Listening to ABC radio the other day, I learned that, according to a recent poll, ‘resolving the same-sex marriage issue’ ranks second as a concern for voters, along with border security and behind fixing the debt and deficit.
At first glance one might take this finding, as will every dutiful social engineer on the Left, to mean that legislating for same-sex marriage is imperative. Well, that is one way of looking at things. But to my mind, what might easily be argued is that many wish the issue would simply go away, one way or the other, because it is distracting our ‘leaders’ from what really matters: the economy and border security.
To be honest, that’s just semantics on my part. When I put on my realist’s hat I know that the clamour and whining of the gay lobby won’t end until the LBGTI crowd gets what it wants. Back in 2010, Labor’s official policy was to support the traditional definition of marriage. In fact, Labor’s most prominent gay MP, Penny Wong, supported that very policy, saying at the time that there was a “cultural, religious and historical view of marriage being between a man and a woman” and, further, that this traditional definition of the term was worth preserving.
Let’s take Wong at her word, accept that she genuinely held that belief in 2010. If so, we can only conclude that, at some point in the past six years, she has come to accept that times have changed, her former view was wrong, and she is now eager to see implemented that which she formerly opposed. And here is the rub: in her newly acquired and ardent support of the rainbow crowd’s marriage agenda, she endorses the view of its loud and more emotional advocates that anyone who opposes same-sex marriage must be, by definition, a hateful and homophobic bigot.
When Wong examines her conscience — allowing that such periods of quiet reflection punctuate her busy schedule of ABC appearances — does it occur to her that she is herself the very model of subjectivism and intolerance. After all, just six yeas ago she opposed gay marriage. Now, having followed her own road to Damascus, she denies others the indulgence of the time in which to mull the issues and change their minds. There is one rule for Ms Wong, apparently, and quite another for everyone else.
Now let’s assume the more likely interpretation: Wong did not really believe her own words and was merely playing the political game when she was prepared to sacrifice same-sex marriage on the altar of her career. In this case, isn’t it hypocrisy on steroids for Wong to expect others, by which I mean those whose opposition to same-sex marriage is based on firm religious or secular conviction (for example, Tony Abbott and Cory Bernardi) to abandon their beliefs just because it now suits Wong’s political and personal convenience to belatedly acknowledge her own?
We’re told that we now can’t have a plebiscite on same-sex marriage because it will unleash a wave of hatred and vilification for and against gay people and leave them terribly scarred, perhaps even cause some of them to take their own lives. Opponents of the plebiscite point to the Irish referendum in 2015 as the purported proof of this. But why would all those hate-spewing homophobes be holding fire until a plebiscite is called? The debate has been ongoing for years. Where is the hate speech? If Parliament votes for same-sex marriage without first taking account of a plebiscite, do SSM proponents expect these apocryphal homophobes, denied what they were promised at the election, to just shrug and fade away. Scotching a popular vote can only inflame the very ‘bigotry’ advocates claim to fear.
Let’s have a look at the Irish referendum. It now seems an article of faith among the more incoherent SSM advocates that this was a ‘divisive’ event. Interestingly, right at the moment, we have two of the convenors of the Irish ‘Yes’ campaign in Australia. Here is Tiernan Brady, political director for the Irish Yes campaign, as quoted in The Australian (emphasis added):
“the lead up to the vote was mentally taxing for LGBT people but the vote itself was ultimately a ‘unifying moment for our country‘, and “ugly conversations were not the result of the process itself.”
On the other hand, SMH reported Grainne Healy, co-director of the Yes campaign, as saying,
“Irish volunteers needed counselling after abuse and hate speech from reform opponents”.
If vilification was a significant aspect of the Irish referendum it was not widely reported, if at all, in the media. An extensive Google search fails to find any evidence of this. What mostly appears to be the case is that activists label elements of the ‘No’ case as homophobic. For example, the argument that ‘children do better in a family with a mother and a father’, whatever its merits, is simply dismissed as disguised homophobia that is hurtful or insulting to gay people. That is a great example of having your cake and eating it too. Reduced to its basic and absurd level, the logic boils down to this: ‘We can’t allow a meaningful debate about same-sex marriage because all your arguments are hurtful’. Here we have the 18C mindset writ large and ugly.
Even if the debate in Ireland was divisive, why would that necessarily translate to Australia? Ireland has a completely different social, religious and demographic tradition.
One of the real motivations behind opposition to a plebiscite is that gay activists see same-sex marriage as a ‘right’, not to be bestowed by the people but acknowledged by government. They resent going cap in hand to the great unwashed.
But same-sex marriage is not a ‘right’. It is a bid to re-define a concept understood by society for millennia as being the contract between a man and a woman, and only a man and a woman. An admittedly crude analogy is that marriage is a club to which gays are seeking membership. It is up to the members of that club whether or not to accept them. Judging by the polling, in all likelihood they will.
If same-sex marriage is simply a push for ‘equality’ and not part of a wider ideological campaign, and if its advocates want the issue resolved ASAP, then they should get behind the plebiscite to demand not merely the rubber stamp of parliamentary endorsement but the endorsement of their fellow citizens.
Penny Wong changed her mind. How she dare she assert that lesser humans are incapable of the same transition.