Gays Against “Gay Marriage” (The Remix)

Ben-Peter-Terpstra

Ben-Peter Terpstra returns to the Menzies House fold with his appraisal of  marriage redefined.

To paraphrase Ann Coulter: Our (right-wing) gays are smarter and more stylish than their (left-wing) gays. Indeed, we had more proof of this last week when the openly gay Liberal Senator Dean Smith helped to defeat same-sex marriage.

Or as he stressed: “By not agreeing to same sex marriage, I’m not choosing to endorse discrimination against my fellow gay and lesbian Australians, or to be disrespectful to their domestic relationships… instead for me, it’s an honest acknowledgement of the special and unique characteristics of the union described as marriage.”

I think he was wearing Armani. But of more historical interest, Labor’s patronising bill was defeated in the House of Representatives 98 votes to 42.

Perhaps defending traditional marriage is inevitable. As, for example, Doug Mainwaring wrote in The Washington Post, “Same-sex relationships are different from heterosexual relationships, and gay men and lesbians need to accept that and design their own tradition.”

The self-identified homosexual writer is a co-founder of the National Capital Tea Party Patriots and not one for beating around the bush. Earlier he wrote, “Let’s face it: We should not attempt to force into an old construct something that was never meant for same-sex partnerships” (a position shared by many Australian conservatives).

As well, right-of-center gays in the U.K. are challenging their Politically Correct prime minister, David Cameron. Or as the Mail Online writer Andrew Pierce wonders: “Well, Mr Cameron, I am a Conservative and a homosexual, and I oppose gay marriage. Am I a bigot? And what about Alan Duncan, the first Conservative MP to come out as gay? Mr Duncan, the International Aid Minister who is in a civil partnership, is implacably opposed to gay marriage. So is Dr David Starkey, the celebrated historian, who is openly gay.”

In The Irish Times, Richard Waghorne, a self-identified gay commentator and researcher, argues that “marriage equality” is driven by an intolerant liberal faction. Moreover, it undermines our time-honoured traditions. “The reason,” he argues “for opposing the unnecessary elevation of civil partnerships to the notional status of marriage is that marriage then loses its nature as the one institution supported by society because it is the family form which on average gives a child the most advantageous upbringing.”

There are other reasons to oppose redefining marriage. But as Ann Coulter also likes to say, “Gays are the least politically correct people in the world.”

Ben-Peter Terpstra contributes to many publications including MH and Quadrant. His blog: 

Weekend Libertarian.

Don’t defend marriage, deregulate it

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Henry Innis argues we need to get the government out of marriage:

The gay marriage debate is once again raging in Australia. It’s an issue which is pervasive in the minds of many, and stands as one of the great moral divides that exists in today’s political landscape. We can see the arguments made for preserving the traditional family unit, just as the arguments for ending the divisions between relationships.

 But really, that’s not what this argument should be about. This argument should be about asking why a particular group, in this case the LGBT community and their supporters, are advocates of a further intrusion by the state on their lives.

 Let’s look at the current status quo: currently, the government defines the terms, relationship and even the stringent regulation of how a committed, long term relationship ought to function. This is, to my mind, a shocking indictment of the addiction to government that has emerged in our culture.
 So let me propose an alternative: don’t legislate gay marriage, and abolish the Marriage Act entirely. It seems bordering on ridiculous that a bunch of grown adults, capable of committing themselves to another, need their hands held as to the terms and definitions of what that commitment will be.
It’s up to us to end the debate in terms of giving the government yet more authority over the people it governs. Let’s turn our heads to how we can get government out of more individual decisions and commitments. 

Henry Innis is a Vice President of the Sydney University Liberal Club. He "dabbles in entrepreneurial pursuits" and writes in his spare time, and can be found on twitter @henryinnis

Sen. Bernardi’s Now-Infamous Speech

Cory-BernardiHere is the full text of Senator Bernardi's speech on proposed ammendments to the Commonwealth Marriage Act:

NOTE: Menzies House has no editorial position on this matter, and we have published numerous pieces in favour of same sex marriage, opposing same sex marriage, and even calling for the privitisation of marriage. We are reposting this speech simply in the interests of furthering debate and so that people can read Senator Bernardi's comments firsthand – Tim Andrews, Managing Editor. 

I have spoken many times in this place about the importance of traditional marriage. In fact, I spoke about marriage in my maiden speech in this place over six years ago. In that speech I said:

Marriage has been reserved as a sacred bond between a man and a woman across times, across cultures and across very different religious beliefs. Marriage is the very foundation of the family, and the family is the basic unit of society. Thus marriage is a personal relationship with public significance and we are right to recognise this in our laws.

