Wedding belles divide Left

Left fights left in “gay marriage” wars

Influential union leader Joe De [sic] Bruyn has slammed Labor for ‘pandering’ to the Greens on gay marriage and says supporting a law change will not yield more votes for the party,” reports the ABC.

The head of the Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association, who sits on Labor’s national executive was also quoted as saying, "There are no votes for Labor in the marginal electorates in the big metropolitan areas on the gay marriage issue" and we “all know that marriage is between a man and a woman not just because that is what the definition of the Marriage Act says but simply because this has been the way that it has been in the existence of the human race."

Of course, the fights within and between the ALP’s factions from Labor Unity (on the so-called right) to the Socialist Left, are comically absurd, but they highlight splits across our “progressive” landscape. 

European tensions

Australia is not alone. This month Homo Exoticus: Race, classe et critique queer, a French academic publication, has attracted the attention of the European media. The book, according to a University of Bristol press release, “highlights institutionalisation of mainstream gay culture in France through an extended critique of the liberal equal rights agenda” and “focuses predominantly on the issue of gay marriage.” It even explores “eurocentrism” in queer culture, just to spice things up.

Still, our media is politically attached to the idea of evil Christians bashing gays, and burning down their wedding hopes. The campaigning journalist or stereotypical opinion columnist (read parrot), likes to view him or herself as a brave voice against dark forces. Few Australian newspapers can deal with say a French text that “questions the progressive nature” of same-sex marriages, or the fact that Obama opposes them too. They’re only ready for “good gay” vs. “bad Christian” narratives, not real debates.

American fallout

Another sign of tensions within “progressive circles” is also on parade in the United States. Like the French publication, Against Equality: Queer Critiques of Gay Marriage, is creating waves. Or as queer editor Ryan Conrad states, “I’m so tired of the working class being totally invisible and having their voice shut out.”

The queer activist who spoke to a campus audience in Swarthmore, Phoenix, last month, stated that he is “tired of the gay marriage rhetoric of inclusion because it doesn’t work and it doesn’t add up for poor people” – a position that sounds more Joe de Bruyn than Ellen DeGeneres. 

And Conrad has questioned what he describes as “a sort of monolithic voice from mainstream gay and lesbian organizations when there are actually these critical and contending voices.” 

The progressive left is eating the progressive left. Or as one thought-provoking advert read in one of America’s oldest universities:

Think you understand the Gay Marriage debate? Come hear a different perspective! Against Equality’s Marriage=Death Tour is coming to Georgetown University!! Conrad, the founder of Against Equality will be here to discuss its latest publication: Against Equality: Queer Critiques of Gay Marriage.

Australian considerations  

There are ideological battles, indeed. But surprising battles? No. The Australian’s Christopher Pearson (who just happens to be gay) wrote in the Weekend Australian, “The most obvious thing about the arguments in support of same-sex marriage is their shallowness. The best Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young could manage last week was to remind us breathlessly that we are living in the year 2010, as though that settled the matter. The Greens’ line that all loving couples deserve to be treated equally is just as specious.” 

He adds, “Among the reasons the Greens are so keen on same-sex marriage is that they want to reduce the population and drive down national fertility. Their refusal to discriminate positively in favour of heterosexuality and uphold the distinctive value of normal marriage shows their political project yet again for what it is: a dead end.” 

And he notes that this isn’t just about Christians. Can Labor afford to isolate more votingJews, Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists? Perhaps Joe de Bruyn has a point. After all, it’s 2010, and crime statistics say that fatherless families hurt our community, and that creating more of them isn’t clever welfare politics. 

What’s more, there’s news that some gay activists appear to be faking majorities (a sign of desperation). As columnist Miranda Devine pointed out in the Sunday Herald Sun, Galaxy’s poll of 1050 voters (which found 62 per cent of Australia’s favour gay marriage) was commissioned by activist groups.

Its leading question? "A number of countries allow same-sex couples to marry. These include Argentina, Canada, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa and Spain, as well as parts of the United States and Mexico. Do you agree or disagree that same-sex couples in Australia should be able to marry?"

Read: rigged. But also read: desperate divided left-wingers.


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