For all the advancement we have made in a 2011 Australian society it seems strange that marriage equality remains a debate we need to have at a national level. The ruling ALP will go to their national convention with the issue a major talking point and I can only help but feel it is not the message that is the problem, but the way it’s been delivered.
For decades the LGBT community have rightly pointed out that their rights have been infringed. Across many areas of law they have been treated as lesser citizens and as couples denied rights available to everyone else. Now comes one of the final hurdles, the right to marry just the same way as a heterosexual couple. But we all know the issue, the arguments and that it’s absurd in this day and age a citizen of a “first world country” is still discriminated against based on their sexuality.
So perhaps the message is just not being tailored in a way that makes sense to those who oppose. While we should never have to convince persecutors of basic human rights, the reality of the real world is that we do. Given that most of those who oppose marriage equality do so on the basis of religion it is time some of the argument was tailored to meet their needs. And what exactly is religions problem with same-sex marriage? Is it that some weddings might no longer be conducted in the Church, Temple or Mosque? No, that ship has long since sailed with people choosing all manner of wedding locations and celebrants. The real problem you ask? They are worried it just might encourage more people to have sex in the naughty place. And no I don’t mean parked in some dark lane on the rear seat of mum’s car.
Don’t believe me? Just look at the way we have used sodomy laws to effectively outlaw much of sexual activity between gay men. Currently the age of consent is 2 years higher for anal sex in Queensland and it was outlawed entirely in Tasmania until 1997. Many countries that actively persecute the LGBT community do so not by outlawing anything but the acts of sodomy or “adultery” for women, which in many cases by the way includes making being raped a crime. If you really “have” to be gay they’d rather you just abstain and live a miserable life. Is that the sort of thing we wish to sign up to, aligning ourselves morally with Iran, Saudi Arabia and the Al-Shabab controlled parts of Somalia? Of course this all goes back to the twin cities of Sodom and Gomorrah which God apparently destroyed because the folk there were doing it, sodomy that is. You see in 2011 Australia the only kind of discrimination we really advocate and embrace is the religious based kind or against the first Australians. Forget that Jesus himself never uttered a word about homosexuality, but a religious organisation with its tax exempt status can call you every name under the sun and lobby politicians, often with great success against common sense.
If the ALP Government fail to pass Marriage Equality legislation then the LGBT community need to become a religion. Cloaked behind that religious veil you can practice and preach almost anything you like. Evangelical pastor Danny Nalliah preached that the Victorian bushfires were caused by the states abortion laws and the Queensland floods were a result of questioning Israel on Human Rights. Say that as any ordinary citizen and you better run for the hills, say it with religious tax exemption and you can print flyers with it on to raise money and increase your following. What about Scientology with accusations of abuse, slavery and cult like behaviour you’d think the Government would pull their support via tax exemption, but no “75 million years ago Xenu brought billions of people to Earth in spacecraft resembling DC-8” and while you can’t marry the person you love they can raise money to preach that without paying a cent in tax on the profits.
But it is unlikely that Pastor Danny or Tom Cruise will make an appearance at the ALP convention, the push back (excuse the pun) will come from the right-wing of the ALP. Perhaps before entering the conference they need to be reminded that the ALP is supposed to be a left of centre party of the working class. But for many in that faction their direction will come from their belief in the teachings of the Catholic Church. Given the scandals involving the church in the last few decades you’d think they’d avoid issues of “sexual deviancy” as they see it. The same might be said of politicians who themselves have been caught up in rape trials, spousal abuse and corruption. But no, along with the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) they are the chief opponents of Marriage Equality. Visit the ACL website and you will find they are running three campaigns. Tackling poverty perhaps, supporting Asylum Seekers, feeding the homeless? No, the far more pressing issues to them are Gay marriage, Gay Adoption and Prostitution. What did I say about the naughty place! Much of the Christian model on such things is broken anyway. A study of US teenagers who took part in a Christian run Abstinence program found that while some did abstain, compared to their class mates who didn’t take the pledge, “abstainers” were 6 times more likely to perform oral sex and 4 times more likely…, anal!
To get the issue passed Gay men need to form a Nunnery of Two! It is the only way to send a message the ACL and others will understand. Anal Sex is no longer sodomy, it is a religious duty performed by two followers of the new religion. They may not agree with it, but they will support your right to perform it. Take Holy Communion, you eat the wafer to represent the Body of Christ and drink the wine to symbolise his blood. Now outside of an organised religion this may appear to be some kind of build up to Canabalism, but inside the Church it’s an important part of remembering Christ. And good luck to them, they aren’t hurting anyone, it brings them closer to their God and is important to them. But just as I would defend their right to perform such an act I cannot look the other way while they involve themselves with the denying rights to another.
This is not an attack on religion, this is an attempt to explain just how absurd it is that in 2011 two adults who love each other cannot stand in front of their friends and family and promise to spend the rest of their lives together. Shot gun weddings, Child brides and Kim Kardashian devalue marriage. Two folks in dresses holding hands at the altar is just another day at a Scottish Wedding. Whether that be two men, two women or a man and woman should only depend on them both being consenting adults. The rest is no business of the Government, the Church or Xenu from out of space.
So why as a heterosexual male do I care when might rights are firmly intact? Because as a human rights advocate it is my job to ensure you get that right and I don’t want to live in a country that allows me to do things my friends can’t just because of who they are. Marriage equality is about the right to love, it really is that simple! The ALP and all parties must vote not just with their conscience, but with rights and respect for all in their minds. The naughty place is not sodomy, the naughty place is a parliament that continues to discriminate!