
So YES, your say can make a difference.
I’m so disappointed that I will be in Sydney when the bill is likely to be debated and voted on. For those of you present in the public gallery when it passes – PLEASE STAND UP AND SCREAM YOUR TITS OFF FOR ME. Scream for me, scream for you, scream for justice, scream for all Queenslanders who will benefit from this Bill.
Take Action Now!
To Support Civil Partnerships in Queensland
All Queenslanders, please contact your local MP.
How do you do this?
STEP 1 – Click here.
Type in your address.
This will tell you the name of your electorate.
STEP 2 – Click here.
On the right, half way down, you will see “FIND A MEMBER”
Beneath that go to “Electorate name” and click the drop down menu.
When you see your electorate name, click it to see your MP’s contact details.
To support the legalisation of Same Sex Marriage by the Federal government:
Why is Fraser only asking for civil partnerships, not same-sex marriage?
Marriage equality advocates are generally opposed to the FEDERAL government
granting civil unions, as the FEDERAL government has the power to grant us full
marriage and anything less is second rate.
However, the STATE governments don’t have the power to introduce marriage at
STATE level, so this is the best the STATES can do – plus it puts more pressure on
the Federal government to act. Tasmania, Victoria, the ACT and NSW already have
You can remain informed by following the Australian Marriage Equality lobby group. Join their e-mail list here , friend them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter @AMEQUALITY
Queensland Pride will be keeping a close eye on the passage of this Bill. You can sign up for updates from Queensland Pride on their website. Phil’s article, above, is a longer version of an article to be published in Queensland Pride’s December edition.
Anyone who supports marriage equality and gay rights (gay or straight) might also consider joining the Facebook group, Straights with Mates. “Nearly everyone knows and loves someone who is gay. This group has no religious or preferential axe to grind. It is simply about loving and accepting our gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender, queer and intersex friends, family and associates … and all those different to ourselves. And acknowledging that because we care, their fight for equality is our fight too. LGBTQI friends are very welcome here, too, of course 🙂 “
Gillard's 1984 student election commitment to support homosexual rights
Update Saturday, 3 December 2011: The ALP has just voted to change the party’s platform on same-sex marriage while simultaneously guaranteeing that nothing will change. Julia Gillard has shown what kind of a Prime Minister she is. She is a Prime Minister who will trade her conscience for political expediency. She is a Prime Minister who will sell out equality for back room deals with political power brokers like Joe de Bruyn and Don Farrell. The ALP has shown it is rotten to the core – it stands for nothing. It is a party of the past with no forseeable future. Julia Gillard has etched her place in history and history will judge her.
This piece written 15 November 2011:
I have just sent the following email to Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
The searing hypocrisy of a female PM, living in a defacto relationship at The Lodge arguing against same-sex marriage on the basis of preserving tradition is nothing short of appalling.
You deny same-sex couples the right to full equality because you believe in ‘tradition’ while happily taking full advantage of the fact that being a woman in a non-traditional role and non-traditional partnership is now socially acceptable.
Why is it socially acceptable for you to be the Prime Minister, Ms Gillard? Because thousands of brave people fought long and hard to break down ‘traditions’ which institutionalised inequality and injustice. Why are you able to hold the highest office in the land while ‘living in sin’? Because the tradition that would once have branded you a ‘scarlet woman’ has long since been overturned. This was the same tradition that kept Henry Parkes’ second wife – a woman who had once been his mistress – ostracized from polite society even after their marriage. Do you advocate that this ‘tradition’ should have been maintained?
Your hypocrisy is a betrayal of all that is right and fair. Your rejection of same-sex marriage is a betrayal of the 71 per cent of ALP voters who want your party to approve marriage equality.
As a student of history I am well aware of the Labor split in the 50s that confined Labor to opposition for decades. As a woman I am embarrassed that the person who is similarly destroying her party by artlessly mixing religion and politics is our first female (and atheist!) Prime Minister.
If you want to stand up for traditional values, Prime Minister, stand up for the traditional Labor values of equity and fairness. You think you might lose the conservative Christian vote if you support same-sex marriage? Just wait until the next election when ALP voters, abandoned by your party, vote with their feet. The swing to the Greens at the last election was just the beginnning. Perhaps you should consider another traditional Australian value you have cheerfully cast adrift – a fair go for all.
Change your mind, Prime Minister. You will lose far more if you don’t – your position, the government and the respect of the Australian people. Will you go down in history as the Prime Minister who had the chance to make a momentous change for equality and squibbed out of misplaced political pragmatism?
Your predecessor, Kevin Rudd did a lot wrong, but he will go down in history as the PM who said “Sorry” to the stolen generation. What will you go down in history for, Ms Gillard?