SYDNEY: City To Offer Free Weddings To Gay Couples (But Not Straight Ones) If Equal Marriage Becomes Law

The Sydney Morning Herald reports:

Gay couples – but not straight ones – will be able to marry for free in some of the City of Sydney’s most prominent buildings and parks, in a move that will outrage the progressive council’s conservative critics.

A motion passed on Monday night will allow same-sex couples to hire community facilities, halls and parks for free for 100 days if same-sex marriage is legalised following the postal survey. The offer will only be available for same-sex weddings, but existing bookings for straight couples will not be cancelled or moved to accommodate the expected influx.

Gay couples will still need to pick up the tab for audio visual services, catering and security, but will be able to hire facilities such as Paddington Town Hall free of charge.

However, Liberal councillor Christine Forster – who is gay and has taken a leading role in the “yes” campaign – voted against the motion after unsuccessfully trying to make it apply to straight couples as well.

Sydney Town Hall will also be made available for a free mass wedding should equal marriage come to pass.

  • Jonathan Smith

    yeah, so treating STRAIGHT couples as second class? how EVER could this backfire?

    • Gustav2

      No one will say we got “Special Rights and it wasn’t about Equal Rights.”

      • Jonathan Smith

        i hope that was /s ?

  • Tawreos

    I hope they vote for gay marriage, but this is needlessly antagonizing straight people for no good reason.

    • They can take it. They’ve been needlessly antagonizing us for so many years, it’s time for them to feel some of the pinch.

      • tristram

        It seems like they’re trying to sabotage the referendum – it plays right into the Christianist talking point that we want ‘special rights.’

    • MBear

      the effect will most likely be exactly as feared

      But str8s need to be antagonised. They need to get back to making more gay people and shut the hell up

  • bkmn

    I don’t have a problem with this. Gay couples have been denied the right for so long that there should be some move made to try to make up for it.

  • kcken

    This seems like an underhanded ploy to drive a few to the NO vote.

  • another_steve

    Bad idea. Nice thought, but bad idea.

    Politically speaking, that is.

    • Sporkfighter

      After kicking your ass for generations, handing you a bandaid seems a small gesture, but I see the political downside from those looking for a reason to feel oppressed.

      • another_steve

        “Feel good” politics may feel good but it’s often not the best way of bringing about change. Or the best way of changing hearts and minds.

        Progressives aren’t known for pragmatic, strategic politics. Perhaps the best contemporary example of that in the world today – and the most tragic result of it – is Hillary Clinton’s loss to Donald Trump last year.

  • Natty Enquirer

    More than equal was the problem, wasn’t it?

    • -M-

      Bad timing and perhaps a little tone deaf, but I don’t think 100 days of token reparations after centuries of discrimination is that unfair to anyone else.

  • greenmanTN

    Wait for it.

    Special rights!
    Christians oppressed!
    Heterosexuality penalized!

  • Lizard

    Great way to drive fence-sitters towards NO. All they’ll see is “GAY PEOPLE GET SOMETHING STRAIGHT PEOPLE DON’T,” and that’s exactly the narrative the “special rights” assholes want to push.

    Nice idea, but ultimately harmful to the cause at large.

    • zhera

      Should’ve waited with that announcement until after the vote.

      • Lizard

        Yeah. If they’re going to do it, announce it when it may may a lot of noise but ultimately can’t change anything.

        • Reality.Bites

          As of the 17th, 68% of votes had been received (puts participation in Canadian or American elections to shame) with the deadline Oct. 27th.

          According to The Australian, the No side would need to capture ¾ of uncast votes (presumably all get cast) to pull ahead.

          The best reliable information is that we’re witnessing a Sanders/Clinton, where the race is over but the media are generally presenting it as a horse race.

          • Lizard

            Not to delve into conspiracy theories or anything, but…could that discrepancy have motivated this?

            I guess not. The article describes the council as progressive, and I wouldn’t expect them to fall for this kind of sabotage.

          • Gustav2

            And just like the Sanders/Clinton race it will not mean anything in the end.

          • Canadian Observer

            Don’t forget the political environment in Australia, while it doesn’t apply to this postal plebiscite, the law governing federal (national) elections makes voting mandatory and this has been the case since 1924. While the fine for “not voting without good and pressing reason” is token, it has affected the way Australians view voting and elections.

