Congratulations Michael & Anthony
Do you remember the Adshel controversy?
QAHC (the former Queensland AIDS Council) ran a safe-sex awareness campaign. Our “friends” in the country’s premier homo-haterz club Australian Christian Lobby (ACL), specifically Mrs Wendy Francis (yes, the former Senate candidate whose Tweets compared gay marriage with legitimising child abuse) found this poster objectionable:
Mrs Francis’ reaction was to use her resources as a person of note within the ACL to astro-turf the billboard companies who were carrying the poster.
The first company General Outdoor Advertising said “well we don’t see the problem with the ads, by all means we will see you at the Advertising Standards Bureau…” (obviously I’ve paraphrased). The second company (from which the controversy takes its name), Adshel fell for the ACL’s astro-turfing and pulled down the posters.
Feeling hurt, angry, and marginalised, Michael James (the one in the back of the photo) launched a Facebook event that explained the situation. The event went viral, attracted insane media attention and eventually Adshel reinstated the QAHC campaign. A few weeks later Mrs Francis took her complaints to the Advertising Standards Bureau, lost and later went off to be Queensland director of the ACL.
So yeah, it was a huge victory for common-sense and the equality movement as a whole.
I know what you’re wondering: why is Newburrie writing about this? Well just stick with me and it will make sense in a few moments.
When my first editorial was published, I found myself in an odd position: as an intensely private computer-nerd I was suddenly interesting to the media. Then when Carl Katter came out a few days later, things went nuts and I wrote a follow up editorial.
One of the earliest people to join 32001names was Michael James. Not only did Michael offer his support, but he also called to see if I was coping (personally) with all the media attention that comes with standing up to the so-called “drunk-uncle of Australian politics”. It was then I realised that Michael is an extraordinary man.
Today was an historic day in Queensland – gay couples finally received some state recognition of their relationships. And, while my opinion of the Civil Partnerships Act has not changed, Michael and Anthony went to register their relationship this morning.
Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, they went to George Street to attend the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages, to exchange their form, statutory declarations and fee for an official document recognising their relationship.
Brisbane traffic is awful and Michael and Anthony are ‘morning people’ so they left their house early hoping to avoid a lengthy wait in the queue. But through some strange twist of fate, the traffic was reasonable and when they arrived in George Street at 7:15 they found the place almost deserted, save for a lesbian couple (who had arrived at 5am).
At that point it dawned on Michael and Anthony: they were not only going register their relationship (something that must of seemed impossible during the height of the Adshel controversy), but they were also going to be the first gay-male couple in the state to do it.
By the time their relationship was ‘legally-recognised’ by the state of Queensland and they had left the registry, 13 more couples appeared to registered their Civil Partnerships. And the day ended with a few over 100 Civil Partnerships registered by our state.
Michael told me that there was some media support, a crowd outside and even people in office buildings cheering and waving, congratulating all the couples.
So there you have it – the first same-sex couple registered in Queensland were lesbians, and the first gay male couple registered were people who I admire greatly.
I’d like, if I may, to take this opportunity to offer my congratulations to everyone who was civilly unified (united?) today, but especially Michael and Anthony.
Michael and Anthony have been kind enough to share with us some photos from today…
Equal Love Brisbane gave Michael and Anthony an ‘Adam & Steve’ keepsake.
The couple leave, recognised by their government.
Inside the registry office