Men who fish, botanise, work with the turning lathe, or gather sea-weeds, will make admirable husbands; and a little amateur painting in water-colour shows the innocent and quiet mind…
I will not say they are the best of men, but they are the stuff out of which adroit and capable women manufacture the best husbands.
R. L. Stevenson (1859—1894) Virginibus Puerisque
Possibly the least important and least pressing issue placed before the Australian Parliament, at least for the past decade or six, must surely be the confected need and conspicuous anguish over the lack of gay-marriage laws in Australia. That an issue, which, when rendered down to its most basic, is that of a petulant quest for status —“they’ve got it, I want it” — is involving the time of the parliament and its earnest, hard-working Members, is most extraordinary.
It’s not as though there aren’t legal and contractual means available to enable same-sex couples to form and secure life-long partnership arrangements to satisfy their needs and duplicate all the aspects of marriage. Well, nearly all!
It‘s not as though the nation hasn’t passed laws to remove most discrimination that had bedevilled homosexual men and women, or that public attitudes that made life unpleasant, and at times lethal, have almost disappeared. Or that people of whatever sexual persuasion (or persuasions) can not now live in relative freedom and harmony without the fear of police, thugs or insensitive judges making their life hell. No. This is now a country that generally makes life agreeable and pleasant, and has laws to both protect and guarantee homosexual lifestyle, free of fear and oppression.
The question is whether the marriage tradition, between a man and a woman, which has historical, religious, cultural, social and legal implications should be drastically altered to accommodate the perceived needs of a very small minority of Australian citizens, when alternative solutions are, or could be, made available to aspiring same-sex couples.
In this extraordinary adventure into the arcane world of “human rights” there has been virtually no debate in regards to how heterosexual people consider the idea of Gay marriage. Is Gay marriage an affront to their customs, culture, religion and their understanding of marriage, parenthood, children’s welfare and that terribly awful business so often derided by the intellectual elite — values?
Values take on all sorts of forms. Perhaps having the courage to help a crying child, alone on a street corner, without worrying about being accused of paedophilia is one? Perhaps being a rescuer rather that a spectator, when someone is drowning, is another? Perhaps standing up for something, knowing full well present-day zealots will accuse you of being a racist, a homophobe, a xenophobe — or someone in urgent need of re-education is the killer? The silent majority today have been lobotomised by bigoted faux-intellectuals in constant search of the “unreformed” citizen to whack. Australian’s thought police!
What has been missing from the debate is some sort of idea as to exactly how many Australian same-sex citizens will possibly be affected by all this marriage angst. Or to ask the Roman lawyer, Cicero’s, famous question, cui bono? — who benefits?
Possibly the best place to look regarding people and numbers where gay marriage is most active is south of the tundra in Canada. In 2006 Statistics Canada reported 45,300 same-sex couples. Of these about 7,500 (16%) had taken advantage of the Gay marriage laws of Canada, while 37,900 (83%) hadn’t, but were considered common-law couples. Of the 774 same-sex marriages in British Columbia, 55% were female couples and roughly 46% were male couples. To put this into some sort of perspective the population of Canada in 2008 was about 33,000,000.
Historically, the institution of marriage between a man and a woman seems to have been considered a vital social need with the creation of children being the most important aspect. This was followed by the need for the father’s responsibility for each child and to undertake certain tasks such as protection, sustenance and cultural training. Marriage also made the bond between two people a device for continued loyalty and protection from the advances, to some degree, against sexual predators, both within and without the group.
That marriage between a man and a woman is the accepted form in nearly every society, civilisation, racial and ethnic group — on every continent and island in the world — you would imagine that this would be a consideration taken by those interested in the political issue of gay marriage and those who are promoting and supporting the issue. When the likes of Mark Arbib and Paul Howes suddenly join the bandwagon of the Green’s campaign, then the public and the politicians should recognise that this isn’t a social issue, or a human rights issue, but a political issue. When the likes of GetUp! sniff the political wind, they are there like a flash.
GetUp! claims that:
GetUp members have always been on the front-lines of the battle for human-rights. Together we made over 10,000 submissions to the National Human Rights Consultation.
Er, well, no. They had 10,000 people click on their website protest button. Ten thousand individual submissions? I think not.
Last week the House of Representatives passed a Green’s motion calling on lawmakers to gauge the feelings in their communities for “marriage equality”, which was passed by 73 votes to 72. The only Greens member, Adam Bandt, who introduced the motion, told reporters, “ It’s the first time the House of Representatives has recognised marriage equality”. Of course the House did nothing of the sort.
If Australian politicians were genuinely interested in finding out what the Australian people thought they would simply move that the question of gay marriage be placed on the upcoming referendum paper — the referendum that wants to recognise Aboriginal people in the Preamble to the Constitution. It’s really not that hard!