          • Karen

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    • gaycuckhubby

      Yep

    • gaycuckhubby

      When I got married I happily paid the licensing fee. I take seriously both the rights AND responsibilities of marriage

    • Jeffg166

      It’s a nice gesture but “special rights” will get pointed out. Equal rights is all they need.

  • worstcultever

    God I’m exhausted from this Australia bullshit. GET YOUR FUCKING SHIT TOGETHER AUSTRALIA!

    Jesus!

    • marshlc

      If you’re from the USA, that’s the most ironic post ever…

      • MBear

        The only way some murrikkkans can make it through the day, most likely, is hoping there are pockets of sanity left in the world. Perhaps?

        • Lizard

          Am American, can confirm.

          Sometimes the news from around the world is all that keeps me going.

          • MBear

            Dreaming of pockets then, Lizard? 😉

          • Lizard

            I know this is a naughty suggestion, but I genuinely don’t know what you’re implying. 🙂

          • MBear

            actually my brain isnt awake enough yet for naughty. I just remember as a kid catching lizards and trying to keep them in pockets- thought it was common enough for some of us as kids. Sorry. Was a stretch. Could be naughty then…?

          • Lizard

            If diving into someone’s pockets is analogous to curling up in bed in the fetal position with the blankets over my head, then yes.

          • MBear

            That’s not naughty.

            Given modern political climates, thats normal…?

          • Lizard

            Ah well. I’m not very naughty.

            I read an article hypothesizing that the 2016 election and everything subsequent to it has induced a form of PTSD on a large percentage of the American public. I can’t look at the shitgibbon anymore without feeling panicky and ill.

          • MBear

            Feel your pain.

            I picked the wrong administration to give up sniffing glue

  • Gene Perry

    Fair is fair. Public parks should be Free for everybody

  • Friday

    Nice gesture to try and make up for all the BS, but of course they had to know the whining Christianists will act all persecuted by ‘Special rights’ ….for a few venues for all of a hundred days.

    • Lizard

      That’s enough. Give them an inch and they’ll take a mile.

      • Friday

        Or they’ll just fabricate something anyway, of course.

        • Lizard

          Well, there’s that.

          But handing them something like this when the vote isn’t even over yet is a huge windfall for them. Normally they just bluster and make shit up that can be easily disproven, only fooling the most idiotic of their followers. This gives them something concrete to build a slippery slope argument around.

          If the city council is going to do this (and they’ve voted to), they should have done it after the voting deadline where it can’t influence anyone’s vote.

    • paganguy

      I guess it’s to be expected when you follow a religion founded on martyrdom. If you’re not actually being persecuted, then you have to make something up.

      • Lizard

        Christians do exactly this all the time in the states. Jesus said something along the lines of “As Christians, you will be persecuted, and that’s how you know you’re real Christians.” Modern followers have interpreted that as “If I I’m not being persecuted, I’m not Christ-ing correctly,” so they just make shit up. I call it the CPC: Christian Persecution Complex.

  • Silver Badger

    Perhaps they should have been thinking about the law of unintended consequences.

  • DaveMiller135

    Gay Affirmative Action! I’m in.

  • worstcultever

    OT but this is astonishing – just look at these four pix/ads – the 1% pushing their New Feudalism is just right out in the open anymore

    https://twitter.com/maryellenmurr/status/922295795734507520

    • paganguy

      They’re not even trying to hide it any more. I used to have this argument with coworkers who would lose leave every year because policy prevented them from rolling it over and it “was never a good time” to use it. I never lost leave. I worked plenty of hours that I didn’t claim dealing with calls and emails off-hours. But even if it meant using the leave in smaller increments, I refused to give it up. Unpaid work is great if you’re doing volunteer work for charity. It’s reprehensible when you’re doing it for people who will profit from it.

  • TK

    WHEN. IS. THIS. OVER.

    I thought the mail-in ballots ended last week and the results will be in in the first week of November?

  • MBear

    100 days is NOT enough time to plan a wedding

    • Reality.Bites

      As in most places where marriage becomes legal, the first rush are not people planning a wedding, but legalizing a decades-old marriage.

      • Gustav2

        Yup, after 30 years together, all we wanted was the paperwork done. We took the first day we both could be off work the week after Obergefell. The only people disappointed were the ones who wanted a party.

      • Bj Lincoln

        That’s what we did. We had already had a commitment ceremony years before equal marriage was available close. The second it was, we filed and had a civil service in DC. This was before MD voted for marriage.