I have been and always will be a strong supporter of traditional marriage and its current definition, being a union between a man and a woman. Marriage is accorded a special place in our society because it is a union that is orientated towards having children, thereby ensuring the continuation of our population and civilisation. Society benefits from marriage, so marriage is accorded benefits by society. At the base level marriage is concerned about what is best for society, rather than being concerned about the so-called rights of the individual. Changing the definition of marriage would indeed change the focus of the institution itself. It would put the focus on the desire of adults, as opposed to having the focus on the production and nurturing of an environment for the raising of children for the benefit of society.

I know that not every marriage has children but marriage is a foundation for the family unit upon which our society is built. It has proven itself as the most sustainable and effective social support and training environment for our future generations. I recall columnist Miranda Devine quoted a UK Family Court judge in 2010 in which he noted that family breakdown is the cause of most social ills and that, despite its faults, marriage should be restored as the gold standard and social stigma should be reapplied to those who destroy family life.

The Australian Institute of Family Studies has found that children of married couples benefit from marriage because they have higher levels of social, emotional and educational development in comparison with children who do not live in that traditional environment. Married mothers are more likely to be employed or hold a university degree and married-couple families are less likely to come up against financial problems. While the authors of the research were keen to stress that this is because of a family's financial situation and the educational qualifications of the mother, it does give me cause to wonder: doesn't marriage itself help to provide financial stability and better outcomes? That seems to be a case for opening marriage up to any environment and to any union of two people, as Senator Cameron said, who happen to love each other, but in a family environment it is children who should be the primary concern and children benefit from having both a male and a female role model living in a house—two people that love each other in a permanent union.

We have all seen the sad effects of marriage breakdown and the adverse impacts it can have on children. We have to also acknowledge that today families do not always come as the gold standard where mum and dad do live together under the one roof of a house and love each other and provide that nurturing environment. I have always said that a child is better in any environment where it is loved and that is irrespective of the circumstances, but it will not stop me from advocating that traditional marriage is the absolutely best environment for the rearing of the next generation. So whatever the forms that families take in this modern day and age—and they do come in so many different forms with some people being individual parents and indeed same-sex couples also raising children and they all do an amazing job in the circumstances—as I said, I will not stop focusing on the importance of promoting and encouraging the traditional family. But simply because marriage is important that does not mean that we should redefine it. We should not open it up to all comers, because I think it would actually devalue the institution.

The move for same-sex marriage is just another step in what I consider an attack on our enduring and important institutions, particularly the social ones. It is another tear in the fabric of our social mores. The proponents of same-sex marriage, and I do not mean to generalise but this is about many of the proponents of same-sex marriage, ask for one step and they think that is all they want or they say that is all they want and they will be satisfied when this has been achieved—'Just this one thing; give us that and that will be okay and all inequality will be diminished and everyone will be equal and it will be fair'. But the harsh reality is that there will never be equality in society and there are always going to be people who feel that they have got a raw deal or have been discriminated against or do not have the same access to opportunities or advantages as others do, and to pretend any differently is really to deny reality. But history demonstrates that once those who advocate for radical social change, which I consider this to be, achieve it in any way, shape or form, there is then another demand and another demand and another demand and they slowly chip away at the very foundation of what provides our social support, stability and cultural mores and we are left with a replacement that is somehow vastly inferior to the wisdom of successive generations.

I recall that in this place only a few years ago people pushed for the same entitlements and benefits for all relationships that were then held by married couples. This was achieved. I opposed it at the time because my point was that just because people are in a sexual relationship that does not mean that they should be afforded the same rights and privileges as society affords those in traditional marriage, and I have outlined some of the reasons for that. Indeed, I advocated at the time that if it is about genuine equality and interdependency then we should advance this to interdependent relationships in which there is no sexual engagement. There are any number of those relationships, including people who live together and share bank accounts and expenses and who, for all intents and purposes, share their lives without having a sexual or physical relationship. But that was rejected, I suspect because it was not really about equality. It was not about interdependency and it was not about sharing your life with someone; it was about chipping away at the institution of marriage.

The legislation got through and I lost that debate—you win some and lose some in this business. At that stage I was one of many saying this was another step that would undermine marriage. Today we see the next step. This is another push—it is not the first time and it will not be the last time—for same-sex marriage. Time and time again the techniques of the radicals who seek to overturn the social institutions and social fabric of our society are out of step with the priorities of mainstream Australia. No-one out there that I have come across says this is the most important issue facing Australia. There are enormous social and economic problems in this country, and this debate will not solve any of them. Time and time again the same characters seek to tear down our institutions that have been built and have sustained our civilisation for thousands of years. The time has come to ask: when will it end?

If we are prepared to redefine marriage so that it suits the latest criterion that two people who love each other should be able to get married irrespective of their gender and/or if they are in a sexual relationship, then what is the next step? The next step, quite frankly, is having three people or four people that love each other being able to enter into a permanent union endorsed by society—or any other type of relationship. For those who say that I am being alarmist in this, there is the polyamory community who were very disappointed when the Greens had to distance themselves from their support for numerous people getting together and saying they want to enter into a permanent union. They were disappointed because they were misled that this was about marriage equality and opening up marriage to all people who love each other.

