Voting With Your Wangdoodle

Maybe I’m a bit strange but it occurs to me that casting a vote purely on the basis of your sexuality is a pretty dumb way to exercise your democratic franchise. I share this insight because there’s a campaign underway within the gay community to punish the ALP for supporting the Coalition’s marriage bill. This brilliant strategy involves giving one’s first preference to the Greens (of course) but the fatal drawback as far as I’m concerned is that you’d have to – well – vote for the Greens.

“It would teach them a lesson,” I’m constantly assured but I’m more inclined to the view that the proponents of this initiative need a lesson in what motivates people to vote in a particular way. Who you have sex with doesn’t seem to me to be much of a prime motivator in that respect. Unless a particular candidate was exceptionally hot and willing to have sex with you of course but, inevitably, they wouldn’t respect you in the morning anyway. All tousled sheets, smeared How-To-Vote cards and dawn-lit disillusion.

Update:

I’ve changed the title of this post because the original one seemed to uncannily precipitate an avalanche of ‘medicinal’ spam.

Certainly Nicola Roxon’s vote-for-us appearance before an anti-gay marriage assemblage of self-appointed “Christians” in the Great Hall of Parliament was a tad ill-advised. But I don’t think that Nicola’s in any danger of being unseated by a Green wave of outraged poofs. The only two seats where such an effect might be vaguely feasible are Grayndler and Sydney. Anthony Albanese and Tanya Plibersek are the respective sitting members and despite being resolute heterosexuals, they’re both more enthusiastic about gay marriage than I am.

Indeed, that’s another fatal flaw in the “poofs vote Green” strategy. Overwhelmingly, Gay Australia is seemingly more interested in watching paint dry than we are in the vexed question of whether we should be able to participate in matrimonial bliss. The general view seems to shape as, “of course gay people should be able to marry if we want to. But why would we want to?” Submissions to the Senate Committee considering the bill came in at 100 against and 12,000 for. Demonstrations organised against the bill in Sydney – alleged Gay Capital of the Southern Hemisphere – have attracted a couple of hundred bods at most, tramping around glumly under a sea of banners, including prominently, those of the Socialist Alliance. I wondered – briefly – what Leon Trotsky would have made of it all.

I’m going to vote Labor despite Nicola’s faux pas. I’ll leave it up to Latham to make her Minister with Special Responsibility For the Hillsong Vote as punishment.

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Francis Xavier Holden
2022 years ago

I don’t think most women vote with their penis.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

That’s an interesting observation Francis. And a very convincing one.

Alan
Alan
2022 years ago

Your argument is a lot of cock.

Quite a lot of Australians do protest votes with their first preference and give their second preference to the party they want in government. The Greens are unlikely to unseat Labor as one of the major parties. Protest votes that reach Labor via the Democrats or Greens are not going to reduce Labor’s chances of winning the election.

They might encourage the Labor leadership to take rights issues more seriously in future.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

Civility, Alan. Civility. The points I was making are:

1. The two ALP members that such a protest would be most likely to affect are both fervently pro-gay marriage.

2. Most people aren’t single issue voters, regardless of their sexuality.

3. I wouldn’t vote for the Greens because I don’t agree with the bulk of their policy platform.

Most gay and lesbian Australians aren’t overly exercised about gay marriage. Why should Labor be?

Alan
Alan
2022 years ago

I know it was uncivil but the pun got past me.

Paul Kidd
2022 years ago

So, in a nutshell, your argument is “I don’t like the Greens so I won’t be voting for them”? You go, girl.

Regardless of what you think about the issue of same-sex marriage, I’d have thought the spectacle of ALP policy being shot from the hip to appease the Hillsong crowd would be terrifying enough to make even the most rusted-on ALP supporter think twice about how best to use his or her franchise.

But maybe I give the true believers too much credit…

Paul Kidd
2022 years ago

So, in a nutshell, your argument is “I don’t like the Greens so I won’t be voting for them”? You go, girl.

