I haven’t read any columns on the gay marriage imbroglio so maybe people have already said all this but … it seems to me that the circumstances now provide the left of centre parties with an opportunity to humiliate their opponents. There’s no bigger kill in politics than to be on the right side of the polls and of history and to force, and be seen to force your opponents to heel.
It’s a little hard to know whose schtick is cutting through. To me the ALPs emotionalism – with the 13 year old kid and his two Mums in Question Time – seems to be cutting through to me. On the other hand people seem to want the plebiscite. Perhaps that gives the CLP some cut-through in arguing that it’s Bill Shorten who’s standing in the way of gay marriage. But the inability to get the plebiscite up will surely weigh further on the PM’s authority. He can blame the ALP all he wants, but there are those pesky randos and someone from his own side jacking up – so it’s not just a Labor/Greens thing. It’s not even a left wing thing. It’s a fairness thing. It’s a “I don’t want people campaigning against homosexuality” thing.
If there’s no plebiscite then the ALP just sits there saying that there’s only one way to get gay marriage in Australia and that’s to elect a government with enough courage to support legislation. Tick, tick tick. If 65 odd percent of Australians support gay marriage, and if 5% of the electorate are gay and another 5% have relatives etc and so they care strongly about the issue, that seems quite a liability for the CLP to take to the election.
And the other thing I would do if I were the ALP/Greens would be to draft a bill for an act and pass it through the Senate. It would not have the force of law, but it would have a section in it that would declare that any civil union that went ahead with some formal election by the parties from the date of the passage of the bill through the Senate should be treated as a marriage and would be legitimated as a marriage upon final passage of the legislation.
People would go ahead having ‘marriage services’ every weekend continuing to normalise the practice and hosting community level political activism in every suburb of the nation. Tick, tick tick.
I’m hoping those in favour of gay marriage recognise the immense political power that’s within their grasp. I can’t believe that, as time passed, the CLP wouldn’t be forced into a humiliating backdown. Tick, tick, tick.