There are even some creepy people out there—and I say 'creepy' deliberately—who are unfortunately afforded a great deal more respect than I believe they deserve. These creepy people say it is okay to have consensual sexual relations between humans and animals. Will that be a future step? In the future will we say, 'These two creatures love each other and maybe they should be able to be joined in a union.' It is extraordinary that these sorts of suggestions are put forward in the public sphere and are not howled down right at the very start. We can talk about people like Professor Peter Singer who was, I think, a founder of the Greens or who wrote a book about the Greens. Professor Singer has appeared on Q&A on the ABC, the national broadcaster. He has endorsed such ideas as these. I reject them. I think that these things are the next step. As we accede to one request we will then have the next one which will be for unions of more than two people. We will have suggestions for unions of three or four people. I notice the Greens are heckling, but the point is that they misled their constituent base and there was an outcry about this. Where do we go then? Do we go down the Peter Singer path? Those that say this is the end of the social revolution have no history of being honourable about that. They continue to push and challenge our social and cultural mores. We simply cannot allow such an important social institution to be redefined, especially when Australians do not see this as a priority issue.

Senator Cameron was critical of his party denying some of the people in support of same-sex marriage a conscience vote, the ability to speak up in favour of what they thought was important. He neglected to mention that the Left of the Labor Party had never really supported a conscience vote. In fact, they sought to change the party's position to support same-sex marriage. That meant that those that had a conscientious objection to it would have been bound by the Labor Party's platform to support same-sex marriage. On the one hand Senator Cameron decried the fact that some people could not vote according to how they felt and yet he was one of the architects of this, along with people like Mark Butler. In a story in the Sydney Morning Herald Mark Butler is said to be one of those who believes that those who support traditional marriage should not be allowed to put their position forward.

I understand that this is a very sensitive debate. I also understand that senators on both sides of this chamber have very strong views. I understand some of these views are borne by personal experiences or those of loved ones and some are borne by their idea that this is a fairer and more equitable way to proceed. We have seen demands and requests for surveys of what is going on in the electorates. That was put forward by Mr Bandt in the other place. He asked for members of parliament to report back on what their constituencies thought about this argument. I have to say that a significant majority—some have suggested as many as two-thirds—reported that their constituents broadly supported marriage being retained as between a man and a woman, as was endorsed by this parliament some eight or 10 years ago.

In standing up for traditional marriage, advocates are not saying that one group is better than another or that one group is superior to another. This is, in my view, about defending what is right and what is important for society. Last year I read an article by a 19-year-old university student Blaise Joseph, who wrote:

Marriage laws are fundamentally a question of what's best for society rather than a question of individual rights.

That view, in one way, shape or form, was shared by over 32,000 people who wrote in favour of traditional marriage to the recent Senate inquiry.

Add these views to MPs' electorate surveys and the calls and emails I get from my own constituents and it is very clear to me that many Australians want to protect the notion of traditional marriage, for many valid reasons. These people have, in some instances, put aside their fears of being branded as intolerant, uncaring, heartless or in support of inequality by those people who profess to be tolerant of other points of view and who, in my view, look to degrade the notion of marriage. These people who have stood up against same-sex marriage in the face of a very vocal campaign are to be commended in this current culture of political correctness, where those who apparently disagree with the wisdom of the elites are somehow howled down and demonised publicly.

I am sure there are millions more Australians who share these sentiments irrespective of whether they have spoken publicly about it. I will continue to stand with these Australians and to fight for traditional marriage because I believe it is what the people of Australia want. More importantly, I think it is the right thing to do both for our children and for our society.

Senator Cory Bernardi is a Senator for South Australia. 

Would a Libertarian sleep with Tony and Julia?

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Alex Greenwich, the National Convener of Australian Marriage Equality, argues that libertarians who oppose state-sanctioned marriage should still support same-sex marriage proposals: 

Recently the NSW Upper House passed a motion calling on the federal government to amend the Marriage Act to allow same-sex couples to marry. It passed with the support of seven Coalition MPs, who were a mix of conservatives, tradionalists, and libertarians all advocating for the reform from their individual standpoint and representing the views of their constituents.

What many found puzzling was that Liberal libertarian Peter Phelps voted against the motion on the basis that we should privatise marriage and thereby reduce government interference in personal life.

Brendan O'Neill took Phelp's case one step further in the Australian in April. He argued that legalising same-sex marriage would open the door to government interference in an area traditionally off limits to the state – interpersonal and family relationships. To him, same-sex marriage would be such a radical "re-shaping" of cultural institutions that properly exist outside state control that it would effectively be a state takeover of these institutions (an argument I find offensive because it assumes same-sex relationships are fundamentally irreconcilable with traditional ideas of family and marriage).