Regardless of what you think about the issue of same-sex marriage, I’d have thought the spectacle of ALP policy being shot from the hip to appease the Hillsong crowd would be terrifying enough to make even the most rusted-on ALP supporter think twice about how best to use his or her franchise.

But maybe I give the true believers too much credit…

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

I can’t get past this voting with your wangdoodle concept. It’s lucky we don’t have punch-card voting like the Americans. God knows what Howard might do to your hanging chad.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

“I’d have thought the spectacle of ALP policy being shot from the hip to appease the Hillsong crowd would be terrifying enough to make even the most rusted-on ALP supporter think twice about how best to use his or her franchise.’

Come October 9, Paul, I’m 100% certain that Bob Brown won’t be forming a government. Eight seats stand between the ALP and another 3 years of the Coalition. In 1998 Beazley achieved a swing not unlike that which Latham needs today but he didn’t take government. What’s more important: Howard out or a satisfactorily gay-chastened Latham in opposition?

Paul Kidd
2022 years ago

Well, you’re assuming that a bloc of queers choosing to vote for the Greens (or the Democrats, who I’m told still have several dozen supporters hiding out somewhere in the Adelaide Hills) could stand between Latham and the Lodge. But it’s pretty unlikely that the Greens will win any seats in the lower house, or even hold Cunningham, so Latham can still comfortably expect the lion’s share of preferences from that bloc.

If he does win he might have to deal with a much greener Senate, and he may have to take notice of the fact that he only won with Green preferences, but if he doesn’t it won’t be Bob Brown’s fault.

So drop the scare tactics. This ain’t the US and the Nader card doesn’t play here.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

Scare tactics!? Lighten up…

Paul Kidd
2022 years ago

What we really need in this country are some candidates for public office who are not only against gay marriage but who have nice pectoral muscles. That would really test the gay community’s resolve.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

…for all of about 2.5 seconds I suspect.

Rex
Rex
2022 years ago

I always thought the Gay Marriage thing to be too much of an American Puritan thing to have any real traction in Australia. We are much less into sticking our nose in other peoples lives.

Alan
Alan
2022 years ago

Gay marriage is probably a few years down the track.

The provisions on foreign gay marriages and the treatment of the children (by adoption or otherwise) of such marriages is severely objectionable and should not have been countenanced by the ALP.

Jamie
2022 years ago

“Most gay and lesbian Australians aren’t overly exercised about gay marriage. Why should Labor be?” [Geoff Honnor, above]

Its not that Labor wasn’t ‘excited’ (I assume that’s what you mean) about gay marriage, they were downright against it, and I resent further circulation of the unquantified idea that most queer australians dont care about equal recognition of their relationships. At the end of the day its an equality issue, and I challenge you to find any queer australian who doesn’t care about the further evolution of their equality within Australian society. Labor’s move wasn’t to leave the issue as it is, despite Roxon pretending legislated common law principles was the same as common law principles. I have to say you seem to have seriously misundertood the issue.

Also, why shouldn’t gay and lesbian voters vote with their ‘wangdoodle’? The discrimination we suffered this year isn’t quite the same as not getting a tax break. It feels really awful to be treated the way we have, and its had a really profound impact on me personally. Its not a one-issue election, sure, but being subtly vilified by the government and the opposition is equal in my mind to any of the other major issues.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

“I resent further circulation of the unquantified idea that most queer australians dont care about equal recognition of their relationships.”

I didn’t suggest that they did Jamie. For instance, I care very deeply about the recognition of my relationship. I just don’t think that marriage per se is ‘the recognition’ that I require and no-one has thus far convinced me otherwise. Curiously, no-one has thought to engage queer Australians on this question. Those insistent on achieving gay marriage this year – when it was always going to be an impossible ask – seemed to have proceeded on the basis that the community should simply fall in behind. We haven’t. There’s an obvious unequal equation in terms of entitlement to marry. The problem is that the bulk of queer Australia doesn’t seem to be all that exercised about it. And the discrimination you refer to existed before the bill was introduced in pretty much the same proportion as it did afterwards.

