Have 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.