Their case against same-sex marriage was satirised by a Labor colleague of Mr Phelps during the NSW debate. He said, “there are those here who believe in small government, government so small it only fits into the bedrooms of same-sex couples”.

Of course there are more serious issues at stake than that. Peter Phelps and Brendan O’Neill’s vision of the state abolishing all its rules and regulations for personal relationships is a noble one. But it is so politically untenable that it's hard not to see another agenda at play here; the use of libertarian language to dodge a hard political choice.

Libertarians engaging in this debate should see same-sex marriage as a step towards removing unwanted state interference, not a step away.

Marriage equality ends a form of government regulation that infringes gay people's freedom of choice. It means the government can no longer infantalise us by telling us which kind of lifelong union is legitimate and which is not. It acknowledges not only the fact that same-sex and different-sex relationships are of the same quality and value, but that same-sex and different-sex attracted people are equally capable of the same important life choices. It gets the state out of our bedroom.

I feel this state interference very keenly. As someone who just got married in Argentina, I found that the moment my husband and I returned to Australia the government invited a third person into our marriage, itself.

Same-sex married couples in Australian, and there are lots of us, share our bed each night with Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott. As representatives of the Australian state they stand between us and the equal legal recognition of our commitment to a shared life.

Any person who values the reduction of government interference in daily lives and believes in freedom of conscience cannot support legislation that leaves red hair on our pillows and speedos by our bed.

But this issue is about more than the equal personal freedom of gay Australians. It is also about acknowledging that marriage is not what Phelps and others make it out to be.

Phelp’s argument essentially calls for a system whereby each couple gets to set their own rules, make their own contract, celebrate the marriage in a religious ceremony if allowed, or in a civil service of their choosing.

Such a system already exists, and it is marriage as we know it.

Despite the “white-picket-fence” ideal of Jim Wallace's ACL, no two married couples are the same and each couple is allowed to set their own rules. Some marry to have kids. Some rule it out from the beginning. Some couples stay together forever. Some divorce after a week. Some live together. Some live apart due to work commitments. In some marriages the wife is the breadwinner while in others it’s both or the husband.

This ability to frame marriage in a couple's own terms currently operates in Australian, that is, unless you want to marry someone of the same-sex.

It’s at this point that government interference kicks in and imposes restrictions on your relationship, and denies you access to the protection, recognition, and legal security of being married.

An excellent example is divorce. For gay Australians dissolution of a relationship is made more complicated by the fact that we cannot marry. Because we have no choice but to be de facto partners, we often find ourselves in a legal mess if our relationships end, inviting yet more intervention by the state to sort things out.

Phelps ends his argument for privatising marriage and before voting against marriage equality by saying “My own view is this: let us get the government out of marriage and allow individuals to make their own marriage contracts, as befits a modern, secular society that rejects statism and places the freedom of the individual as its fundamental objective.

We can achieve this now for same-sex couples by supporting, rather than opposing, legislation that kicks Julia and Tony out of beds of thousands of same-sex couples.
Alex Greenwich is the National Convener of Australian Marriage Equality and one of Samesame's 25 most influential gay and lesbian Australians. Alex recently married his partner Victor in Argentina, runs a banking recruitment firm, and graduated from UNSW with a Bachelor of arts in 2001. He will join The Hon. Peter Phelps MLC in “A Conversation about Marriage” to be held on Tuesday the 24th of July in Sydney: Details here

Same Sex Marriage: The Sinister Agenda

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Andy Semple argues that same-sex marriage will severely damage Australian society:

Question: How do you go about destroying our democratic capitalist society?  Where do you direct the critical blow so it will do the most damage?  In his Theses on Feuerbach, Karl Marx provided the answer: destroy the traditional family.

That's where same-sex marriage comes in.  It's no mystery why it commands considerable support.  After all, what can be more of a fair go than the idea of granting equality to a formerly persecuted group that has done nothing untoward other than being different in its sexual tastes?  Sort of like being discriminated because of the colour of one's skin (even though many US black leaders, jealously guarding their highly lucrative victimhood, take strong exception to equating gay liberation with the civil rights struggle).  So recognition of same sex unions as legitimate marriages seems to be a harmless idea.  But appearances can be deceptive.  Few things are more destructive than same sex marriage, a poison pill devised to corrode the very core of a healthy society – the institution of marriage.

Not a single society in the history of mankind has ever attempted to substitute homosexual relationships for traditional marriage. Marriage is viewed as sacrosanct and never called into question. Marriage has always been universally understood by all cultures as a biological, social, and economic arrangement to bring into the world and rear the young, thus perpetuating the human species. Indeed, humans took their cue from nature, where the heterosexual family is virtually the sole organising principle of life.

