‘We’re Not Here to F**k Spiders, So Get On With It’, And Other Things Jesus Might Say

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The marriage equality debate has been settled. Oh wait, no it hasn’t. Michael Bradley takes aim at the folks who don’t like losing.

“Blessed are the cheese makers”, Jesus might have said, and why the hell aren’t we talking about their rights today? Why do the cake bakers get all the attention? If I was going to have a gay wedding, which I’d definitely do out of spite if I wasn’t not gay and already married, I would want a six tier cheese cake with a figurine coupling of Tony Abbott and George Pell on top. I’d rewrite the lyrics to “Endless Love” to suit, and force a Christian rock band to play it on a key-tar.

Oh, ridiculous? We may as well all get down in the mosh-pit of nonsense being peddled by the silent majority/persecuted minority who are “feeling the hurt” according to Jacqui Lambie, and not stop until the dance floor resembles the aftermath of a (very heterosexual) B&S ball circa 1985, bits of cheese and cabanossi floating in the beer and vomit.

What am I saying? I’m making as much sense as the po-faced defenders of the “faith”, whatever that now means, as they twist their hypocrisies ever more tightly around their choking throats, facing as they are into the abyss of what we’ve really been talking about all along but nobody is ever prepared to say: gay sex.

Yes, LGBTQI people have sex too, and they do it in ways which make 38% of the Australian voting population feel a bit ick.

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That’s ok, actually. It isn’t even bigotry to not enjoy the thought of other people’s sexual proclivities. Bigotry is wanting to discriminate against them because of those proclivities or their sexual identity. We don’t make laws allowing ourselves to treat each other differently because of our gender, race, ethnicity or, yes, religion. Since the passing of the Sex Discrimination Act in 1984, we have not allowed discrimination on the basis of sexuality.

This is the point constantly and consciously overlooked by the camp which was formerly No but has transformed into ‘Oh Alright Yes But What About The Cheese Makers Help Help I’m Being Oppressed’.

Sorry, the point. Yes, the point is that, as at today while we still do not have marriage equality in Australia notwithstanding the $100m we just spent confirming that we want it like we’ve been saying all along, what happens if a Christian cheese cake maker is approached by a same sex couple seeking catering for their engagement party? What happens is that the supplier cannot, by the existing and longstanding anti-discrimination law of this country, refuse on the basis that he or she doesn’t approve of gay couples. Cannot. Old law. Still in force.

The difference, once Parliament has finished stuffing up what we were promised would be a simple process of converting our explicitly stated wish into law is simply this: it will still be illegal for ordinary businesses to refuse to supply services to people on the basis of their sexuality. Which is not a difference at all.

Churches and priests will maintain their existing legal right to discriminate against absolutely everyone; they can still refuse to marry divorcees, bastards and people with one leg. It’s just that they get to add another class of person to their list of refusals: LGBTQI couples. Yay.

Religious freedom? Preserved. Protected by the Constitution. Extended to the positive right to discriminate in our anti-discrimination laws, by exception. Want to continue hating gays? Go right ahead, they can’t stop you. But, if you want the right to kick them out of your shop, then you are obliged to admit to one of two truths: either that right extends to everyone else you or anyone else doesn’t like (dark people, short people, lawyers, Christians…); or your right is embedded not in the activity of marriage but in their sexual identity.

Because that, admit it or not, is what you can’t stand. Otherwise, you’d be demanding your right be extended to gay bar mitzvahs, queer wedding anniversaries and kicking the children of LGBTQI couples out of your school. If LGBTQI marriage is so abhorrent, then that’s the consequence.

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So here’s the thing, Miranda Devine (“Yes vote means a new minority needs protection”), Scott Morrison (“I don’t believe that only 40% of Australians believe there should be protections for religious freedom in this bill. I think that that figure is much higher”), and Jacqui Lambie (“40% are hurting”).

You may be right. Maybe we need even more legal protection of religious freedom in this country in which religious freedom has never been seriously threatened.

If you’re right, then freedom of speech and freedom of association will be coming along too. That’s a big conversation. It’s not a question we were asked in the survey which you demanded. We were asked if same sex couples can be restored to equality before the law of marriage.

We said yes. Now shut the fuck up so that it may be done.

https://newmatilda.com/shop/

Michael Bradley

Michael Bradley is the managing partner of law firm Marque Lawyers. He's based in Sydney and has been published widely.

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