The Love That Won’t Shut Up

oscarRecently, prompted by a discussion on the Bolt Report, I have been pondering the issue of same-sex marriage.  Andrew Bolt, quite correctly, posited the idea that it is a bottom-order issue for most and yet, oddly, the entire program seemed to revolve around the subject.  And here was I, also seemingly obsessed by it. So, at the risk of bringing coals to Newcastle (brandishing my climate-scepticcredentials), here are some random thoughts on this issue.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has agreed that this matter will be put to the people after the next election in the form of either a plebiscite or a referendum.  A referendum is not strictly necessary because no change to the Constitution is needed for Parliament to legislate and recognise gay unions.  The only reason to hold a referendum is, first, that the result will be binding on the government and, second, that all must vote, thereby rendering the result truly representative.

On the other hand, a plebiscite is not binding and voting is not compulsory, either of which could lead to a situation whereby the government of the day refuses to accede to the popular vote, particularly if voter turnout is not almost universal.  Personally, I think this risk is small.  In any case, I can see no reason why a plebiscite could not be established by legislation that would also make it compulsory to vote.

Same-sex marriage advocates fear a referendum on the grounds that it is notoriously difficult to get a proposal up.  The same-sex lobby claims that about 70% of voters ‘support’ their latest cause.  However, it is inevitable that a significant proportion of those supporters are not prepared to ‘die in a ditch’ over this issue.  There is a natural resistance to changing the Constitution, a step many of these putative supporters will be reluctant to take on an issue that is not immediately germane to their principal concerns.  It seems beyond question that the same sex lobby is correct in this assessment and that a referendum could easily fail.

Most polls split the vote roughly 70/30 in favour of same-sex marriage.  In a referendum this ratio would not hold up, but it probably would in a plebiscite. If the PM is sincere in letting the people decide, he will not go down the referendum path.  If a referendum fails, it will be interpreted that he has manipulated the process to get the outcome he wanted.  He will be seen as ‘tricky’ and the issue will continue to fester.

Recent polls also suggest that a clear majority want the issue decided by a popular vote. not by government legislation., which brings me to the hypocrisy of Labor. It did nothing about this during its’ six years in power, but now parrots the line that ‘we are elected to make decisions.’  Tanya Plibersek, (who, along with Senator Hanson-Young, surely must be the standout example of the aphorism that it’s better to keep one’s mouth shut and be thought a fool, rather than speak out and prove it) claims that ‘we don’t have a referendum on the GST, we don’t have a referendum on asylum seekers etc etc’.

Plibersek’s logic is a particularly egregious example of the specious reasoning that seems to infect so much of our political debate.  Yes, politicians are elected to make decisions on behalf of their constituents – decisions that go towards protecting the economic and physical wellbeing of the nation.  In many cases those decisions will offend a certain proportion of any and every MP’s constituents, but these are the occasions where MPs are expected to make the hard calls.  In some cases, they need to make decisions that they know are in the national interest but which they also recognise to be hugely unpopular.  These are issues it is not prudent to delay until the next election.  Same-sex marriage does not go to the core business of government and, as far as the national interest is concerned, it is neither here nor there.  Neither is it particularly urgent, despite the frenzy.  So, in this case, MPs have the luxury of allowing it to be put to the people.

For proponents of same-sex marriage to suggest this is an urgent priority is ludicrous.  Until relatively recently, homosexuals had been persecuted.  Now they are widely accepted, protected by anti-discrimination legislation, can establish de facto relationships and are even permitted to adopt children. They may now openly celebrate their sexuality, paradoxically demanding that they be treated as ‘normal’ even as more than a few march down Oxford Street in bottomless chaps.

And we applaud them for it, even as we avoid saying the un-sayable.  That most heterosexuals find the idea of homosexual congress decidedly unappealing.  That most heterosexuals feel that homosexuals are not, in fact, normal.  That most parents, on discovering that their cherished child is homosexual, experience dismay. That many heterosexuals on learning that an admired public figure has ‘come out’ also feel something akin to disappointment.

Heterosexuals are not so much ‘proud’ of their sexuality as they are thankful for it.  Homosexuals should not take such conspicuous pride in their sexuality, as many do, for if it is an entirely natural, hard-wired leaning, as many claim, there is no personal achievement in it. If it is not, then it is merely a peculiar taste — like, for example, the attraction some heterosexuals feel for redheads. Let them be proud of their achievements, of who they are as individuals and their accepting of their sexuality, recognising that it still has its’ drawbacks, as unjust as this may be.

The degree of acceptance of homosexuality by society has been in spite of unworthy, but nonetheless human, feelings.  It has taken time to reconcile the objective with the subjective in most people’s psyches. Once offers advice on this topic in the sure knowledge of being immediately branded a homophobe, but let me suggest that the gay lobby cool its heels for a spell, accept that a little more time, and a lot more balanced discussion, will be needed to see Australia take the desired step. step.  If it is to happen, it should not happen in a spirit of rancour on either side.

