Gay marriage in ACT under fire
Most women think kids harm careers
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.’’
West Australian upper house MP Stephen Dawson, right, gives his husband Dennis Liddelow a kiss after they married in front of Parliament House yesterday