Indeed, so central is marriage to human existence that it forms the basic building block and prototype of any democratic capitalist society.  The many forms of social organisation are but permutations of the basic family pattern – the clan, the tribe, the society and the state are merely an extended family.

But why is same sex marriage unfriendly to the traditional matrimony? How does society suffer if it gives legal sanction to the sharing of gay couples and bestows upon them the rights traditionally granted to spouses? Homosexuals claim they have a right to “marriage” as a civil rights issue. They do not. Homosexual couples already have all the same rights as heterosexual couples. What certain homosexuals want to do is disrespect the heterosexual orthodoxy and co-occupy a word for their own use – marriage. The hard facts are that legalisation of same-sex marriage will compromise the institution of marriage and thus will undermine the family built on the foundation of marriage.

It has been known since the dawn of history that a family unit consisting of a man and a woman is the best nurturing environment for children.

Aside from the incredible damage same-sex marriage does to the well-being and normal development of children, by offering an alternative to a bedrock institution, same sex marriage calls into question all traditional values. There is a strong correlation between the rise of homosexual marriage and the weakening of traditional matrimony.

And Karl Marx's loyal pal Friedrich Engels, in his work, The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the States, disclosed the game plan in a single, succinct plan: change the concept of matrimony, and the traditional family will cease to exist. And once the family is gone, society will fall apart. Knock out the cornerstone, and the whole edifice will crumble, which is precisely the ultimate goal of the progressive (aka revolutionary communist) movement.

Need further proof? From the 1963 United States Senate Report on Communist Goals for America, Congressional Record – Appendix, pp. A34-A35

Line items 25 and 26, 40 and 41 of 45 Goals:

25. Break down cultural standards of morality by promoting pornography and obscenity in books, magazines, motion pictures, radio, and TV.

26. Present homosexuality, degeneracy and promiscuity as "normal, natural, healthy."

40. Discredit the family as an institution. Encourage promiscuity and easy divorce.

41. Emphasise the need to raise children away from the negative influence of parents. Attribute prejudices, mental blocks and retarding of children to suppressive influence of parents.

So beware of any politician who openly supports same sex marriage, as they are nothing more than a follower of the teachings of their true prophet – Karl Marx. Progressives like Greens leader Christine Milne, Labor’s Penny Wong and sadly the Liberal’s Malcolm Turnbull have all placed the destruction of matrimony high on their list of priorities. Social upheavals have always opened the floodgates of debauchery and pornography. The progressive leaders see the moral decay as a means of undermining the foundation of the society’s greatest structure – the family.

Undoubtedly, the overwhelming majority of rank-and-file homosexuals are well-meaning people who have sincerely bought into the myth peddled by their leaders that the marriage license is the ultimate token of recognition of their normalcy. They know not what they are doing. But the sinister shadows behind the curtain know better, and there shouldn't be any illusions about their ultimate intentions: they want nothing less than to bring down the capitalist system, and they view their movement as a battering ram to shatter its principal bastions, America, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia. Bringing down the traditional family is a crucial step in that direction.

Originally published at Andy's Rant, and reproduced with permission. You can follow Andy on twitter

 

A Conscience Vote On Same-Sex Marriage

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Alex Greenwhich, the National Convener of Australian Marriage Equality, argues that denying Coalition MP's a conscience vote on state-sanctioned same-sex marriage will be a significant political error:

The clear message from recent elections and opinion polls is that the Coalition will suffer electorally if it fails to abide by its own principles and allow a free vote on marriage equality.

Currently, Tony Abbott refuses Coalition MPs and Senators a fully-fledged conscience vote on this issue.

This is despite the Labor Party having one, and despite the Coalition's tradition of allowing its members greater freedom than Labor MPs.

Indeed, according to Parliamentary Library research, this is the first time in history the Coalition is denied a free vote when the ALP has one.

Abbott's rationale is that he made a promise at the last election not to support reform.

His hope is that only opponents of marriage equality will notice and/or care by the time the next election rolls around.

But it seems the Australian people are not sticking to script.

At the weekend a Galaxy poll was released showing 77% of Coalition voters want the Coalition to have a conscience vote on the issue.

Yesterday, another Galaxy poll shows 73% of voters believe the Coalitions' tradition of allowing conscience vote on such issues is what should guide Coalition policy, not Tony Abbott's personal views or undertakings.

What's more, today's poll shows 61% of Australians want same-sex marriage in this term of government, not sometime down the track.

Is this feeling strong enough to count at the ballot box?

The Queensland election result suggests it is.

During a recent discussion with Kevin Rudd at the Sydney Writers' Festival, Bob Katter conceded his Australia Party lost 7% of its first-preference votes, or 15 seats, in the Queensland state election because of the anti-gay marriage ad campaign it ran.

Katter labelled it "the crowing glory of all mistakes".

Growing support for marriage equality also suggests Abbott's stance will be a liability for the Coalition.

