Gay mar­riage in ACT un­der fire

Most women think kids harm ca­reers

Sunday Territorian - - NEWS -

AUS­TRALIA’S first legally recog­nised same- sex mar­riages have sparked mixed re­ac­tion, with a re­li­gious group ar­gu­ing the move breaks down fam­ily val­ues.

As cou­ples from across Aus­tralia con­verged on Can­berra yes­ter­day to take ad­van­tage of the ACT’s Mar­riage Equal­ity Act, the Aus­tralian Chris­tian Lobby spoke out against the new law, fore­cast­ing ‘‘ big so­cial con­se­quences’’.

‘‘We hear about equal love all the time but we don’t hear about what it means for chil­dren,’’ Lobby spokesman Lyle Shel­ton said yes­ter­day.

Since the ACT passed its law in Oc­to­ber, 47 same-sex cou­ples had reg­is­tered an in­ten­tion to marry, with up to 20 cer­e­monies sched­uled for yes­ter­day, the ear­li­est op­por­tu­nity.

The ACT govern­ment hailed its leg­is­la­tion as a sym­bol of ac­cep­tance, tol­er­ance and com­pas­sion.

But the Com­mon­wealth has al­ready chal­lenged the va­lid­ity of the law in the High Court, with a rul­ing due on De­cem­ber 12.

‘‘Re­gard­less of what hap­pens in the High Court, the sig­nif­i­cance of this mo­ment will re­main and send a strong sig­nal about what a con­tem­po­rary 21st-cen­tury Aus­tralia should look like,’’ ACT At­tor­ney- Gen­eral Si­mon Cor­bell said.

Aus­tralian Mar­riage Equal­ity di­rec­tor Rod­ney Croome said the cer­e­monies were about love, com­mit­ment and fam­ily, not pol­i­tics or law.

‘‘This is an im­por­tant day for same-sex cou­ples and our fam­i­lies, but also for the na­tion, be­cause today Aus­tralia is a fairer and more equal coun­try that val­ues love more highly,’’ he said.

Ha­ley Wil­son and Sam Her­mes were the first same-sex fe­male cou­ple to be mar­ried at 7.30am. The union was wit­nessed by their seven-yearold son, Bai­ley.

‘‘It feels amaz­ing that it’s be­ing recog­nised and we only hope it stands up now,’’ Ms Wil­son said. ‘‘It feels all a bit sur­real, but it feels right.’’ MORE than 80 per cent of women think hav­ing a child will harm their ca­reers, ac­cord­ing to a sur­vey.

The re­search into women’s views on their work-life bal­ance found two- thirds be­lieve ex­pec­ta­tions they face to suc­ceed in a ca­reer and as moth­ers are un­re­al­is­tic.

Most women also agreed there was a widely held be­lief that those who work flex­i­ble or re­duced hours are less com­mit­ted.

But de­spite their con­cerns about how so­ci­ety per­ceives them, 89 per cent still be­lieve be­ing a work­ing mother pro­vides bal­ance in their lives and makes them bet­ter role mod­els.

The find­ings re­flect the views of the first 10,000 peo­ple polled by Project 28-40, which rep­re­sents the age group dur­ing which women’s ca­reer pro­gres­sion typ­i­cally slows down com­pared with men’s.

The study was com­mis­sioned by He­lena Mor­ris­sey, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Amer­i­can com­pany New­ton In­vest­ment Man­age­ment, who has nine chil­dren.

Ms Mor­ris­sey said that while women are torn be­tween work and home, they are also tied to the be­lief that a se­nior role at work in­evitably means longer hours and more stress.

‘‘We have to re­de­fine suc­cess at work. It should be judged on out­put, not hours put in,’’ Ms Mor­ris­sey said.

‘‘I think women have this per­cep­tion that to be suc­cess­ful you need to be avail­able 24/7, which is a shame be­cause it puts peo­ple off.’’

Pic­ture: AP

West Aus­tralian up­per house MP Stephen Daw­son, right, gives his hus­band Den­nis Lid­de­low a kiss af­ter they mar­ried in front of Par­lia­ment House yes­ter­day

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