The Parliament of Australia has overwhelmingly rejected attempts to legalize gay marriage in two decisive votes. Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard, was personally opposed to redefining marriage, but she allowed her Labor party members to vote according to their conscience.
The leader of the Australian Christian Lobby, Jim Wallace, said the Parliament has now expressed a decisive view on the matter. ‘Everyone has had enough of this debate’, Mr. Wallace said. ‘It has been one of the most vitriolic campaigns I have ever seen and it has demonised so many good people out of the public square, such as Victoria’s chief psychologist Kuravilla George, who lost his job as a member of Victoria’s Equal Opportunity Commission because he supported marriage’.
Supporters of gay marriage were disappointed. ‘I think at some future time our parliament will catch up with community opinion, just as it has on other issues’, senior government minister Anthony Albanese said after the vote. ‘When marriage equality occurs, people will wonder what the fuss was about’, he said.
A Bible used by Elvis Presley until his death in 1977 and containing his handwritten notes, thoughts, annotations, and underlining was bought by an American man based in the UK for £59,000 at an auction in Cheshire in September. The Bible was given to the American singer on his first Christmas in Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1957. It was used by him until his death on 16 August 1977 at the age of 42. One of the lines emphasized by the ‘King of Rock and Roll’ is, ‘What is a man advantaged if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul’, according to UK’s Press Association. The book was expected to sell for around £25,000, but went for more than double its value. ‘It was a really exciting atmosphere in the room; we had three hundred people and there was bidding online and on the telephone across the world. You could hear a pin drop when it sold for that price’, Karen Fairweather, sales room manager at Omega Auctions, was quoted as saying.
Gloucester City Council has apologized after it stopped a Christian group from handing out Christian literature in the city centre. The group were handing out tracts in the centre of Gloucester in July. They were told by council staff that the handouts breached the city’s by-laws. The group was made up of Christians from ten local churches who were distributing the tracts as part of Bible Day Gloucester. The apology was issued following the threat of legal action from the Christian Legal Centre.
Roland Parsons, spokesman for Christians in Gloucester, said, ‘Christians in Gloucester believe that we have the basic freedom in Britain to hand out literature of a political or religious opinion to any other citizen in Gloucester. The city MP would not have been treated in this way if he and his colleagues were handing out political message literature at Gloucester Cross. The Bible Day this year featured the contribution of Gloucester’s John Hooper to the freedom of all religions in Britain. We also refuse to live in a totalitarian regime where political and religious opinion is banned’.