Polls from the last three years show the minority of Australians who oppose marriage equality are becoming less committed to their position while the majority who support it are becoming more committed.

My guess is that this shift reflects resignation among those who oppose reform and growing frustration among those who support.

Further evidence that Australians are highly motivated to support marriage equality can be seen in the overwhelming response to recent parliamentary inquiries into the issue.

A Senate Inquiry received an astonishing 44,000 submissions in favour of marriage equality and a House of reps inquiry received an almost unbelievable 177,000 positive responses.

This makes legislation to allow same-sex marriages the most popular in our parliament's history, by a factor of ten.

What we are seeing here is the convergence of two emerging trends in Australia and across the western world.

Anti-gay discrimination is considered immoral, and is actively rejected even by conservative voters. Marriage equality is considered morally right, and is a highly motivating issue for millions of voters.

What this means for Tony Abbott is clear.

His hardline stance will guarantee the Greens will have the balance of power in the Senate.

Thanks to Julia Gillard's continued and clear opposition to equality, the protest vote against Tony Abbott will go straight to Christine Milne.

Abbott's intransigence will also make life very difficult for inner-city Liberals such as Kelly O'Dwyer, Malcolm Turnbull, and Teresa Gambaro, with their own electorate polling shows support for marriage equality running as high as 75%.

Unless Abbott allows a conscience vote the issue will plague these and other Liberals throughout the next election.

It will be raised at every meeting they attend. It will distract them from the issues they want to focus on. It will be used by those who criticise the Liberal Party for losing touch with its liberal roots and for not being "a broad church".

It will cost inner-city Liberals votes to the benefit of both the Greens and Labor, who will inevitably run pro-marriage equality candidates and will probably swap preferences.

I'm not questioning Tony Abbott's respect for his gay friends and love for his lesbian sister.

Neither am I asking Abbott to break his undertaking at the last election that he will continue to oppose marriage equality.

I'm simply warning the Coalition that it will make "the crowning glory of all mistakes" if it doesn't allow a conscience vote on marriage equality.

If Tony Abbott's plan is to increase the vote of the Greens at the next election then he should stick to his current course.

Alex Greenwich is the National Convener of Australian Marriage Equality and one of Samesame's 25 most influential gay and lesbian Australians. Alex recently married his partner Victor in Argentina, runs a banking recruitment firm, and graduated from UNSW with a Bachelor of arts in 2001.

Is It Time To Be Sparticus?

From the great blog "Counting Cats in Zanzibar", comes this horrific tale:

The Archbishop Cranmer has been reported by some number of small minded bigots to the Advertising Standards Authority. These people apparently object to any opinion with which they disagree being broadcast to the general public, in this case an advertisement which supports the belief “that marriage is a life-long union between one man and one woman, in accordance with the teaching of the Established Church, the beliefs of its Supreme Governor, and the law of the land."

The ASA, in their wisdom, have had the bare faced gall to demand his Eminence justify his political opinion, and his open support for the law and the teachings of The Church Established.

Personally, I don’t give a toss about gay marriage, one way or the other. Seriously, I just plain don’t care. However, I do object to agents, or pseudo agents, of the state demanding a freeborn Englishman justify his political views under threat of violence and sanction. So feel free to enjoy the advertisement.

Who the hell do these people think they are?

H/T Samizdata

It truly is a scary world we live in… 

Click here to read more from Counting Cats 

 

Lobbyist’s insults will not convince Abbott of same sex marriage

Carrington2011Carrington Brigham discusses the attacks on Tony Abbott for his opposition to state-sanctioned same sex marriage:

Last Monday Left wing Gay rights activist Rodney Croome wrote an article in The Drum claiming that Abbott cannot possibly love his sister’s partner because he will not allow his sister and his sister-in-law to marry, and further will prevent any possibility of this occurring. Croome claims the recent articles about Abbott’s love and respect for his sister are nothing more than a ruse to paint Abbott as a loving, caring family man. Croome stated that the article was:

“…designed to neutralise Tony Abbott's opposition to marriage equality, by showing him in the best possible light – moderates will give him the nod for accepting his sister, and religious conservatives will be happy he has loved the sinner without condoning the sin.”

What is really sad here is that Croome is already preaching to the converted. You know? Those Abbott haters! As a result we see a protester imposing on Abbott when he’s having a quiet coffee with a journalist on a Sunday afternoon because of his opposition to gay marriage. By all means protest against Tony Abbott’s opposition to gay marriage, but is it not possible to do this peacefully? Secondly what was the young protester trying to achieve? Did she really think that if she disrupts Abbott in a café she will convince him of the need to change the Marriage Act? I ask you – if someone comes up to you within metres, and starts protesting at you at the top of their lungs, would you listen? Would you be convinced of their plight?

