Last night, the Abbott government reminded us again that they are out of step with the Australian public, voting against allowing a free vote on marriage equality.
Despite the latest polls showing an overwhelming majority are in favour of legislating marriage equality, the government is determined to put their fingers in their ears, close their eyes, and click their red heels while muttering “there’s no place like home”, in the hope they be transported back to 1900s rural Kansas.
That support for marriage equality is now the mainstream view means conservative politicians and commentators need to resort to increasingly wild arguments to maintain their position. They’ve at least shown some creativity, I’ll give them that.
1) Tony Abbott: “The Idea That The Gay Community Would…Have Wanted To Embrace A Bourgeois Institution Like Marriage Would Have Been Unthinkable”
This is the first version of “the gays don’t want to get married” argument. Never mind the fact that ol’ Tone is only referring to his “gay friends” (what gay friends? Is this like when people say “I have a black friend therefore I’m not racist”?) from university, aka conversations he had almost 40 years ago.
This is ridiculous on so many levels. The Liberal party is supposed to be the party of the Australian bourgeoisie, so surely it’s in their best interests to allow all people to join bourgeois institutions. Never mind the fact that this opinion is based on the decades old view of some “friends” and fails to listen to the current community demands, including those of his sister.
Sure, there are some gays (myself included) who won’t embrace a bourgeois institution like marriage. But that doesn’t mean you should deny all of us the right.
Being against the institution of marriage is a radically left wing position. Tone, unless you’re trying to destroy the party from within and bring on the socialist revolution, I find it hard to believe that being against a bourgeois institution is actually your position.
2) Eric Abetz: “Lots Of Homosexuals Don’t Want To Get Married, Dolce & Gabbana Never Got Married”
Version 2.0 of “the gays don’t want to get married”.
One incredibly wealthy, tax evading, IVF denying, [former]couple choose not to get married, therefore ALL GAYS EVERYWHERE SHOULDN’T BE ABLE TO GET MARRIED. D&G, if you’re reading this, please, reunite your decade-dead relationship and get married, for the sake of Australian gays.
3) ‘But We Don’t Really Know How Australians Feel On The Issue’
Abbott has promised to look into the idea of a plebiscite, or referendum, in his next term if re-elected, as though he’s not quite sure where the Australian public stands.
As though the constant opinion polls in overwhelming support of the issue, and the constant and consistently strong turnouts at rallies around the country don’t quite demonstrate the public’s stance.
No, we need a government-funded opinion poll that doesn’t actually have the power to create any legislation to tell Abbott how we feel. Let’s all waste taxpayer’s time and money to tell us something that is already immediately obvious. Great idea. (On top of that, although it can legislate, a referendum isn’t that good either.)
4) If Gays Can Marry, What’s Stopping Someone From Marrying Their Dog?
An oldie, but still a goodie, from our favourite senator, Cory Bernardi. This argument is almost so outrageous I just can’t even respond to it, but Bruce Baer Arnold took the time to, so I’ll let him speak for me.
All I can really say is that this argument is so depressing I need to go and be consoled by my puppy. We’ll probably cuddle on the couch.
5. ‘If We Follow America On Marriage, We Better Follow Them On Gun Laws’
In June, Queensland MP George Christensen tweeted that following America into marriage equality is as ridiculous as following their stance on firearms. The old “if X told you to jump off a cliff, would you do it?” argument. No, George, it doesn’t quite work like that.
I can see where he’s coming from though. Because if Bernardi’s right, if we allow gays to marry, then people will start marrying animals, and then we’ll have a whole heap of weird hybrid animal-humans and will probably need a bunch of guns to control our brand new mutant population. Right?
6. ‘Queer Families Caused The London Riots’
Another old favourite from the woman I love to hate, Miranda Devine. Granted, she said that the London riots were caused by a “fatherless society” but that fatherless society, she claims, is also product of same sex marriage, lesbian mothers, and Penny Wong’s baby. Now that Penny has a second child, I’m wondering when the second burning riot baby Hannah has no doubt caused is due to begin. We better do as Christensen suggests, get ourselves some firearms and prepare for the apocalypse.
7. ‘We’d Be Far Too Decadent For Asia’
This is version 2.0 of the “gay marriage is bourgeois” argument, this time from Barnaby Joyce.
As well as being fairly racist to suggest that some kind of legislation is “too decadent” for Asian countries, it’s also fairly hilarious that gay marriage is considered “decadent”. I mean, Barnaby, I’ve seen some pretty decadent straight weddings.
Granted, given our flamboyant tastes, it’s true that gays will have decadent weddings too, but don’t forget that Dolce & Gabbana didn’t get married, so not all gays are responsible for fuelling this decadence that’s just too much for our northern neighbours.
8. ‘WON’T SOMEBODY PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN?!’
This is the Helen Lovejoy argument, one proudly espoused by lobby groups like the Australian Marriage Forum, who argue a child should have a mother and a father.
Guys, I really hate to break it to you, but the gays can already have children. Single parents can already have children. There are kids Australia-wide who grow up in a motherless or fatherless home (and haven’t caused any major riots in the UK’s capital).
Additionally, there are a lot of kids who have a mother and a father, who together, but aren’t married. *Gasp!*
Marriage equality literally changes nothing. Except you know, help a child feel as though their family is as legitimate as everyone else’s, that they’re not second-class citizens because of their family situation. If you look at it that way, I’m the one thinking of the children here, and you’re the one bullying them into a lifetime of pain and depression.
9. ‘But We Promised We Wouldn’t’
Abbott told the AFR after last night’s debate that because the party went into the election against marriage equality, to change their stance now would cause a lot of people to “feel dudded”.
Hey, Tone. Have you seen this cool website? It tells me that your party has broken nearly as many promises as you’ve kept since the 2013 election, with many more still being discussed. It’s pretty clear you don’t really care about whether or not your constituents “feel dudded” so this whole point is moot, and is really just a more elaborate way of saying this next argument…
10. ‘We’re Just Homophobes’
This argument isn’t particularly ridiculous. In fact, it’s patently obvious that this is why we haven’t legislated in favour of marriage equality yet. What is ridiculous, is that I have no one to attribute this quote to.
Conservative politicians and commentators are hiding behind increasingly stupid arguments, like the previous nine on this list, to hide the fact that all they really want to say is “I hate you, faggots.”
And all I can really say to that is, “Hey dickheads, I hate you too.”
By not legislating for marriage equality, the Abbott government is implicitly condoning casual homophobia. They’re condoning the right to treat LGBTI people in Australia as second-class citizens.
When I walk down Liverpool St with my friend and a taxi full of men slows down so that one of them can yell at us, call us dyke faggots who need to get fucked, that was condoned by the Abbott government.
When the kid in rural Australia commits suicide because he’s made to feel as though he doesn’t have the right to love who he wants to, that is condoned by the Abbott government.
Marriage equality is about so much more than marriage. Please, stop coming up with ludicrous arguments, and admit that the only reason you’re against it is because you’re a homophobe.
That’s not exactly a comforting thought, but at least it’s an honest one.
Then, maybe, we can let democracy happen, and do what the majority of Australians want: change the law.
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