There’s a selling job to be done here that isn’t just about politicians.

MickM
MickM
2022 years ago

The point really is not the marriage thing but the partner recognition legislation that is important. I do believe that the ALP along with the minority parties will fix this , if the ALP wins this elections.
One of my sons has lived in a defacto relationship for 8 years, have 5 children (3 are his). They have all the common law advantages as married people. I do believe that is what the gay population want.

peggy sue
peggy sue
2022 years ago

Currently, the ABC is repeating Pride and Prejudice.

Now there’s series to show what traditional marriage was all about!

By any measure, traditional marriage is long dead, and it’s about time it was given a decent burial. It could share the same grave as “breach of promise of marriage” and widows pensions.

I see no reason to extend to one person any rights over anothers property (or superannuation) just because they had sex together.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

Peggy Sue

The obvious problem with your stated position is that it is still the case in some marriages (although a decreasing number) that one partner (invariably the female one in a heterosexual marriage) stays home for some years to look after the kids. That has an adverse impact on their career, superannuation accumulation etc, and so it’s not unfair that the “breadwinning” partner in such a situation should partly compensate the homemaker partner for that financial sacrifice in the event of a marriage breakup (given that having kids is a joint project).

A slightly different point is that couples often have deliberately financially interwoven affairs, especially in a long marriage, and those assets need to be untangled in a fair way in the event of marriage breakup. For example, in the case of my own recently ended marriage, some property assets are in Jenny P’s name and some in mine , even though all are in reality (if not legal title) joint. It was done that way for tax and retirement planning reasons. It certainly wouldn’t be fair (or reflective of our wishes when we were together) that the assets should simply remain in the ownership of the party shown on the title.

One of the benefits of marriage is as a financial partnership: you’re stronger and can do more as a couple than separately. Consequently people interweave their financial and property affairs instead of keeping them separate. Thus your statement about seeing “no reason to extend one person any rights over another’s property” isn’t especially useful, except perhaps in a very short-lived marriage where the parties’ affairs remain almost completely separate from each other.

Drawing the comment back to Geoff’s topic, all these issues may apply to varying extents in a long-lasting gay relationship. The social and economic purposes and factors are very similar if not identical to heterosexual marriage. That’s why I don’t see any logical reason why gay couples shouldn’t be able to marry if their wishes and circumstances make that a sensible step for them. The only impediment is residual religious and homophobic sentiment in the broader community.

Geoff Honnor seems to take the view that it’s not a big enough issue for it to be worth confronting those sorts of toxic (but widely held) sentiments. He may be correct, especially given that you can construct a set of legal rights and duties for gay couples that is indistinguishable from marriage except that it has some different name. But we should still call the opposition to gay marriage for what it really is: ignorant religiously or homophobically-based prejudice.

Jamie
2022 years ago

I agree that gay marriage was an impossible task this year, but that said, I commend the litigators who took the issue to court because impossible tasks have to start somewhere. But in truth, I don’t think it was any part of the gay community that put gay marriage on the political agenda, it was Liberal senators. It was forced on us, and as a ‘community’ we haven’t thought about it enough to have reacted meaningfully. I suppose that’s what is happening now.

I was probably a little agressive in my post, sorry. There are convincing arguments from other jurisdictions suggesting that equal partnership recognition won’t evolve here until well after federal anti-vilification and anti-discrimination laws are passsed. That’s fine, I can deal with that. But why ever suggest that equal marriage rights are unimportant to you if you care about equality? This is a garbled/confusing message I’ve heard a lot lately and it irritates me. The ‘i don’t want to get married’ line is totally irrelevant. You don’t think gay access to marriage would help heterosexuals reconcile gay love?

