I wanted so badly to be able to support same-sex marriage. I wanted to believe its proponents when they say its ratification will mean that gay couples can tie the knot, nothing more and nothing less. Because – and I think most Australians are with me on this – more than I’m strongly pro- or anti-SSM, I’m just sick of talking about it.
Then the US Supreme Court passed down its decision on Obergefell vs. Hodges, and SSM was the law of the land. (I’m an American, by the way.) ‘At last!’ a surreptitious little part of me cheered. ‘It’s finally over!’ I was for traditional marriage, but – and I can’t stress this enough – I couldn’t care less about the issue. My opinion was a formality. If asked, I could give my definition of marriage; but, then, if asked which claimant to the French throne I support I could tell you that, too. (The Orleanist.) The real question, I guess, is who asked me?
So I’m not here to galvanize Aussie conservatives into supporting traditional marriage. That would be hypocritical. And, truth be told, I still don’t really care about it ipso facto. What I am here to do is give a simple warning: everything the pro-gay marriage lobby is telling you is pretty much a lie.
Take The Guardian’s ‘Why Knot?’ forum, which Andrew Bolt called a ‘leftie love-in’. They seemed to take issue with Mr Bolt’s characterization, which is strange considering the ‘broad range of voices’ they enlisted for their ‘wide-ranging conversation’ spent the whole night agreeing with each other.
Serious news outlets failed to take notice of ‘Why Knot?’, so The Guardian was kind enough to report on the event themselves,  ensuring the proceedings of this momentous occasion would be preserved for posterity. Really, we should be grateful they did: tucked away in their self-congratulatory bubble, the Guardianistas gave a little glimpse into their real designs for a post-SSM world. And it’s not pretty.
The Guardian’s main argument, which I bought lock, stock and barrel, is that we should just get this over with. As they say: ‘according to all the polling evidence, most Australians just want it to be done and dusted’. No doubt. But let me say that, if you’re supporting same-sex marriage just to get the issue out of the way, you’re going to be sorely disappointed. Unsurprisingly, a total revamp of a millennia-old institution like marriage doesn’t just happen with the stroke of a pen. There are registries to update, religious liberties to accommodate, dissidents to be purged – it’s a lengthy process.
Which brings us to the next little snag. Over in the great states of Virginia and Georgia, Republican-controlled state legislatures put forward similar bills that would protect clergymen who objected to performing same-sex marriages. Easy enough, right? We were promised the whole way through that churches would never be forced to marry gay couples. Come to find that was a big fat lie. The Democratic governor of Virginia vetoed the bill outright, while the Republican governor of Georgia did the same under pressure from major corporations, such as Disney. I don’t mean to scare-monger. That’s not to say Adam and Steve are going to sue Father Brown for refusing to marry them. It just means that Adam and Steve have the right to do so. ‘What happens if Father Brown is found guilty?’ you ask? Who knows! That’s what makes it so exciting.
And lest anyone should think this is a uniquely American phenomenon, we have The Guardian to set the record straight. Their report speaks glowingly of former New South Wales premier Kristina Keneally’s ‘long march through Catholic institutions’. Unless my ear’s gone all tinny, The Guardian is unironically quoting Rudi Dutschke, the German Marxist who described the proletarian revolution as a ‘long march through the institutions of power’.
Keneally apparently used her allotted speaking time to expound on her theories of Christian ethics – namely ‘the church’s very warped teaching on homosexuality’. ‘The church teaches that a person’s sexual orientation is valid; it is the acting upon it that is sinful… In my mind, that would seem God’s cruel joke,’ she told the forum. On any other occasion our reply would, of course, be, ‘Who cares?’ We shouldn’t consider the ex-state premier an authority on Christian morality any more than we’d enlist the Pope to lead a royal commission into union corruption.
But this time it matters. It matters because, as we’ve seen in the US, governors (premiers in Oz) will in essence become religious judges. If they feel a church’s objections to same-sex marriage are ‘warped’, they can simply dismiss them. The boundaries of religious freedom will not be absolute. They won’t even be codified. They’ll be set arbitrarily by politicians, depending on what they consider to be valid theology and what they consider ‘a cruel joke’.
So be wary of the ‘gay-marriage line. It’s not going to be a quick, painless nip/tuck. Would that it were so simple, dear reader! Alas, no. It’ll have consequences ranging far beyond the fact that gays get married with the full recognition of the state. Passing same-sex marriage legislation could very well mean throwing churches at the mercy of state and federal governments, cost civil servants their jobs for holding traditional Christian beliefs, and land conservative clergymen with hefty fines – or worse.
So, if you’re sort of on the fence, or pro-trad marriage but not terribly invested in the issue, just remember that it’s not all about the definition of marriage: it’s really about the definition of religious liberty. And that’s a cause, one would hope, that every conservative and libertarian would stick out their neck for. I wish I had.