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Archive for November, 2008

Australia expands rights for gay and lesbian couples

The Australian senate has passed legislation giving same-sex couples the same rights as straight heterosexual couples. The legislation which redefines the definition of a ‘de facto’ relationship to include gay and lesbian couples, extends equal rights in nearly 100 areas including tax, social security, health, aged care, employment and superannuation entitlements, thereby giving same-sex couples the exact same rights as opposite-sex couples living together in common-law relationships.

While the new laws give same-sex partners many of the same rights and protections as married couples, they will not allow gays and lesbians to wed under the Marriage Act, which was redrawn by the last Conservative government to define marriage as between one man and one woman.

Though LGBT lobbyists hope to ultimately rewrite the Marriage Act to include same-sex couples, there may be little more progress under the current Australian administration.

Having kept their promise to end discrimination against gays and lesbians, the Labor Party has indicated that it will not press for gay marriage going forward.

“It won’t be part of this government’s agenda,” Attorney-General Robert McClelland said Tuesday. “The Labor Party policy is firm that marriage is between a man and a woman.”

Still there is cause for elation Down Under and the LGBT community is rejoicing over the senate’s actions.

“Same-sex couples and families are witnessing the tearing up and rewriting of almost all Commonwealth law to finally recognize the truth that all love is equal and nurturing all relationships, regardless of the gender of partners, is important,” says New South Wales’ Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby spokesperson Peter Johnson.

The legislation now goes to House of Representatives where it is expected to pass.

Paris Hilton splits with Benji Madden

Paris Hilton and her boyfriend of nine months, Benji Madden, have broken up.

Hilton publicist Alanna McCarthy said Wednesday that the two “remain very good friends.” She wouldn’t say more.

Hilton and Madden have been photographed wearing rings with each other’s initials. The 27-year-old socialite also joined her boyfriend when he toured with his rock band, Good Charlotte.

The 29-year-old Madden plays guitar, and his identical twin brother, Joel, is the lead singer.

Joel Madden has a daughter with Nicole Richie, Hilton’s longtime friend and reality-TV co-star.

Twilight premiere in LA

Hundreds of shrieking fans lined the streets outside the Mann Village and Bruin Theatres on Monday for a chance to peek at the stars attending the Los Angeles premiere of “Twilight.” Some enthusiasts of the popular vampire literary series-turned-movie camped out overnight, while many arrived at dawn to secure a place in line.

More than 600 people were allowed inside special holding areas along both sides of the premiere’s red carpet. The self-proclaimed fanpires gawked, squealed and begged for autographs and photos with the stars. Others spilled out beyond the barricades and across the street from the premiere. Many held up handmade signs. Most just wanted face time.

“It’s shocking something I came up with could inspire all this,” said “Twilight” author Stephenie Meyer.

The red carpet was buzzing about possible sequels. Meyer has written three other “Twilight” novels.

“It has to make a certain amount of money, like $150 million, to be able to afford the sequel,” director Catherine Hardwicke said. “So we really don’t know yet.”