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There is nothing worse than hearing that minority groups are working or fighting against each other. Proposition 8 has certainly been one of those issues that seems to have pitted minority groups against each other which personally makes me feel very sad.

I’m sad for many reasons. Firstly minority groups generally have prejudice to overcome as a matter of course without causing further grief for each other. Secondly when I look at history (often in total horror and despair) I look at how hard minority groups have had to fight to gain equal rights – or any rights at all. I guess when I look at these things I feel very lucky, almost embarrassingly so. I am a white male born in Australia to two white married parents. I guess from that perspective I had it very easy.

When I look at how hard women fought for equal pay, the right to vote and even the right to education (many countries still do not recognize this equality) I feel as though I have had it easy. When I think of the Australian Aborigines who were not even considered Australian citizens and thus had no right to vote until 1967 (only 9 years before I was born) I feel like I was born a little luckier than others. When I look at the Tasmanian Aborigines that were literally wiped out – complete genocide (probably the darkest hour in Australia’s history) I feel as though I was born lucky.

When I consider the holocaust and mass genocide of around 6 million Jews I feel lucky to have been born in 1976. I feel immense respect for those who suffered, survived and even prospered through that period through intestinal fortitude that cannot be explained, and commitment to family and friends that is indescribable.

I cannot put myself in the position of a gay, lesbian, bi-sexual or transgender person who again as a minority was fighting in the Stonewall riots in New York or the riots that have become the Sydney Mardi Gras festival, celebrating diversity and freedom in Sydney and throughout Australia. So many people have given so much for the recognition of what we all take for granted and yet there is still so far to go. I want to be part of that going forward and Marquette Turner Luxury Homes as a company is committed to overcoming prejudice of all types.

These are all events endured by minority groups and the last thing that is needed is for minority groups to fight or contest against each other. When we look back at history we learn so much – we need to look at history to learn that we cannot let the same events repeat. I find it hard to believe that it became legal to be gay or lesbian in NSW in 1985 (I was 9 years old).

The main story of the day with regard to Proposition 8 has been the support the Mormons have given to defeat the rights of Gay and Lesbian people to marry. I find it staggering that a church could waste $25 million opposing Gay Marriage when God in my world is wonderful, accepting, joyous, happy and good. Why spend such an enormous amount of money preventing people from having the right to share and express their love in a legally recognized way? Imagine what this money could have done for the many starving people throughout the world?

I respect the fact that the Mormon Church exists and has the right to – past that point I have no interest in bigotry or causing mischief. I respect minorities of all types and in terms of the Christian Church, Mormons are certainly a minority.

I know that the media is reporting that older coloured Americans voted overwhelmingly in favour of Proposition 8. Let’s ensure that we don’t get caught up with minority group against minority group.

We must respect our differences and embrace our similarities – we have more things in common than not. Our similarities outweigh our differences. Please do not allow ourselves to concentrate on differences – we are all human beings – we all deserve the same rights and we all should care for each other. This is my view and the way we treat each other at Marquette Turner Luxury Homes.

Michael Marquette

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The Screen Actors Guild in Los Angeles has officially announced its opposition to the California ballot initiative that would ban same-sex marriage. This is an enormous step forward in what seems to be a very close call.

After weeks of being criticized for not contributing enough to defeat Proposition 8 (the proposal to outlaw Gay marriage), members of the film and TV industries have recently stepped up their contributions — financial and otherwise — to fight Proposition 8, and on Tuesday a union committee voted to oppose the measure.

“No actor should have to disclose his or her sexual preference in order to get health and retirement benefits,” said Actor’s Guild Chairwoman Anne-Marie Johnson. “Being legally married means everyone is treated the same. It’s important that we take a stand to protect all actors from discriminatory hiring practices and provide same-sex couples access to benefits.”

Separation between church and state is vital and decisions made which are based on religious beliefs are simply not something that Governments are elected to make. Even if Proposition 8 is defeated it should be a lesson to the rest of the world that prejudice and discrimination of any type is damaging and we must never forget atrocities of the past.

Discrimination is ugly and is a scurge that should be eliminated at every opportunity. Many lives have been lost defending freedom and we need to respect those lives by ensuring their sacrifice was not in vein. Marquette Turner Luxury Homes does not tolerate discrimination in any form – Let’s hope that people rally to defeat Proposition 8.

Michael Marquette

There is no doubt that difficult economic times can encourage discussions on a number of topics. Such discussions should be about improving the quality of people’s lives by promoting two mutually beneficial factors:

  • Encouraging fundamental human rights and freedoms
  • Encouraging financial success and overall wealth

Both are achievable when both are actively promoted as harmonious.

Same-sex “marriage” is edging closer in the US with the State of Connecticut deciding to allow same sex marriage in that State. Three US states now permit same sex couples to marry (Connecticut, Massachusetts and California).

There are six world nations that now permit same sex couples to marry and others that allow civil unions or civil partnerships but thus far do not to allow marriage. At this point in time Australia does not allow same sex couples to marry or commit via civil partnerships or civil unions. Importantly the Court in Connecticut rejected civil unions as an unequal, unfair and unacceptable alternative to full marriage.

On November 4, 2008 Californians will vote on whether to respect or nullify thousands of same sex marriages which have occurred in that State since full equality was granted in May.

The progress throughout the United States highlights the “Nazi-like” views of both Republican’s John McCain and Sarah Palin who would even support removing the rights of women to choose to abort a pregnancy, thus denying women the right to choose what to do with their bodies. Women have fought long and hard for these and many other rights, thus any action that removes these is unconscionable and a step backwards.

Together with progressive Australian companies such as Qantas, IBM and the Commonwealth Bank, Marquette Turner Luxury Homes is a very proud advocate for full and equal rights for all people throughout the world and as a company do not allow or support any form of discrimination on any grounds.

In a time when the world economy is faltering, people are starving and wars are being waged in various locations around the globe, the attention of our leaders and would-be leaders should be on improving the basic human rights and quality of life for all people rather than irresponsibly focussing on wedge politics. The anti-Obama movement, seeking to win at any cost, is fundamentally culpable of stoking the fires of divisive, regressive, narrow-mindedness that will never improve living standards and surely we have socially progressed too far to simply accept. The focus must be on improving the lives of all, and helping people to save their homes and securing their financial futures, all principles that go hand-in-hand with encouraging their basic rights as human beings.

Economic success goes hand-in-hand with full and equal rights. Rewarding outcomes can be experienced and benefited by all by recognising such a relationship.

Michael Marquette

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