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Protesters Target Anti-gay World Congress of Families Conference in Melbourne: VIDEO

Protest

The anti-gay, anti-abortion World Congress of Families conference being held this weekend in Melbourne was hit with further setbacks after a wave of some 100 protesters showed up and attempted to block the entrance to the venue.  

The Guardian reports:

Protest2Many speakers, including the American campaigner Angela Lanfranchi, who planned to speak on the thoroughly debunked link between breast cancer and abortion, were unable to get through the gates in their cars. Their path was blocked by protesters holding signs with slogans such as “Our bodies are our property” and “Women are not incubators”.

More than 30 police officers formed their own barrier on the opposite side of the gate in the quiet street of Star Crescent, located in an industrial area. It forced attendees to trickle through the gates one by one as church security struggled to establish whether they had registered. The Monty Python satirical song Every Sperm is Sacred boomed from a sound system organised by protesters.

The paper adds that shortly after the conference began, a protester dressed in white and covered in fake blood stormed the stage inside and began screaming "We don't want your backyard abortions!" She was then dragged away by security as attendees chanted "Pray for her"

Check out a Sky News report on the protest, AFTER THE JUMP...

[photos via Facebook]

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Anti-gay World Congress of Families in Chaos After Politicians and Venues Back Out of Summit: VIDEO

WcfFor the past week or so, the World Congress of Families has been scrambling to find a venue to host its upcoming summit this weekend. Four venues cancled on the virulently anti-gay organization, and for a brief window of time it appeared as if the summit might not be able to secure a location. Luckily for them (and not for anyone else), the group was able to find a Christian organization that agreed with the organization's nutty beliefs and policy positions and offered to host the conference.

Now, however, the organization is struggling to hold onto the Australian politicians who originally agreed to attend the conference, The Guardian reports:

Andrews[Social Services Minister Kevin] Andrews said he pulled out of delivering the opening address after hearing that the rightwing Christian group Catch the Fire would host it.

“Tolerance is a critical value in a western liberal democracy like Australia,” Andrews said in a statement to Guardian Australia.

“It was for this reason that I intended to address the World Congress of Families meeting in Melbourne tomorrow.

“The calls for me not to attend demonstrate the intolerance of the Greens and the left – instead of arguing their case in the public arena they seek to shut down debate.

“Equally, I cannot support intolerance from other quarters. As I have been informed today that the event is now to be hosted by Catch the Fire, I have decided not to attend.”

The founder of Catch the Fire, a controversial evangelical Christian group, is preacher Daniel Nalliah, known for his anti-Islamic and anti-abortion views. He once blamed the Black Saturday bushfires on Victoria’s abortion laws.

Other politicians dropped out after finding out about Catch the Fire's involvement and also after the Australian Senate passed a motion denoucing the WCF and calling on MPs to boycott the conference. 

The new venue location has not been disclosed to the public, but protestors say they plan to demonstrate outside the Catch the Fire headquarters.

Check out news coverage of the controversy, as well as the WCF's reaction to politicians dropping out, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Australian MP Books Room In Parliament To Host Anti-Gay Marriage Conference

Kevin

Australian Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews has booked out the main room of the country’s parliament house so that the anti-gay Australian Families Association (AFA), an organization closely linked to the World Congress of Families (WCF), can hold a conference on “strengthening the family” that “[commemorates] the tenth anniversary of the redefining of marriage as ‘between a man and a woman’ in the 2004 amendment of the Marriage Act,” according to The Guardian:

In past years the organisation has held public events at parliament house. This year’s affair is a private event with all MPs invited to attend. The committee room must be booked by a sitting member. Andrews booked the room for the organisation, but is not attending, a spokeswoman told Guardian Australia.

The AFA conference on Wednesday will hear from a number of speakers on “relationship literacy for youth, strengthening marriages, family-based taxation and the economics of the family”.

The organisation will call for the government to “renew a culture of strong and lasting marriages by educating young people about the benefits of marriage and getting government taxation and support structures right,” the AFA’s national president Terri Kelleher said in a statement 

The affiliated WCF has been struggling to find a venue for its annual conference in Australia having been turned down by four venues in Melbourne


Mike Huckabee and Tom Delay Throw Support Behind Hate Conference That Can't Book A Venue

Mike_Huckabee_by_Gage_Skidmore_2

The World Congress of Families, a noted anti-gay hate group and major opponent of LGBTQ rights, is having a difficult time finding an Australian venue willing to host its annual conference scheduled to commence this upcoming Saturday. While the organization’s 2013 conference was hosted by the Australian Technology Park in Sydney, coordinators for the event have been turned away by four different potential hosts following their being informed of the conference’s purpose.

“Sexual radicals have launched a smear campaign to discredit the Melbourne conference, which misrepresents the international pro-family movement and the positions of the World Congress of Families,” The WCF wrote in an open letter to the country of Australia, pleading for last minute accommodations. Former Republican Majority Leader Tom Delay and Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee have thrown support behind the letter, hoping to appeal to Australia’s conservative population.

“We are frantic at the moment trying to organise something else, we’ve had four venue cancellations. I can’t talk to you because we are just too busy right now,” WCF organizer Margaret Butts told the Guardian Australia. “We have no venue at the moment – the police are telling us it’s a safety risk because of planned protests and demonstrations.”

In addition to not having a proper location to host the conference, the WCF also seems not to have anticipated the need for a security detail or insurance despite reports of protests being organized in opposition to the conference.

“This event is the convening of an extreme-right movement,” said Debbie Brennan, lead organizer for the Melbourne branch of the Radical Women socialist organization. “We will exercise our free speech right to make it as hard as we can for people to get into the congress. Certainly, we will be out there in force and having loud things to say.”

Read the World Congress of Families' open letter asking for a venue, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Gay Couple To Live With Homophobic Pastor For New Documentary Series - VIDEO

Living with the enemy

A gay couple in Australia will live with a homophobic pastor as part of a new documentary series that aims to "test Australian values", reports Same Same.

The first episode of Living with the Enemy, examining the issue of marriage equality, will see Melbourne couple Michael Barnett and Gregory Storer living with David, an Anglican minister who does not agree with same-sex marriage. 

The trailer suggests that things get fairly explosive.

The episode is due to air on September 3rd.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Australian Government To Hold Conscience Vote On Same-Sex Marriage

Australia is likely to allow a conscience vote on same-sex marriage later this year, reports The Sydney Morning Herald.

LeyonhjelmLiberal Democratic Party Senator David Leyonhjelm announced in July that he intended to introduce a draft bill to legalize same-sex marriage, which is likely to be put before the House of Representatives this month or next.

This would be the first time Australian MPs have a conscience vote on the issue after Labor made the decision in 2011 to support same-sex marriage.

Fulfilling a pre-election promise by Prime Minister Tony Abbott, the Liberal Party is likely to advocate for a conscience vote during the next session of parliament.

Last Sunday, the New South Wales Labor conference voted to support same-sex marriage but rejected a proposal by 352 votes to 284 to bind its federal MPs to vote in favor.

However, Leyonhjelm has said that he is not making any assumptions regarding the outcome of a conscience vote. A number of Liberal backbenchers said their ''gut feeling'' is that such a vote would be narrowly defeated. Most National Party MPs are expected to vote against same-sex marriage.

Last December, Australian Capital Territory's (ACT) same-sex marriage law was struck down by the country's highest court and the marriages that had taken place since it went into effect were annulled. The ACT marriage equality bill had been passed the previous October.


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