    • Friday

      I guess maybe for something you really need to rent a venue for, but I expect if the government stops blocking marriage equality, there’ll be a little more delay before it takes effect, now that I think of it.

  • Ragnar Lothbrok
    • The_Wretched

      She’s lying. I need the dollar cut offs but my best guesstimate on current data is that my tax burden will go from ~30% to 40%+. I’m not a happy camper. It’ll probably be enough to force a move.

      • Gustav2

        I don’t know what they are going to do other than the tax brackets. The Blue State punishment, the mortgage interest deduction have been taken out of the plan. Lowering the tax brackets %’s without raising taxes on the middle class will balloon the deficit beyond what Republicans can lie about.

        • Hank

          They will be cutting MEDICARE and MEDICAID spending BIG TIME!!!

          • Gustav2

            Medicare cuts will go over well with the Republican base.

    • Todd20036

      Horse shit. The $4000 is averaged. The middle class family might get $50, and the upper class might get $400k.
      But there are so many middle class relative to the upper class that it all averages out.

    • jerry

      The proposals I’ve seen so far would actually raise taxes on some middle/lower class individuals and families. And it really raises out-of-pocket costs when you factor in what they’re doing to health insurance, medicare, medicaid, and many other services, in order to afford their tax cut for the wealthy and corporations.

  • gaycuckhubby

    OT… caught Jimmy Carters CNN interview last night.
    He has the nerve to criticize Obama as a President who didn’t live up to his “wonderful statements”?
    Maybe I’m too young to remember the succesful Carter years when liberal policy reigned, but isn’t his big criticism that he couldn’t advance any of his policies?
    I would think that history will view Obama as a much more consequential leader than Carter could ever hope to be.

    Oh, also Carter thinks Hillary lost fair and square, thinks Russias influence is overblown, isn’t bothered by Trumps fondness of Putin and thinks the media is too harsh on Trump.

    • Lizard

      That’s disappointing.

      • gaycuckhubby

        Oh, and he didn’t vote for Clinton in the primaries.
        I can’t remember. Did he campaign for her or endorse her in the general?

    • worstcultever

      Gah – this is the same Jimmy Carter who hates, hates, HATES, the sexual victimization of women and girls worldwide? WTFF!?

    • Jeffg166

      He seems like a decent man but he was not a very good president.

      • gaycuckhubby

        He was before my time, but that’s the impression I got too.

      • Treant

        I was only 7 when he was elected, but even I noticed that maybe you don’t tell people not to spend money. Instant recession.

    • -M-

      Carter said stupid thoughtless nonsense about marriage equality after the Supreme Court ruling too.

  • narutomania

    And this is why I came to love Sydneysiders so much! Good on yer, mates!

  • liondon#iamnotatraitor

    Unlike American liberal politicians the ones in Australia aren’t afraid of the right.

    • gaycuckhubby

      Well obviously that isn’t working for them.

  • Yalma Cuder-Zicci

    Is this supposed to make straight people know what discrimination feels like?

  • gaycuckhubby

    Let me guess, this was a straight person’s idea?

  • Blake J Butler

    Don’t see Bernie or Nina Turner on the trail with Murphy.

    https://twitter.com/philmurphynj/status/922286094959497217

    • gaycuckhubby

      I saw that Bernie pulled out of a conference to concentrate on bringing aide to Puerto Rico. Do we know how he’s doing that? I would think the best way would be to write a recovery Bill and get it passed through Congress.
      LOL LOL LOL

      • Blake J Butler

        He’s visiting Puerto Rico, skipping the conference he was supposed to be the head speaker of the women’s conference, which he was condemned for because of the wonky views he has/had on women and thought for a women’s conference they didn’t think to give that spot to say Maxine Waters instead or someone else.

        Not a lot of tweets on Puerto Rico and baby Huey’s response to the disaster there but there are a fuckload of economy tweets he made time to make. He’s covering because Bernie got burned from the conference.

  • easygoingmister

    Why did I just get a cold Dickens’ chill all over?

  • Hank

    Nice plan, however, considering that the vote is NON_BINDING, even if it wins a BIG Whopping YES, there is still NO guarantee, that the powers that be in Parliment, will vote for SSM!!!!

  • gaycuckhubby

    Stupid idea. Why not just have free weddings for anybody for 100 days? You wouldn’t lose that much extra money and it would Advance the idea of equal marriage rights

    • Lizard

      The article mentioned straight bookings not being influenced by the “expected influx.” Maybe they’ve already spent the money and can’t refund it.