Speaking personally, I have no particular objection to the idea of same sex-marriage and would almost certainly vote in its favour. What I do find objectionable is the way in which this issue has been used, — just another trendy ‘progressive’ cause– to corrupt the standard of public debate.

11 thoughts on “The Love That Won’t Shut Up

  • brian.doak@bigpond.com says:

    I am as sceptical as you Peter of the claim by the same-sex lobby that 70% of voters ‘support’ their cause.If the result of the May 24 referendum in Ireland is examined closely the s-s lobby would be confronted by their support being closer to 30% than to 70%. As in almost everywhere in the world voting in Ireland is not compulsory so the referendum was more like a plebiscite in which only 60.5% of the eligible 3.2 million polling age population voted.Since only 1.2 million of these voted ‘Yes’ the proportion of s-s supporters is therefore only 37% which is well short of a majority and way short of the imagined 70%.
    The Irish vote was also skewed in their favour because of all the expatriate Irish who returned in short flying time from UK,USA,Canada. Recall that the nett outward migration from Ireland is 35,000 pa and a vast number of s-s supporters returned to holiday and to vote.
    If both sides of the issue are put to the voters in Australia, and the ABC & SBS desist their advocacy, then the s-s lobby will be rebuffed.

  • dsh2@bigpond.com says:

    Well, I do have an objection to “same-sex marriage” as it is a complete reversal of what “marriage” is and means. If same sex people want to live together in a loving relationship, fine, but do not appropriate the heterosexual term of marriage for such relationships. Joined in a “civil union” seems a perfectly reasonable term to use and does not then destroy the institution which is designed to produce and protect society’s children which have to be produced via a man and a woman. The argument about equality is a furphy designed to attract support from the gullible. People in civil unions can have the same rights as those who marry but there is no way possible that allowing “marriage” of same sex couples makes them equal to heterosexuals; they are two different entities.

  • MickL says:

    “most heterosexuals find the idea of homosexual congress decidedly unappealing.”. I love this line so much. Made me laugh. And it’s telling.

    Peter I am heterosexual (mostly) and happily married (14 years) and even though I haven’t met you I find the idea of you and your wife having heterosexual congress decidedly unappealing. Decidedly. I’m sure the feeling is mutual. Just think about all people you have ever met in your life. How many of them would you find appealing when on the job with their significant other? I can think of about 4 people I have ever met that I think would look appealing whilst consummating their relationship. Bottom line (no pun intended) is that almost all “congress” is unappealing. Downright disturbing in some cases – imagine your parents if you dare.

    I can’t figure out why some people seem to look at gay males and imagine them sodomising each other. Not literally, obviously, but their mind goes straight “their” sex act and how unappealing it is. When you neighbours walk their dog past your house you don’t imagine them having sex. No one sees straight couples and contemplates the merit of them copulating. Why do some people do this with queers?

    Another interesting fact about sodomy is that the vast majority of it is conducted by straight people, and yet I somehow don’t think you imagine your straight friends doing it and deciding whether you find it appealing.

    Gay pride isn’t about being proud to be gay. It’s about being proud to be “out”. Its damn hard to be out in huge parts of this society, partially thanks to people who look at a gay couple and see an unappealing sex act.

    • Peter OBrien says:

      I was not specifically referring to sodomy or any particular act. Just the idea of two males engaging in any form of sex. I find even the sight of two men mouth kissing decidedly off-putting as do most, if not all, of my friends. And, as I am at pains to point out, I accept that this is purely a subjective or emotional response but nonetheless real for all that.
      It is true that the image of certain people coupling might be unappealing but in fact my original words were that I find the idea of gay sex ‘abhorrent’. I would not say that about any heterosexual couple, including my parents.

    • Jody says:

      “I am heterosexual (mostly”? Yeah, and I’m partly pregnant.

  • jenkins says:

    I was a supporter of gay marriage a few years ago and even donated money towards a get-up campaign. Not now due to the militant, nasty and narcissistic manner of the lobbying. It has reminded me of the aids epidemic when the gay lobby in America insisted on their “right” to donate blood. A haemophiliac I knew died from contracting aids after a transfusion. He was a really good guy. I also don’t agree with allowing gay people to adopt.

  • Rob Brighton says:

    I object to the suggestion my congress is unappealing, I find it stunningly so. Mind you, I have the good taste not to announce it to the world as a badge of pride (except as commentary on websites apparently).
    Politeness aside, nobody else is the slightest bit interested, it takes a special level of prurience to be so.
    Just how a conversation about the merits or otherwise of SSM degenerates to this level is surprising, being utterly indifferent to how gay, lesbian, hetro or homo or indeed any one of the myriad of “tastes” that humans use to get their rocks off, why are these choices relevant to the conversation? Subject to reasonable legal controls who cares how your neighbor gets his jollies.
    Just a question out loud, is this the same mental settings that drives our obsession with how others live exhibited by disreputable types such as the green movement? Say it isn’t so.

  • Rob Brighton says:

    Hahahaha Well done Jody, jealousy runs rampant until you gather the mind picture….I think I shall go have a lie down.

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