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March 19th 2016 print

Peter O'Brien

Further Thoughts on Gay Marriage

It is possible to support legally endorsed same-sex unions with nothing more than a benign shrug that they would be no big deal, especially as heterosexual matrimony is these days anything but a testament to permanence and fidelity. That view ignores LGBTI advocates' sly and far more sweeping agenda

gay macho cakeHave supporters of same-sex marriage snatched defeat from the jaws of victory?  Only time will tell, but recent events, most notably the Safe Schools furor, have turned my passive support for the idea to an ambivalence that will only be resolved when the plebiscite’s proposition is framed and the language of the argument formally put. Recently, I wrote of Human Rights Commissioner Gillian Triggs’ logic, or lack of it, in support of same-sex marriage, deploring the idea of presenting this as a human rights issue because, fundamentally, that is a very dangerous precedent to set — ersatz rights of one kind or another now being the universal currency of your modern “caring” autocrat.

However, I was injudicious enough to concede I would probably not oppose same-sex marriage as put in a plebiscite.  This earned a lot of criticism in comments, which was fair enough. But I have to say that the tenor of those remarks stung. First, let me say that my position is not one of active support (as some commenters seemed to infer), and if the plebiscite fails I will not lose much sleep, if any.  My only regret at such a proposition’s failure would be that the issue had not been put to rest and will continue to distract our elected representatives from what they should be concentrating on. Look to the vote on a republic by way of example. It was rejected at the ballot box, yet we see it return again and again. And, no, I’m not suggesting that supporters’ inevitable objections, should they lose — ‘the question was rigged!’ etc etc — represents a valid reason to vote in favour. If the Yes case is couched in terms of “human rights” I will vote against it, purely as a matter of principle. Presenting something as other than it is can never be anything but folly.

In my view, there are four chief reasons to oppose same-sex marriage.  The first, as already stated, will hang on whether or not the case is presented as a human rights issue. That was the point of my original article.

The second is that espoused by committed Christians (and adherents of other creeds) who believe that marriage is a sacrament bestowed by God, the primary (possibly sole) purpose of which is to produce children.  Such people believe that homosexual acts are a grave sin.  I was brought up a Catholic and although it’s been many years since I practiced the faith, the Catholic Church still holds this view, as do other churches and religions.

If you truly believe those teachings then you have a valid reason — indeed, an obligation — to oppose same-sex marriage.  Even if you, personally, don’t hold those views but believe that the views of those who do should not be ridden over roughshod, you can claim this justification for your opposition.  Unless religious freedom is securely protected, including commercial enterprises’ right to decline to cater gay weddings and ministers’ right to refuse to officiate, I will certainly vote against. Let’s call this the third valid reason.

But that is not the argument put by critics of what they suppose are my beliefs. These defenders of the status quo articulate their position a number of ways but they might all be captured in the sentiments expressed by one Quadrant Online commenter who opined that same-sex marriage is a threat to ‘one of the sacred building blocks of our civilization’. The difference, according to them, is that marriage is reserved for those wishing to establish families. Presumably this means the getting of children. Responding to those comments, I pointed out that many heterosexual couples enter marriage without the intention or, in some cases, the capability of having children. Should seniors who find love in their silver years be denied the right to exchange vows? Why should that joy and comfort be denied gay couples?

The answer, as many of commenters pointed out, is that gay couples are already able to set up in domestic relationships via civil unions — marriage in all but name and with the same legal protections. In most Australian jurisdictions gay couples can also adopt children and/or use surrogates. So let me ask, in what ways will same-sex marriage weaken or damage the institution beyond the damage already inflicted by no-fault divorce, serial marriages, and numerous other imperfections? Are heterosexual couples really likely to boycott marriage, as claimed by one commenter, because it is now “tainted” by homosexuality?  That is a very dubious proposition. How many of the 120,000 odd couples who marry in Australia every year do so because they see it as preserving ‘one of the sacred building blocks of our civilization’?

