Rodney Peter Croome AM is an Australian LGBT rights activist and academic. Croome currently serves as the spokesperson for the Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group, and is well known as one of the few LGBT activists who has supported and called for a national plebiscite on marriage equality, a position which Croome subsequently reversed.
He was the founding president and long-term board member of the Tasmanian LGBT support organisation, 'Working It Out' as well as serving on various other similar organisations and had been in a leading role in the establishing challenging-homophobia education in Tasmanian state schools and in the Tasmanian Police, as well as the instituting of anti-discrimination laws in Tasmania. He also fronted the successful campaign to decriminalise homosexuality in Tasmania, which until 1 May 1997 was a criminal offence punishable by up to 25 years in jail. That campaign saw Tasmanian activists take their case to the United Nations (Toonen v Australia), the Federal Government and the High Court. In 1997 in the case of Croome v Tasmania, Croome applied to the High Court of Australia for a ruling as to whether the Tasmanian laws were inconsistent with the Federal Human Rights (Sexual Conduct) Act (1994). The Tasmanian Government repealed the relevant Criminal Code provisions after failing in its attempts to have the matter struck out.
Same Sex Marriage
In early 2004, Croome and a small group of activists established Australian Marriage Equality and predicted that the Howard Government would legislate to rule out the possibility for same-sex marriage. On 13 August 2004, such a law was passed by the government, with support from the then Labor Opposition and in 2012 Croome became a National Director of Australian Marriage Equality. In 2009, Croome was named one of the 25 most influential gay Australians by readers of the website samesame.com.au.
In 2010, he co-authored a book presenting the cases for and against marriage equality, entitled WHY vs WHY: Gay Marriage (Pantera Press). On 8 May 2013 Croome debated Patrick Langrell on Same Sex Marriage at the University of New South Wales. In September 2013 Rodney Croome wrote to the group Community Action Against Homophobia CAAH expressing his concerns in regards to the radical campaigning methods they use in same-sex marriage campaigns saying, "It is a double standard to demand respect for same-sex relationships without showing the same respect in return". Croome supports Australia's trans and intersex communities in their quest for marriage equality saying, "the marriage equality campaign must be inclusive of all loving committed couples regardless of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or intersex status"
In 2015, Croome released his latest book, "From This Day Forward: Marriage Equality in Australia" (Walleah Press).
In August 2015, Croome called for a plebiscite on marriage equality, writing "...Australian Marriage Equality has changed course. We now support a plebiscite at the next election with a question determined by parliament." and stating to a 2015 Senate Inquiry on the proposed plebiscite "...we should not forget the damage that is done by continued discrimination in the Marriage Act. That is why we have offered our conditional support to a plebiscite at the election in the hope of a speedy resolution of this issue.".
In 2015, Tasmanian Archbishop Julius Porteous distributed a political booklet titled, "Don't mess with Marriage" that advised parents to lobby MPs against same-sex marriage. Croome encouraged parents to submit complaints to the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Commissioner, stating “I urge everyone who finds it offensive and inappropriate, including teachers, parents and students, to complain to the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner, Robin Banks”. The ABC Media Watch program reported that Croome, along with Christine Forster, had been interviewed 32 times on the subject of same-sex marriage, in the first 12 days of August 2015.
Croome has been the editor of the Tasmanian literary journal, 'Island', a research consultant for the Port Arthur Management Authority and the Australian National University-based Freilich Foundation, and an Honorary lecturer in Sociology at the University of Tasmania.
Croome was made the inaugural recipient of the Tasmanian Humanitarian of the Year Award and awarded the Chris Carter Memorial Award for contributions to the gay and lesbian community by the Australian Democrats in 1991. In 1994, he was shortlisted for Australian of the Year. In January 2001 he was awarded the Centenary Medal for "service and extensive contribution to gay and lesbian law reform" and in June 2003 he was appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for "service to the community as a human rights advocate, particularly through promoting tolerance and understanding of the human rights of gay and lesbian people". Croome was named Tasmanian Australian of the Year for 2015, and consequently was a finalist for 2015 Australian of the Year.
- Croome, Rodney; Muehlenberg, Bill (2010). WHY vs WHY: Gay Marriage. Sydney: Pantera Press. ISBN 978-0-9807418-5-8.
- "Biography: Rodney Croome". Rodney Croome - gay advocate. Retrieved 23 January 2013.
- Rodney Croome (17 August 2015). "Why a fairly-run plebiscite could advance marriage equality". Star Observer. Retrieved 18 August 2015.
- "Marriage Equality Advocates Defend Plebiscite Push". Star Observer. 13 August 2015. Retrieved 18 August 2015.
- "Samsame 25". Samesame. Retrieved 31 March 2011.
- Gus Bernardi (2001). "From conflict to convergence: the evolution of Tasmanian anti-discrimination law". Australian Journal of Human Rights. Retrieved 2009-06-25.
Once standing was given the Tasmanian PLP Government did not wait for a High Court challenge and passed the Criminal Code Amendment Act 1997 which repealed the anti-gay provisions within the Tasmanian Criminal Code.
- Croome, Rodney. "A battle for Australia's heart". Rodney Croome - gay advocate. Retrieved 23 January 2013.
- "Marriage Amendment Bill 2004". Parlinfo. Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 23 January 2013.
- "WHY vs WHY Gay Marriage Rodney Croome vs Bill Muehlenberg". Pantera Press. Retrieved 23 January 2013.
- Same-Sex Marriage Discussion with Rodney Croome and Patrick Langrell
- "Letter to protesters: Withdraw this hateful poster now". 15 September 2013. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
- Busby, Cec (21 May 2014). "Advocates work together to ensure inclusive marriage equality bill". Gay News Network. Retrieved 6 June 2014.
- "From This Day Forward - Marriage Equality in Australia". Walleah Press. Retrieved 10 July 2015.
- Parliament of Australia (10 September 2015). "Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee 10/09/2015 Popular vote on marriage in Australia".
- "Don't mess with Marriage" (PDF). Australian Catholic Bishops Conference. 2015. Retrieved 18 August 2015.
- "Booklet says Don't Mess With Marriage". Gympie Times. 13 Jun 2015.
- "Debate heats up over Catholic traditional marriage booklet". outinperth.com. 25 Jun 2015. Archived from the original on 18 Aug 2015.
- "Media equality on marriage equality?". ABC News. 17 August 2015. Retrieved 18 August 2015.
- "CROOME, Rodney - Centenary Medal". It's an Honour. Australian Government. Retrieved 23 January 2013.
- "CROOME, Rodney Peter - Member of the Order of Australia". It's an Honour. Australian Government. Retrieved 23 January 2013.
- 2015 Tasmanian Australian of the Year Recipients Announced
- Rodney Croome - On Line Opinion Author
- Rodney Croome - ABC's The Drum
- Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group (TGLRG) website
- Australian Marriage Equality (AME) website