Various people like Margaret Court are stroppy that private companies like Qantas are supporting same sex marriage. I’m not too sure I can see a problem. This is largely self-interested behaviour from our corporates and the pursuit of that self-interest – sociopathic or otherwise – is mandated by securities law. Opponents to their conduct can boycott them if they wish.
However I can see a problem with public organisations supporting it. I’ve noticed a couple of public organisations in Melbourne doing so – both in the GLAM sector. ACMI and the Immigration Museum. I think this is quite clearly wrong – essentially a self-indulgent abuse of power by the employees and possibly the custodians on the boards of these institutions.
These museums are funded by us to perform a particular function. We are currently going through a public process of deliberation as to what the law should be – compromised and cockamamie though it may be. Even where I’d strongly defend people’s right to civil disobedience against odious laws, the whole point of what we’re doing is to deliberate publicly on what the law should be. That very fact requires the protection of some public space from politicisation.
In that circumstance, institutions that are funded by the public to deliver services to the public have no business having a public view on this – emblazoned on the outside of their own buildings. This undermines the ‘publicness’ – the ‘for-all-of-us-ness’ – of the public sector and in that sense is strongly antithetical to the progressive values I presume many of the protagonists of these campaigns imagine themselves to be championing.