Let’s further examine that line of logic. Is an abusive husband more likely to abuse because newlyweds Bruce and Boris have moved in next door?  Are adulterous husbands likely to regard the fact homosexuals are reputed to be more promiscuous than heterosexuals as a green light to sow a few more oats than they otherwise might? Are heterosexual parents more likely to neglect their children because homosexuals can have them too? Are rapacious divorce lawyers really pushing for same-sex marriage as a means of filling their coffers? Are not civil unions, which we already have, just as vulnerable to break down as is traditional marriage?

I’m guessing the answer to all these questions, and any others you can think of, is very probably in the negative. The horse has already bolted on the monopoly that marriage once had in the role of establishing families.  That started with shacking up and de facto relationships.  The only unique thing marriage has left is its name. Extending the term to gay couples would be no better, and no worse, than a trademark violation.

I cannot accept that ‘gays’ are inherently sinful or that they choose their sexuality.  I can readily imagine myself the father to a gay son, believing I would be disappointed but still supportive. The interesting thing is that we, as a society and for various reasons (some of them justified), dislike the ‘gay community’ and its Mardi Gras-style hijinks. But, at an individual level, very few of us would reject someone simply because he or she is ‘gay’. However, all of the above said, recent events have convinced me that acceptance of same-sex marriage, innocuous in itself, would begin an avalanche of ‘equal rights’ social-engineering demands that, if accepted – or rather bowed to – would considerably weaken our civilisation. I refer, of course, to the Safe Schools program.

Others have written at great length about this and I don’t propose to re-iterate their points.  But I will say that the involvement in the development of this program of a man described in the Senate as a paedophile apologist  suggests, at least to me, that nothing good can come of it. In fact, it’s one of the most offensive government initiatives I can recall, and it staggers me that, apparently, much of the Liberal Party actually supports it.  The Safe Schools program may be watered down by the Federal government (although the Victorian government has announced it will continue as is) but the underlying agenda is still there, festering in the netherworld of Leftist ideological thought and indoctrination. Same-sex marriage supporters have conflated their crusade with the much more sinister LGBQTI agenda (of which the Safe Schools program is but one manifestation).  It seems to me the issue of same sex-marriage has been hijacked by activists whose only purpose is to ‘stick it up the breeders’.

If the same-sex issue were simply about gay couples genuinely wanting to describe themselves as ‘married’, that’s not something I would die in a ditch over, but I fear that is no longer the case.  I see acceptance of same-sex marriage as a concession on the part of society to the gay community, not as a right, although I doubt gays would welcome my support on this basis.

I’m sure there are many of the Australians who have indicated in various polls over recent years that they support same-sex marriage, thinking what harm can it do?  I suspect their support may vanish when it becomes clear, as it should be by now, that same-sex marriage is but the tip of the iceberg. The plebiscite may not deliver the outcome predicted by the polls, particularly if the No case is handled cleverly, by which I mean opponents should forget about preaching that rejection will protect the institution of marriage.  That won’t resonate with most voters.  But highlighting the link between same-sex marriage and the LGBQTI agenda, as exemplified by Safe Schools, should strike a chord.

Comments [36]

  1. David Barnes says:

    The first shot to be fired in the fight against this creeping nonsense is to stop referring to these folk as gay. They are homosexuals and should be called that. It’s subtle,but by changing the established meaning of words, they are able to advance their agenda incrementally. You win a war by winning battles. And they are winning.

    • Peter OBrien says:

      David, you raise an interesting point and, in principle, I agree with you. In the global warming context, I have argued for some time that sceptics should never refer to ‘climate change’ but to ‘catastrophic anthropogenic global warming’ which is, after all, what all the fuss is about. Likewise we should not talk about the ‘global warming pause’, which suggests that a resumption of warming is inevitable, but rather the ‘temperature stasis’.

      However, as far as ‘gay’ goes, I think it’s been around so long now it’s a lost cause. Referring to someone as a ‘homosexual’, correct though it may be, is now likely to be rather gratuitously offensive.