“And the discrimination you refer to existed before the bill was introduced in pretty much the same proportion as it did afterwards.” [Geoff Honnor]

I disagree. This is what I was refering to when I said that ‘despite Roxon pretending legislated common law principles was the same as common law principles’ stating such only shows a possible misunderstanding of the law (I don’t suggest Roxon is ignorant of the law, she knew she was being misleading). Redefinition of the common law is possible through the courts in a way that legislation is not, that’s why parliament wanted to legislate it. Legislated discrimination is much more solidified and powerful, so I don’t think its fair to say that the discrimination we experience now is at ‘the same proportion’. The courts have now been ordered to discriminate from the onset.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

“But why ever suggest that equal marriage rights are unimportant to you if you care about equality? This is a garbled/confusing message I’ve heard a lot lately and it irritates me. The ‘i don’t want to get married’ line is totally irrelevant. You don’t think gay access to marriage would help heterosexuals reconcile gay love?”

Be assured Jamie, I expect heterosexuals to be able to “reconcile gay love” with or without marriage. In my experience, many can and do. I certainly don’t have any difficulty reconciling the heterosexual love relationships of people who choose to be together without matrimonial sanction.

I don’t think that there’s an unbridgeable dichotomy between my personal antipathy to marriage and the broader question of whether or not the legal marriage construct should be extended to include gays and lesbians. I suspect that gay and lesbian Australians are as broadly supportive of the latter as they tend to be inclined towards the former. The point remains: for a host of reasons, marriage doesn’t seem to have caught the queer Australian imagination in the way that it’s done in the US. There are of course a variable range of relationship-cognisant legal sanctions already in place in various Australian jurisdictions, in respect of gay relationships. I don’t think that’s anything like the whole answer, but I’m a bit surprised when gay marriage advocates insist, for instance, that only marriage will ensure that I get hospital visitation or property inheritance rights in respect of my partner. As continuing practice amply demonstrates, it’s simply not the case.

More fundamentally, this is a discussion that gay Australia just hasn’t had in any breadth or depth and we really need to.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

“Geoff Honnor seems to take the view that it’s not a big enough issue for it to be worth confronting those sorts of toxic (but widely held) sentiments”

I’m all for confronting toxic (but widely held) sentiments, Ken, but experience suggests that you’re way more successful in so doing when you’ve got solid backing for your position. The failure of gay advocates to forcefully engage their own community around this issue is telling.

Martin Pike
2022 years ago

As a “rusted-on” Labor supporter I have no issue with GLBTI voters doing the greens first protest. They would be mindlessly stupid to then give a preference to the Libs, as this whole issue came about due to a Howard attempt at wedging, and if a Howard government gave the reins to Abbott instead of Costa you wouldn’t be facing a sympathetic pro queer government.

We are lucky to have a preference system and people should make good use of it- our democracy is the healthier for it.

Personally if we voted with our wnagdoodles mine would be a donkey…

mark
2022 years ago

So would mine, Martin; it’s *so* hard to hold the pen straight, and one tends to miss the little boxes completely. Plus I’m not sure drawing an ‘8’ is humanly possible…

jen
jen
2022 years ago

More fundamentally, this is a discussion that gay Australia just hasn’t had in any breadth or depth and we really need to.

I agree. Although ‘marriage’ won’t automatically confer social acceptance where that doesn’t already exist… I have a feeling that the practice of wonderful marriages – can you imagine some of them? – would embed gay relationships further in our culture.

The gay mardi gras did that.

And tragically so did HIV/AIDS. I could almost feel some people thinking. – ‘pooftas grieve and die just like us’,

Children in gay relationships tread a tricky path for no reason other than it is not mainstream behaviour, just like single mothering wasn’t and in ever diminishing circles still isn’t.

If legalising gay marriage will serve to make gay partners and their children automatically accepted in the community – then yes it is an issue that could improve the quality of our lives.

Alan
Alan
2022 years ago

Look, we all know why Howard proposed this legislation. It’s because he’s a deep social conservative who’s spent so much time claiming to speak for ‘ordinary Australians’ he’s come to believe he actually does. The real quandary is why a social democratic party chooses to endorse Howard’s position and affirm the otherness of queers.

The legislation was not just about the symbolic issue of marriage. The legislation also drastically reduced the rights of adults and children in foreign gay marriages.

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