Gay Lawyers' Digest 10

Anna Wintour speaks out to criticise the Australian prime minister for his – albeit brief – support of the amendments to the Sex Discrimination Act.

Anna Wintour, American Vogue editor at large, has lent her support to the LGBT community by speaking out against Scott Morrison’s, the Australian prime minister, comments which suggested he approved and supported the amendments to the Sex Discrimination Act which would permit faith schools to expel LGBT students and or fire teachers for their sexual orientation.  Mr. Morrison may have re-considered as he withdrew his comment some hours later but not before they had been noted and commented on by Ms. Wintour in her keynote speech at a brunch hosted by the organisers of the Australian Open. Ms. Wintour stated “I have been alarmed by your prime minister’s record on LGBTQ rights, which seems backward in all senses,” she went to say “That no one can be expelled from school for their orientation, should not require clarification. A government should protect its people, not make it unclear whether they will be accepted.” 

After delivering the broadside to Mr. Morrison Ms. Wintour turned her attention to the campaign to re-name the Margaret Court Arena in Melborne as Margaret Court was opposed to same-sex relationships, which seems at odds with the inclusive attitude of the sport.

Angola abolishes Law banning Same-sex relationships

A more positive note is the news that Angola has abolished a law that was largely understood to be a ban on same-sex relationships.  Additionally, law has been enacted that makes it illegal to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation as far as employment and the provision of services are concerned.  This is a big step for an Angola, one that has also been taken by Sao Tome and Cape Verde.

A surprising about-face by Mormon gay conversion therapist

David Mathieson, a Mormon based in Utah who devised and promoted the largely discredited gay conversion therapy courses has announced that he can no longer stay in his 34-year-old marriage as he now believes that he is gay.  He chose Facebook as the medium to reveal his newly revealed sexuality following a private post by a colleague and conversion therapist which was obtained by the LGBTQ group Truth Wins Out which stated that Mr. Mathieson was no longer part of the group.  Surprisingly, Mr. Mathieson is remaining within the Mormon church given its anti-gay policy; he has criticised the “shame-based, homophobic-based system” of the Mormon church.  He also acknowledged the harm that his conversion therapy may have caused to some people and unequivocally apologised to anyone who felt that they had been damaged by the practice. 

The Truth Wins Out founder commented that Mr. Mathieson was well-regarded by people in the conversion therapy movement as an “intellectual godfather”.  It is estimated that as many as 700,000 people have been through conversion therapy in the United States, which is now regarded as a procedure that can do serious harm.

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