  2. Homer Sapien says:

    Homosexual marriage is definitely the “thin end of the wedge.” What is next? A minor party in Sweden is for legalizing sex with dead people and siblings.Crazy, just sounds like “gay marriage” 50 years ago?

  3. Bill Martin says:

    What on earth are homosexual couples deprived of by not being able to call their partnership “marriage”? Is it of such phenomenal importance for a woman to refer to another woman as “my wife” or a man to call another man “my husband”? Come to think of it, the very notion of a couple being of two wives or two husbands sounds absolutely ridiculous. As a matter of interest, a lot of sensible homosexuals scoff at the idea as well. The likes of Tommy Cooper, Frankie Howerd, Benny Hill or the two Ronnies (if you are old enough to have heard of any them) would have had a ball with the very idea of such arrangements, except that it would have been considered way beyond even the wildest dreams of comedy writers of the time. These days, should a comedian dare parodise same sex marriage, he would incur the wrath of the progressive lobby, be labeled a homophobe and probably unable to get any further gigs. Yet, in the end, who gives a toss what homosexual couples call each other?

    Ultimately, there is no logical reason for contemplating the “legalisation” of same sex marriage just to cater to the whimsies of a very tiny minority.

  4. DRW says:

    This transgender mindset is as old as biblical times.(www.youtube.com/watch?v=sFBOQzSk14c)

  5. mct says:

    This is a thoughtful piece, and I see many of them, making the argument against same-sex marriage.

    What I’ve yet to see to a similarly thoughtful piece arguing as to why extending marriage is necessary, let alone essential. All I see are shouty outpourings of emotion rather like those I used to see when Collingwood lost Grand Final after Grand Final. Sound and fury, signifying nothing.

    When I see one reasoned piece explaining why the author thinks that a very long standing institution ought to be changed, I will read it with interest.

    • Roy Edmunds says:

      I think it should be changed because it was always a statement of the majority…we now allow minorities to have their freedom of expression…I cannot see why homosexuals cannot be recognized in marriage…no reason put forward other than dogmatic objections….

  6. EvilElvis says:

    Nice thoughts Peter.

    I was similarly minded earlier in Abbott’s reign, thinking that a ‘homosexual union’ could have been a massive bargaining chip to force through much needed legislation in regard to real issues affecting the country’s prosperity.

    Sadly, as per usual, the loud mouthed, agenda driven activists have pushed it too far (safe schools) and a line in the sand needs to be drawn.

  7. Mark Smith says:

    To me the term ‘marriage equality’ betrays a hidden coercive motivation: to enforce acceptance with the power of law behind it if they can win the plebiscite. If homosexuals can’t convince themselves that they’re proud of their same sex preference – believe me, marti gras is simply them trying exactly that – then if the heterosexuals say they should be proud, they have better hope of believing it. It’s all about the insecurity of their consciences, but hey, they don’t make the rest of us marvel for the lack of their smoke screens.

  8. en passant says:

    Peter,
    I am a Republican who cannot bear the thought of King Charles III, yet I voted against the Republic for three reasons:
    1. Malcolm Turnbull favoured it and had (in my opinion) designs on being President Malcolm for Life. That was far worse than King Charles III. Having failed in that endeavour Malcolm turned to politics, but I think he is finding that being PM is a poor substitute for just having to give Royal Waves from the adoring proles lining the streets as he passes, because as PM he actually has to do something. Unfortunately, Malcolm’s skills end at scheming and plotting – as he has now demonstrated in spades.
    2. I voted against the Republic because the current system is not broken and there is no proof that a republic would improve my life or that of any Australian – except Malcolm. So how do you fix the unbroken? Oh yes, all you have to do is break it first … and
    3. I could see no improved, satisfactory means of choosing an unbiased, objective President. The G-G has a clearly defined role and should never be an ex-politician (though Hayden did OK), or Malcolm Turnbull.
    I will vote against any referendum that tries to install Constitutional Tribalism and also against a plebiscite on changing the current meaning of marriage for reasons that are just variations of the above logic.
    1. Call yourself what you will, but same-sex couples are not married by any reasonable definition. In my book, titles do not matter that much, but the homosexuals who demand this right will open a can of legal worms over property, assets, maintenance, etc. The Chinese proverbial curse was: “may you get everything you wish for” as the Iron Law of Unforeseen Consequences will inevitably kick in and we do not need that distraction. I have no objection on religious grounds as I am a devout atheist.
    2. The current system is not broken, so how do we fix the unbroken? Oh yes, we break it first and see what happens … and
    3. I have been watching the slow cultural and moral suicide of Australia for many years now and see this as just one more small tear at the basic cultural and moral fabric of Australian society. If it was not this issue, then it would be something else. Chip, chip, chip … When each small battle is won another is immediately begun to wear down society. We have already quietly shelved our bigamy laws thanks to the cultural enrichment of permanent Centrelink clients and their many taxpayer funded wives and taxpayer supported children. Just today, I read that 84% of the welfare budget in Denmark is paid to the cultural enrichers – with more streaming in every day. Danish society will crack one day, not too far away. There is simply no substantive need for this change.
    If someone can honestly list for me the benefits and the dis-benefits and show categorically that the world will be a better place, then count me in. As things stand, I suggest James & Jim get on with their lives just like the rest of us.
    Must go, my wife just called me ….”

  9. Bran Dee says:

    As Peter O’Brien says the danger will manifest itself as a human rights issue if homosexual marriage is legalised by parliament. The ‘Safe Schools’ program without legal precedence is proving difficult enough now for parliamentarians to unwind. Imagine the pressure to boost the safe[unsafe] school program if homo-marriage is legalised. Recoil in apprehension at the type of homosexual books and manuals and DVDs being mandated for school libraries after the legislative tsunami. Recoil in horror at the thought of the antics on TV that one must anticipate if the tiny minority sets the agenda for the heterosexual majority.

    • Roy Edmunds says:

      you don’t have to watch it…homosexuals have always been around…men and women….once upon a recent time Australia practiced its own version of apartheid….very slowly we are becoming a little more human each decade and allowing people to be themselves whether they are gifted or challenged in some way the way is open for all to participate openly in a free society….let em marry I say…if that is their choice…

  10. Matt says:

    Yes, “opponents should forget about preaching that rejection will protect the institution of marriage”. Peter, you are getting closer to the mark. The issue is not about marriage. Framing opposition in terms of marriage, families and procreation misses the mark by a mile.

    The foundations of the agenda are based on prevalent simple deceptions. Deceptions which are alluded to in this essay.

    Indeed, being born with (or sincerely believing one was born with) attractions to the same gender isn’t inherently sinful. This is the original homosexual lobby argument. The deception is to conflate behaviour and tendency as if they are one and the same inseparable construct. Hence the lie that if someone is ‘born that way’ then somehow a lifestyle and behaviour that flows from the tendency must therefore be legitimate. This is closely related to the trap that many parents fall into when they are presented with the heart-rending subtle ultimatum along the lines of “reject my homosexual lifestyle and you reject me as a person”. Homosexual desires, tendencies and impulses don’t make a person any more bad than the person with aggressive tendencies who wants to punch his neighbour/wife/whoever on the nose but exercises self-restraint and doesn’t. But act on those impulses and that is a very different matter.

    The other lie is the notion that mutual romantic love is always a good thing which should be respected. Would you respect mutual romantic love if the relationship happened to be between your spouse and someone else? If there is mutual romantic love between a 12 year-old girl and a 40 year-old man then does that legitimise their intimacy? I would hope we are in agreement here.

    Unfortunately the ‘born that way’ and ‘mutual romantic love’ deceptions have a widespread hold. This is the main event. People have been duped with very simple lies. Take out these foundations of the homosexual agenda and there is nothing left but the obvious: There simply is no basis for any legitimacy of homosexual relationships. The marriage issue then becomes a moot point.