      • gaycuckhubby

        Then dont waive the fees. There’s no point in it really

        • Rusty Redfield

          The point seemed to me to be that for years, gay people had been paying for marriage-related facilities that they had no right to use; the 100-day period was a kind of catch-up.

  • Kevin Perez

    This is unnecessary and counterproductive.

  • Leo

    OT. Interesting media scuffle happening in the last few hours…

    Megyn Kelly’s husband is accusing Fox PR’s Irena Briganti of feeding negative stories to Daily Beast’s Lloyd Grove and Variety’s Liz Wagmeister to derail her show. Grove’s denied it. My thoughts, it’s not like any help is needed to flop on it’s own merits.

    • Treant

      I asked my mom about Megyn Kelly and she said she’d seen it once for about ten minutes and turned it off. And she didn’t go back for Kathy Lee and Hoda. Her best friend felt the same way.

      I’m not the Megyn Kelly audience, so I never bothered with her at all.

  • Sam_Handwich
  • David Walker

    Frankly, I don’t like this. I guess it’s like climate change/global warming. Same sex marriage and marriage equality sound pretty much alike, but I much prefer marriage equality, and this particular red flag doesn’t help.

    Jack and I faced the reality of marriage equality when we discovered we’d both lose part of our Social Security benefits if we married…as does anyone. We couldn’t afford the loss of income, so we decided to remain shacking up. It’s why gramps is living with That Woman in Florida and neither intends to marry. BUT that’s the point…both gays and straights are denied full SS benefits once married. That’s not just a same sex marriage thing; that a marriage equality thing.

    • Treant

      In our case, the estate came into play. If I drop dead tomorrow, he’d have to pay through the nose to inherit my estate. Married, the state taxes drop dramatically.

      • David Walker

        Exactly. Marriage equality, because the same would apply if you were a straight couple.

  • EyeJelly

    If ‘Yes’ wins, there will be an initial surge in same-sex weddings across Australia. A surge in weddings means a surge in spending. The Sydney city government is trying to bring as much of that spending to Sydney as possible.

    This measure may seem like a political statement, but in the end, for better or worse, it’s all about the money.

    • TexasBoy

      True, but straight couples spend money on their weddings, too. If it is good for the economy, it should be good for both gay and straight couples. If it is for gay couples only then it becomes, by default, a political statement.

  • JWC

    Uf they should win they should be gracious about it and be inclusive (after all that what this was all about) not exclusive It shouldn’t be an “in your face” victory Leve that to the opposition

  • Publius

    This is a bit cringeworthy. Gay people don’t want free stuff and privileges straight people don’t have. The services should be available at charge or no charge, on an equal basis. Moves like this only embolden the position of the No side.

    • Robincho

      Good on Forster for voting against this…

  • TexasBoy

    It’s nice to celebrate marriage equality. But equality means the freebie should be offered to ALL couples, gay or straight.

    • GanymedeRenard

      Oops, I just posted something very similar. I should’ve scroll down first. 🙂

  • dagobarbz, fine Italian shoes

    So much for “marriage equality.” Now sit back and let the haters screech on about this.

  • Phil2u

    Oh, I like the idea of a single free mass wedding, celebratory and all, but the rest is exclusionary and not in anyone’s interest. Good winners do not flaunt victory.

  • geoffalnutt

    Great. Now we’ll have millions of straight men dressing up like Ethel Merman just so they can say “I do” for free.

  • Pip

    That’s not equal.

    • Tor

      I agree. It’s a nice sentiment, but it will only lead to acrimony.

  • Jean-Marc in Canada

    While it’s a kind gesture, it will only foment resentment. If they offer it for, say, the first day that’s fine, but after that, pony up like everyone else.

  • John Calendo

    Well, that’s a stumble. Sydney should offer free weddings to all couples for a brief time in celebration. The whole battle has been to break down a distinction between gay marriage and straight marriage. Once marriage equality is legal, you can drop the qualifiers. It’s all just marriage.

  • GanymedeRenard

    Though I appreciate the intention, we’re all for EQUALITY. This won’t help things

  • fuzzybits

    Not a really good idea. I can hear the “special treatment” folks now.

  • Orly

    That seems like a really bad idea…

  • JCF

    Because straight couples have NEVER had any privileges! /s

  • Gianni

    Here in the USA, that would be illegal. I have no idea about Australia.