Gay Lawyers' Weekly Digest 3

Shocking Admission by the Sydney Police

The conclusion of a three year investigation into as many as 88 suspicious deaths has resulted in the police in Sydney, Australia, shockingly admitting that an estimated 27 men may have been murdered in gay hate crimes between the years 1976 – 2000.  Furthermore, the police and the courts appear to be guilty of failing to report or investigate these incidents adequately.  The suspected murders arose from so-called gay-bashing gone wrong or simply deliberate killing of gay men.  At the time many of the deaths were recorded as suicide but now it is suspected that many men were thrown to their deaths from cliffs.  The extreme violence towards gay men arose during a time when the threat of HIV was keenly felt.

The New South Wales police believe that some of the killers may still be alive and it remains to be seen whether the matters will be opened up to further investigation.  The police are considering whether to offer a formal apology for the woeful failure to report and properly investigate the crimes.


Civil Partnerships for All

Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan’s ten year fight to have the right to a civil partnership has been achieved at last.  The couple have been vindicated as the Supreme Court has found that inequality between the right that LGBT couples have to both civil partnerships and marriage as opposed to heterosexual couples right to just marriage amounts to discrimination and a breach of the right to a family life.

The government accepted the inequality between same-sex and opposite-sex couples, but argued that it needed to have time to assemble sufficient information to allow a confident decision to be made about the future of civil partnerships.

LGBT and human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell called the ruling a "victory for love and equality".  Further commenting "It was never fair that same-sex couples had two options, civil partnerships and civil marriages, whereas opposite-sex partners had only one option, marriage," he said.


Incredible risks to being Gay in the 1950s

Chris Williams, the business manager for the law firm Brian Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP), was first attracted to the firm due to its LGBT inclusive culture.  The LGBT friendly atmosphere that Chris is fortunate enough to work within has encouraged him to speak out about a personal family event that has deeply affected him and coloured his life.

Chris decided to look into his family history and came upon a profoundly disturbing story.  His cross-dressing grandfather Kenneth met his end at the hands of a semi-professional boxer, Patrick Cooney, who attacked Kenneth when he mistook him for a woman.   Shockingly, the attitude towards the deceased appeared to be less than sympathetic, with people regarding the attack as understandable because the victim was deemed to be an importuning pervert, despite the fact that the attacker made the first approach and was rejected.

It is a mark of how far Society has come in two generations that the grandson of the victim can live his life in an open manner in all areas of his life. 

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