    The illegitimate must be delegitimised.

    • [email protected] says:

      Love isn’t mentioned in the Marriage Act. Love is of no interest to the government in the regulations for registration of a marriage. If the rationale for marriage equality is to gain government acknowledgement of a love relationship then the Marriage Act isn’t the charter for it. The Act doesn’t define marriage. It describes a procedure for official documentation. Similarly, registration of a birth or a death doesn’t define those events.

    • Roy Edmunds says:

      there are a thousand things that can go wrong from the moment of conception …let alone other factors of conditioning…..but slowly we are accepting others whether they are challenged in some way and providing buses that can be lowered for elderly and ramps for those in wheel chairs and hey if a homosexual wants to marry her or his partner lower the ramp for em….what the hell…just do it.

      • Matt says:

        You seem to be suggesting that claiming to be ‘born that way’ legitimises any sort of lifestyle that someone might choose and we must all be accommodating. Would you feel the same about pedophilia, alcoholism, aggression or anything else where someone might claim to be ‘born that way’. Should we accept and accommodate any sort of behaviour that anyone might claim flows from their biological tendencies? And no, arguing that homosexual behaviour and lifestyle does no harm doesn’t wash.

    • Druemac says:

      True..but in the current abolition of cutural moral imperitives in this country, the 12 year old girl and the 40 yr old man may become the norm for inter generational sex.With the radicalization of youth, which the safe Schools agenda is seeking, we will be seeing the wide end of the wedge,confronting our conservative moral principals.

  11. pgang says:

    Peter I have often commented here that without the Christian worldview, if we follow the ‘Enlightenment’ cause to its end, then there is no moral defence against any social manipulation. Even the argument from self preservation can be undermined by a social evolutionary style of argument, which can be manipulated for any end result you please.

    Your opinion here proves the point again. You offer no moral opposition, leaving that to the Christians, but rather you appeal to the status quo. Progressives would beg to differ on the importance of that. They are living the post modern, secular humanist dream of getting whatever is good for them.

    Of course homosexuality is a choice. All sexuality is. Even if you feel desire for the same sex (and much of this is confected from peers, the media and a general purpose-less boredom), then you still have choices as to how to let it play out in your life, just as married people face the same proposition with their sex lives. A genuinely Christian person, facing homosexual urges, would seek out ways to live around it just as married people are expected to find ways to remain faithful.

    I am glad that you have awoken to the agenda that is driving all this. Sadly, most people don’t get it. Whether it is an organised force or not, the agenda remains underneath the surface.

    However your underlying attitude seems to be one of throwing the baby out with the bath water. Yes, marriage has been degraded within secular society, particularly with no-blame divorce which is one of the greatest social disasters in modern history (until now). But that doesn’t mean that marriage per se is no longer worth protecting from further damage. Marriage and family truly are the foundation blocks of our civilisation. Just because it is marred and weakened does not mean that it should be handed over to progressives for its final dissolution. Nor will that protect the victims of the future from our social engineering, the children and ultimately women who will be left defenceless.

  12. Ian MacDougall says:

    What is the next stop? And where is a reasonable line drawn?
    There are lobbies for everything, so google it, and you will find some outfit in favour of it, organising for it and campaigning for it.
    How about sex with animals? Or OS (other species) in general?
    A barrister I know was once engaged to defend a bloke who was up on a charge of bestiality. He was incensed when his client was found guilty and given a substantial prison term. Later, over drinks, he shared his thoughts with an old friend who was a widely acknowledged authority on rural Australia, who made the observation that “if they jailed every man who has been guilty of that offence, it would be the ruin of the pastoral industry.”
    How long till LGBTI is extended, to become say LGBTIOS?

  13. en passant says:

    Ian,
    Please cite the case in your anecdote.