Croome’s op-ed is disappointing because there are many members, supporters and volunteers of the Liberal party who happen to be same-sex attracted. Many of these people would like to see marriage equality, and many are working to share their views and opinions on the matter with Coalition parliamentarians. You may have heard some of this on Triple J’s ‘Hack’ earlier last week. Croome threatens to set back the efforts of these people with his vitriolic and personal attack on Abbott, and the mischaracterisation of Abbott’s feelings for his family is frankly deplorable. These same people of the left then wonder why Abbott says such things as feeling “threatened” about homosexuality. (To which Abbott said he later regretted stating in an interview on Melbourne’s Gay radio station JoyFM interviewed by Doug Pollard.)

Croome says of The Australian article about Abbott’s sister: “I’m not deceived”.  Well, Rodney, there is no deception as Abbott clearly loves his sister. Around the time his sister was ‘coming out’, Abbott made it clear during an interview on JoyFM that there were people close to him who are gay.  He did not reveal exactly whom.

It may take Abbott time for his mind to accept that it is not just a lifestyle choice and that his sister may have in fact known that she was gay all along. A heterosexual person may find this confusing and hard to accept when they have known someone to be married for some time. Often we have seen examples where married men and sometimes married women have discovered later in life that they are gay. The challenge for the individual is in them coming to terms and accepting their sexuality that they have been hiding.

It is presumptive for Croome to state that Abbott:

“.. is hypocritical to parade [his] family values but then refuse to formally include [his] sibling's partner in [the] family.”

How does Croome know that Tony Abbott does not include his sister’s partner in the family? The fact is – Croome doesn’t! He has no idea what kind of relationship Abbott has with his partner’s sister, and he has not even suggested in his column of any evidence that he has inside knowledge of the relationships. One must wonder if he wrote that sentence just to spite Abbott. Abbott may have a great relationship with the partner of his sister. It is quite an attack of Croome to suggest otherwise, all because we don’t have equality laws for same-sex couples pertaining to marriage.

Abbott made an election promise to the people that he would not change the Marriage Act and he has been true to his conviction. Abbott is a true Conservative and has always stated and maintained that marriage is defined as between a man and a woman. You cannot ridicule someone for having those views, and is it not homophobic either. It is a difference of opinion. It is not like marriage was between two members of the same-sex in the past and then suddenly it was outlawed.

This is not to say that I agree with Abbott’s current position. I myself am pro civil-marriage and that marriage should be separate from church and state, allowing same-sex couples to marry in private with their own ceremony. Nonetheless, I defend Abbott’s right to advocate his position on the subject.

Croome makes another attack on Abbott in a metaphorical manner that:

“By opposing marriage equality Tony Abbott is effectively saying to the world that he does not want Virginia Edwards as his sister-in-law because she's gay.

Neither does he want any children Christine and Virginia may raise to feel fully included in his family's life in the way that Christine and Virginia's marriage would seal.”

Not for one minute has Abbott said or even hinted that his sister is a “cross to bear”. To make a statement like this is utterly reprehensible – Abbott prides himself on family values and as an example of his own family he passes that love and respect onto his siblings, wife and children as any good Christian would.

Croome believes that Abbott is seeking to destroy the very essence of what makes the Coalition ‘liberal’ when the party room and opposition cabinet decided to not support a free vote on same sex-marriage. This is completely untrue. The Coalition allows a conscience vote on all matters of legislation, however a party room decision was made on the issue, and the focal point was honouring an election commitment. As a member of the Liberal party I sent a letter to all members of the House of Representatives in the Coalition. Phillip Ruddock MP, Shadow Cabinet Secretary for the Coalition, was the first to write back and explain that the party does “not support any change to Commonwealth law that could diminish the institution of marriage” whilst stating that there “are a few members of the Coalition who would like a free vote on same-sex marriage”. Ruddock then firmly and poignantly states “A member who, for reasons of conscience, wishes to vote another way can cross the floor; this has always been the case in the Coalition.”

When the bill comes to parliament, Coalition members may choose to cross the floor, and it is solely their choice to express their conscience. No rule book has been re-written. No insults or insensitive remarks will be thrown at Abbott because Liberals know this does not change someone’s mind or opinion.  

Carrington Brigham is a Liberal member and blogger on Marketing, Politics and Social Media. He be found tweeting @DigitalMediaBoy and frequently blogs at www.digitalmediaboy.com

 

Broken promise robs children of rights

 

George 2 a

George Christensen MP argues against governmenental sanction of same-sex marriage:

In a video recorded for the Australian Christian Lobby and for the benefit of people of faith right across this country, just before the 2009 election, the Prime Minister made this statement:

"We have determined, as a Labor Party, that the Marriage Act will stay unchanged so marriage will be defined as it is in our current Marriage Act, as between a man and a woman, and we have also said that the Labor Party policy is we do not want to see the development of ceremonies that mimic marriage ceremonies and so that's the party policy and as Prime Minister, as leader of the parliamentary Labor Party, that's obviously my policy and that's what you should expect to see from the Gillard Labor government if we're re-elected."

