“Well known radical feminist” was the description delivered at a rally against Same Sex Marriage in Canberra this week.
But who was this radical feminist they were speaking of, Germaine Greer? Maybe Eva Cox, although personally I don’t find her that radical. No the target of the comment was Finance Minister Penny Wong; Che Guevera in a Pant-Suit she is not! A more bland centrist you could not find, she is common sense with a clever hair cut. But Senator Wong is exactly the kind of “evil” this crowd was rallying against. The hatred is also directed at people like Dr Kerryn Phelps, former head of the AMA and recipient of the Centenary Medal for services to Health and Medicine. Also a Member of the Order of Australia, a mum of two children and her partner is woman. Would the world really end if they were allowed to tie the knot under Australian law? I think not!
Keynote speaker, Rebecca Hagelin from the conservative US Heritage Foundation told the audience, if you allowed gay marriage, “anything” such as polygamy and marriage between paedophiles and children ”could be called marriage”. I have many problems with this statement, it is simply false to begin with, it equates the union between two adults with that of sex crimes and in doing so undermines the suffering of all those, including LGBT people, who have been the victims of paedophiles and it comes from an American, whose organisation lobbied for the war in Iraq, calls Maggie Thatcher a hero and has links to jailed lobbyist Jack Abramoff. The think tank was also responsible for the “Contract with America” taken on board by US republicans in the 1990’s that resulted in much of the deregulation that caused the Global Financial Crisis.
Of course it wasn’t just an “intellectual” rally, others like Nationals Senator Barnaby Joyce, were eager to point out it isn’t just Gay marriage he has a problem with. “If someone wanted to introduce legislation calling ‘camels’ ‘horses’” that would be equally as ridiculous.” Never to be out done when it comes to statements of brilliance MP Bob Katter offered up. “Gay is one of the most beautiful words…no-one should have the right to take that word off us.” Bob, nobody is trying to take gay away from you, in fact they want you to be able to express “gay” in a way you feel comfortable and that is recognised by the law. In the past you have also expressed alarm at having laws taking away your right to “go horse riding”, “catch a fish for dinner”, “light a campfire” and “boil a billy”. Change boil to another word Bob and your lifestyle starts to sound a little Brokeback Mountain. Which is fine Bob, as I said, nobody is trying to take “gay” away from you, whatever boils your billy!
Meanwhile outside on the lawns of our Parliament House, the temperature was rising faster than Bob’s campfire. Well in actual fact the people at this particular rally contest that any temperature rise is caused by them or any humans, but something was making them awful hot under the collar. Angry Anderson took to the stage telling the Anti Carbon Tax rally to “maintain the rage” and muttered something about a higher power, while fresh from their gay ole time inside the building Katter and Joyce raged against “socialism” and got all Advance Australia Fair to the great joy of the audience. Much like inside it was left to others to offer up the intellectual side to the debate. “I can see a lot of people that I agree a very great deal with. I can see some people that I probably don’t agree with on everything,” opened Tony Abbott. Not quite JFK or FDR, but I think there is a real gem in there somewhere Tony. And of course the banners and placards were back, “JU-Liar” “Bob Brown’s Bitch” and what’s a patriotic rally without fitting out a picture of your Prime Minister in a Nazi uniform.
What was clear from both rallies was that older people will get out and have their say. And what are 60 somethings worried about in Australia, pension rates, hospital beds, golf course accessability? No, what gets these folks off the lazy boy recliner, throwing the Women’s Weekly at the floor in disgust and raising a “Ditch and Witch” banner, are a few Gay folks wanting to walk down the aisle and a policy designed to protect the environment.
Conservatives find the whole idea of conservation nearly as disgusting as they do two adults just asking for a “fair go”. Of course by the time we have actually crawelled our way into the 21st century and legalised Gay marriage for their Lesbian grand daughter and face the real impact of climate change these folk will be sleeping the eternal sleep and their only legacy will be a shift in the Australian political debate.
A shift that takes us closer to the US style “tea party” movement and the grubby politics it leaves behind. Where calling your Prime Minister Hitler, a bitch and a witch is how you get your view across and vilifying people you do not know nor understand is accepted, even inside the walls of the peoples Parliament. The attendees of both rallies will neither pay the carbon tax (I didn’t see Twiggy Forrest in attendance) nor be compelled to marry anyone Gay. But they attack both as if their very life depended on it and one can only think the media has very badly informed these people, some politicians have lied and our ability to communicate intelligently lost to an angry mob.
If you are a wedding crasher or a carbon kook it’s time to put country first, do a little reading and leave the Nazi accusations for the only people who deserve them…, Nazi’s!
Yesterday thousands of people rallied around Australia in support of equality. Not asking for anything others don’t have, not asking for special privileges, just the right to be treated like everyone else. Our politician’s still say no!
For some reason the debate in Australia over Gay marriage still rages. I say for some reason because there seems to be no logical political or social reason as to why two adult Australian’s cannot get married if that is their wish. Who is adversely impacted by Gay and Lesbian couples being allowed to marry? An answer is rarely offered up and usually advocates for the status quo simply state they don’t see the need for change. Which if we followed to its logical conclusion means they also didn’t see the need to change civil rights that discriminated against people based on race, gender or disability. Should slavery have remained the status quo because no politicians were Black? Should Aboriginal people still not be given the vote or counted in the census because at the time no politicians were Aboriginal and therefore they personally were not impacted? Of course not, but then following her logic Prime Minister Gillard would support women not having the vote or be eligible for elected office, because that too was once the status quo.
When an answer to the original question does come there are usually two lines.
1. “Think of the children”. Well yes, let us think of the children! Shouldn’t children know from an early age that they live in a nation that treats all its citizens equally? And let us be honest, a very large number of Australian children are raised in less that ideal circumstances. But what is wrong with two people in a committed relationship who want to care for a child and raise them the best they can? Isn’t that what we need as a society, more people so committed to parenting that they will jump through hoops to get the chance to do it?! Children respond to love, care, affection, education and a safe environment. We help protect their rights when we protect the rights of their parents no matter who they are.
2. Many politicians and public figures will claim Gay and Lesbian marriage is against their religion. Well maybe it is or maybe it isn’t. But their religion is not what they were elected to parliament to represent. They were elected to represent their electorate and their isn’t one in Australia that doesn’t have a large LGBT community. Polls also show that the majority of Australian’s support same sex marriage, international law makes the equal treatment of all a requirement and common sense tells us it just makes sense. Your religion is your own personal right, just as it is the right of all Australian’s to express their love for their partner in a union of marriage.
Sarah Palin is against Gay Marriage, so to is Fred Nile, Bin Laden was against Gay Marriage and George W. Bush too. Is that really the sort of ideological company you want to keep? Your marriage or your relationship with god is not altered in any way by two adults of the same sex getting married. Given how we view past generations that refused to grant rights to women, people of colour, the disabled and the lower classes. How will our children view us in the future if we maintain the status quo of denying a fundamental right?
Marriage has evolved for centuries, the idea that it’s an unchanged institution is simply the view of rose coloured glasses of a few that are entirely blacked out. In ancient times marriage was a union simply of two people with no formal ceremony or approval of the state required. There were great periods of time when marriage was between one man and many women, a time where marriage was between a man and a female child and a time when a white man could not marry anyone but a white women. All these things have changed, with the exception of some countries whose human rights record with rightly slam. Now is the time to remove the final obstacle that simply allows two adults to be given the same legal rights as the rest of us.
The short version – Don’t like Gay Marriage? Then don’t marry a Gay man!