    • Roy Edmunds says:

      reductio ad absurdum ….or some other piece of illogic…sex with animals is completely irrelevant…it is a legal offence….homosexuality is not a legal offence….sometimes I wonder at peoples inability to think …

      • Ian MacDougall says:

        sex with animals is completely irrelevant…it is a legal offence….homosexuality is not a legal offence….

        Homosexuality was a crime in all Australian states until 1972, when it was decriminalised in SA. The last cab off that rank was Tasmania, in 1997. So perhaps you should have said “homosexuality is no longer a legal offence…”
        Might have improved it… a bit…

  14. Roy Edmunds says:

    The Savant Syndrome….just a little from Wiki
    Savant syndrome is a condition in which a person with a mental disability, such as an autism spectrum disorder, demonstrates profound and prodigious capacities or abilities far in excess of what would be considered normal.[1][2][3] People with savant syndrome may have neurodevelopmental disorders, notably autism spectrum disorders, or brain injuries. The most dramatic examples of savant syndrome occur in individuals who score very low on IQ tests, while demonstrating exceptional skills or brilliance in specific areas, such as rapid calculation, art, memory, or musical ability.[4][5][6][7] Although termed a syndrome, it is not recognized as a mental disorder nor as part of a mental disorder in medical manuals such as the ICD-10[8] or the DSM-5.[9]

    Another form of savant syndrome is acquired savant syndrome, in which a person acquires prodigious capabilities or skills following dementia, a head injury or severe blow to the head, or other disturbance. This syndrome is rarer, with a study by Darold Treffert in 2010 showing that in a registry of 319 known savants, only 32 had acquired savant syndrome.[…
    I just wanted to remind people that there are thousands of things that may go wrong with the human being at the moment of conception or thereafter for many reasons….as well as conditioning once out of the womb…
    Unlike Nazi Germany we don’t murder our savants …nor our homosexuals…we give them the freedom to express and live in a free society with protections that we all expect….
    So we let them, all of them, marry….drive cars…pay taxes…vote….do whatever…raise families of their own… we live in a society with laws based on secular judgements….otherwise we would live by religious dogma as do many others in the world today….let us remember that the only evidence we have of any Gods for instance is belief…and that means if I believe the world is flat ….it is flat….which of course is wrong but it may be my belief…but I don’t force it upon others….but it makes no difference that there is no God or there are no Gods to be more accurate because people believe there are Gods and so end of argument.
    The difference with homosexuality or being a savant is that, unlike religious belief and dogma, it is real…and therefore deserves real and empathetic judgement..and the only thing to do is what we do in a civilized secular society is to accept people as they are with the usual lawful requirements which we all accept as members of society. Therefore I cannot force any views of heterosexuality upon others but I expect that my way is as accepted by homosexuals as I accept their ways….so if they want to marry …who am I to intervene?

    • pgang says:

      Your argument is self refuting. You claim that religious belief or dogma isn’t ‘real’. Fine, then neither is your opinion on religious beliefs or dogma. Sorry, you can’t have it both ways. You have to accept that something is real and be able to make a logical case for it (as Christianity has been doing for centuries), otherwise you’re just blowing air out of your arse.

      Who gets to make the law in your much vaunted secular society? The answer is, Whoever gets to make the law. Too bad if they decide they don’t like you I guess. So if we don’t intervene in the marriage issue, then we are allowing people to control the law who have their own interests at heart, rather than the majority interest. Again, your appeal to ‘acceptance’ offers no logic.

  15. en passant says:

    Ian MacDougall,
    Please cite the case in your anecdote.

    • Ian MacDougall says:

      EP:
      You are holding out that hoop, and demanding that I jump through it. Well, I suggest you get hold of the rough end of a pineapple and shove it where the sun don’t shine.
      I am not a lawyer, nor am I interested in possibly compromising the barrister involved. But you appear to know your way around the legality traps better than me.
      The case was in the ACT, circa 1970. That is all I know, and I am not prepared to go looking for further details.
      This thread is about the LGBTI lobby, and its continuous effort to push against and extend the boundaries. That’s all that matters as far as I am concerned.