That is a pretty clear, explicit and unequivocal statement from the Prime Minister, from the leader of the Labor Party. To press the point, in the context of this interview, the interviewer—the Australian Christian Lobby's Managing Director, Brigadier Jim Wallace—went on to ask the Prime Minister:

"Can I just say that obviously one of the concerns of the constituency here is the knowledge that this was only, it seemed, upheld by direct intervention of the highest levels of the party at the last Labor conference. So you're saying that a Gillard Labor government will keep that policy in place?"

To which the Prime Minister replied, 'Absolutely'.

Then she went on to say:

"I was personally and directly involved in this policy and its development at the last national conference."

So it is very clear that at the 2009 election the Australian Labor Party made a solemn commitment to the electorate to support the legal definition of 'marriage'—that definition, as it is in the current Act, being as between one man and one woman.

The Prime Minister famously made another promise less than a week before election day 2010 when she said, 'There will be no carbon tax under a government I lead.' And just like we saw that promise broken last year, this month we have seen another promise broken with the introduction of the Marriage Amendment Bill 2012 by the Labor member for Throsby after Labor changed its policy at the national conference. And just like the broken carbon tax promise, this broken promise has come at the pushing of my good friend the member for Melbourne and also the Greens. It just shows, after the events of this morning, that in the Labor Party absolutely nothing has changed. We still have a minority government that does not know where it is going and that is completely driven and led by the nose by Senator Bob Brown and his Green colleagues.

Instead of hearing excuses as to why this change happened and hearing lines from the Prime Minister like 'I still support marriage as it is currently defined', the question needs to be asked as to why the Labor Party has gone awry on this issue. That is a decision the Labor Party has made. It obviously has the support of their rank and file and I assume the parliamentary party as well, or at least the majority of members. For the people who sit in churches every Sunday, who cast their vote for the Labor Party on the basis of the Prime Minister's statement, let me read that again:

"We have determined as a Labor Party the Marriage Act will stay unchanged, so marriage will be defined as it is in our current Marriage Act as between a man and a woman."

I read that for those people who cast their vote for the Labor Party on the basis of this issue—this sacrosanct issue for them—not being changed, for the definition of marriage to be retained. What those people should hear from this government and from this Prime Minister is: 'Sorry. Sorry that we once again have duped you. Sorry that we said one thing before the election and now are doing a very, very different thing afterwards.'

But the proposal by the Labor Party to change the legal definition of marriage is not just wrong on the grounds that it is a broken promise. It also flies in the face of Australia's international obligations, because same-sex marriage lends itself to more children being raised without both their biological mother and biological father as their parental figures. Every child deserves a mother and a father. Article 7 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child states:

"The child shall be registered immediately after birth and shall have the right from birth to a name, the right to acquire a nationality and, as far as possible the right to know and be cared for by his or her parents."

Every child deserves a mother and a father. You know why? Because it works. A 2010 Australian Institute of Family Studies report entitled Families then and now : 1980-2010 showed that 72 per cent—almost threequarters— of Australian families with children under the age of 18 years are intact biological families. That is about 2.1 million families in this country. We only need to look at other examples of where children have been robbed of this right to be raised by their mother and father, by their natural parents, to see what trauma it has caused them. When we look at the Aboriginal Australians who were removed from their parents, possibly with the best of intentions of the governments involved at the time, we can see the deep and lasting psychological scars that many Indigenous people still have to this day brought about by their removal through government policy.

Last year's Senate inquiry into the donor conception system in this nation exposed the angst felt by many persons.

One such person speaking publicly on this issue said:

"I was always really proud of being donor created— from time to time we do hear children of same-sex families say they are proud— but, once I had kids of my own, I realised what I had been deprived of. I have a fantastic relationship with my parents … but things are missing; things that couldn't be provided—identity, heritage, history.

When I look in the mirror, I don't know who that person is."

When I read those words from someone who has been robbed of the right to a mother and father I wonder to myself if we can honestly be sure that as result of this bill we will not be hearing from children of same-sex marriages in the future saying that they have been deprived of a mother or a father and talking about being robbed of their identity, their heritage, their history and their right to a mother and father.

Marriage is all about family—it is all about children; it is all about creating a legal union between a man and a woman, providing permanence in their relationship and establishing a legal bond between those two people and their children. Yes, it is for the benefit of parents but more so for the benefit of children and, as a result, the benefit of society. The only way society can continue is through children. The only reason government is involved in the regulation of relationships through the Marriage Act is because procreation is the only way society can go on. If it were not for that fact, the government would not be playing in this field at all. This is a very important issue that has been neglected in this whole debate. The Labor Party need to come back to the Australian people with what they promised them before the 2010 election.

 George Christensen is the Federal Member for Dawson.