Despite my Resident Poof status on ‘Dillo de Trop – or maybe because of it – I’ve resisted blogging, up till now, on the vexed question of gay marriage, propagation of the species and the increasingly strident demands of the over-privileged gay minority – and ever-cognisant of that constant threat, the always entertaining Homer Paxton mused gloomily about the next homo agenda horror, over at Gareth Parker’s – ” I suppose homosexuals will sue society for oppressing their right to have babies?” . Hmmmm. Just let me note that down on my list…..
But Homer’s has been pretty much a voice in the wilderness on this one. Gareth, Andrew Norton at Catallaxy, the lovely Gianna and Stewart Kelly and Tim Dunlop have all canvassed the issue in erudite, balanced detail that, in a rare moment of cross-bloggerdom unity, comes nicely together in the case framed by Richard Paulin of North Ryde in today’s SMH letters
What gay marriage is about, Mr Howard, is the legal status of a tax-paying citizen before a secular and civil legal system. This includes the vital matters of wills, superannuation, pensions and the myriad other legalisms associated with shared relationships.
For you to deny legal status to individuals in a secular society on the basis of the undefined term “sanctity of marriage” is a gross violation of civil rights. It demonstrates insecurity, predjudice and unwillingness to move with the times. No matter that you are “not discriminating” – the outcome is the same. i
In short: if you’re going to confine a set of specifically privileged entitlements to spousal relationships and then eternally exclude the relationships of people who are homosexual from participating – it’s discriminatory. Forget babies, god-bothering sectional interests, the PM’s ill-advised blundering about in some neo-Darwinian swamp and all the other side-shows to this main event. It’s possible for gay and lesbian people to make legal provision for some but not all of the spousal entitlements currently. What’s missing is the automatic presumption and protection that flows from that spousal relationship definition. And let’s be clear: the legal validation of that relationship does not require that you fulfil the PM’s dictum of going forth and multiplying, merely that the couple involved possess the genital arrangements that would lead him to conclude that you could: if you weren’t both aged in your 60’s as you embark on nuptial bliss and were, on the whole, rather more engaged with decouppage and lawn bowls than with procreative rumpty.
Meanwhile the first generation of Australians to pass the entirety of their adult lives as ‘open homosexuals’ is steaming towards the golden years in their tens of thousands – and their patience is running out. Many of us who lived though the late 80’s and early 90’s – when 5,000 young Australian men were taken by AIDS in 6 years – remember the families that had often chucked them out a decade or more before, turning up to evict a longterm partner and claim their legal spoils. I also remember the movie “The Sum of Us” which depicted two elderly women who had spent their entire adult lives together being separated forever in their 80’s by their respective families when one of the women developed dementia.
Stripped of all the emotive, religiosity-laden baggage this is an issue that goes to the very heart of what pluralistic, liberal democratic society is supposedly about and all the ducking and weaving in the world won’t change it. The PM’s assurance that his was not a position framed from any old discriminatory impulse, reminded me of the supporters of anti-miscegenation legislation claiming that their aversion to racial mixing stemmed from the most altruistic of motives: it’s the natural order of things, etc. I also noted the swiftness and alacrity with which Messrs Crean and Latham managed to find themselves anywhere but within microphone range of refuting the PM’s assertion. Don’t hold your breath.