Gay marriage: Some thoughts about the politics

Image result for gay marriage australia statisticsI 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.

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john Walker
john Walker(@johnrwalker)
5 years ago

Nicholas
Came across the below quote in another comment stream , I think it has merit:

“The rise of participative social media including these forums has given an opportunity for people to express the sort of ill considered comments they would be unlikely to voice in face to face situations.

Many more people are expressing opinions in public forums but the relative cloak of anonymity is leading to an increasingly acrimonious tenor in the debate. The media proprietors make more money based on increased readership and authorship and don’t necessarily value reasonable intercourse if it reduces advertising revenue.

We do need to be able to discuss and debate the issues of the day without name calling and abuse. Evidence and argument should be our tools. There should also be room for people to express their beliefs.

Disenfranchising individuals and groups will/has led to anti establishment politics. The same sex marriage debate is a difficult issue where beliefs, rights and community benefit are more powerful than evidence in the process.

Given the political realities, a plebiscite may be the best way to go at this stage. The quality of the debate on this issue will be a test for our community.”

A sense of profound disenfranchisement and personal powerlessness anger alienation among (mostly older) conservatives is what is feeding the rise of One Nation and other similar extremist groups . while labor may well be using clever politics , I really wonder about the wisdom of not putting SSM to a vote, by the whole nation.

Moz of Yarramulla
Moz of Yarramulla
5 years ago
Reply to  john Walker

If it was a vote that would be one thing, but it’s more of an opinion poll than a vote as most people think of it.

We do need to be able to discuss and debate the issues of the day without name calling and abuse

There seems to be much more emphasis on the need for abuse and name-calling, and argument against restrictions on those than there is willingness to allow reasoned argument. One side of the debate is explicitly demanding that hate speech be permitted and restrictions on it be lifted. I think that’s a strong argument for not having the plebescite.

I think we have had the reasonable discussion and a great majority of the population have moved on. They accept that same-sex marriage is at worst a necessary evil, and would rather stop talking about it.

My attempts to discuss it with a fairly random selection of people have met with everything from “don’t we have that already” to one person who was quite opposed to it considered in isolation, but their description of the conservative christians opposed to it was vehement and meant they’d vote for marriage. I am actually surprised at how many people have mistaken overseas coverage of gay marriage for changes in Australian law.

Chris J Lloyd
Chris J Lloyd
5 years ago

“I am actually surprised at how many people have mistaken overseas coverage of gay marriage for changes in Australian law.” Wow! And these people get to vote.

john Walker
john Walker(@johnrwalker)
5 years ago

Moz I used to think ‘just get on with it’ however recent experience with older alienated angry people has convinced me that the plebiscite is needed.

And going off the way the ‘ for and against ‘sides will be structured :
“Funding will be provided to two committees to run a “yes” and “no” campaign. Each committee will be made up of ten members: five politicians (two government MPs, two opposition MPs and one crossbench MP) and five members of the public.”
I am hopeful that it can be kept reasonable .

Moz of Yarramulla
Moz of Yarramulla
5 years ago
Reply to  john Walker

recent experience with older alienated angry people has convinced me that the plebiscite is needed.

Can you explain why, please? If it’s just “they need a chance to vent” or “need to feel their voice has been heard”, then yes, that’s an argument for a vote of some sort.

Whether it’s a good argument for a large, expensive, opinion poll that will be ignored by the government is a different question. My feeling is that providing a platform for hate speech is not going to turn out well. I doubt anyone affected is ignorant of the bigot position, they just disagree with it. And the bigots, as they have vehemently affirmed on far too many occasions, will not change their positions regardless.

If those people want to feel that their opinions matter, a plebescite is exactly the wrong thing to to, because it explicitly says “go to the effort of voting, but your vote doesn’t matter”.

john Walker
john Walker(@johnrwalker)
5 years ago
Reply to  john Walker

Moz
They are stuck in the anger phase of grief ( for the loss of many things). The plebiscite should help at least some of them to move on to acceptance. Not having it, just legislating for it, will only feed their sense of dis-empowerment alienation and anger.

BTW ‘Who’ exactly has said ““Leviticus says we must put the pillow-biters to death”.
As apposed to those who say “scripture dictates that marriage is only between a woman and a man”.

Moz of Yarramulla
Moz of Yarramulla
5 years ago
Reply to  john Walker

John, Christian Witness Ministries is one example of an Australian group who hold to the Leviticus view of homosexuality and say so on their website: http://www.cwm.org.au/3/24-52/130-2

It’s interesting to me that most groups (ACL, for example) have purged their websites and now do more dog-whistling than plain speaking.

Posts like the one below argue around the question, not actually saying that homosexuals should be put to death, just that those parts of the bible are still important parts of Christian belief. I struggle to understand how eating shellfish is different, but they’re clear that adultery and incest are still wrong. I’m not saying it’s coherent, merely that someone appears to be making the point in good faith, but is constrained by not wanting to appear unhinged/directly advocate what Australian law would consider the murder of gays, divorcees, shellfish-eaters and so on.

http://cfsc.com.au/shellfish-logic-and-the-defence-of-homosexual-marraige/

If you’re asking me for a clear statement from someone like John Laws that he will attempt to start a riot where gay people are beaten… I suggest you find an equivalent statement from Alan Jones before the Cronulla riots.

To be clear, I am not especially concerned with formal statements and official pronouncements from the anti-equality side. I’m concerned that their dog-whistling will persuade people already wanting violence that violence is justified. Again, as we see at Reclaim Australia rallies and similar.

john Walker
john Walker(@johnrwalker)
5 years ago
Reply to  john Walker

Moz
Some do have a rather ‘ strict letter of the law’ approach to scripture , but as you say the ‘death sentence’ is not there.
Funny thing is eating shellfish is not something ‘you are born with’ . Eating shellfish ,truly is a lifestyle choice so logically its a worse sin.

BTW
Christ was famously quite indifferent to the ‘letter of the law’ of the day.

john Walker
john Walker(@johnrwalker)
5 years ago
Reply to  john Walker

BTW

Be surprised if the “people already wanting violence “you are referring to have ever prayed in a church.

Moz of Yarramulla
Moz of Yarramulla
5 years ago
Reply to  john Walker

John, you seem to be asking for a more direct statement than the “Leviticus is the law” ones I linked to, and ignore rather than disagree with my explanation that such a thing is unlikely to appear.

Note that such a statement would be illegal under current Australian law, but is one of the few things that would become arguably legal if the prohibition on hate speech was lifted. When you actually look at what’s banned now that would be unbanned by the changes ACL and Brandis are asking for, it’s a small collection. Most of them are like the explicit statement you’re asking for, so I think it’s reasonable to assume that the reason the ACL wants the ban lifted is so they can say them.

But I’m not keen to find our, personally, because hate speech is something I’d rather avoid.

And as for “not been to church”… you are aware that the bible has many stories about religion as a personal thing not a bureaucratic thing? People don’t have to be members in good standing of a state-recognised church to be Christians, and not all Christian acts are approved of by modern secular states (multiple marriage, owning slaves, genocide… there’s lots)

john Walker
john Walker(@johnrwalker)
5 years ago
Reply to  john Walker

Moz so for, whatever reason ( we are not mind readers) the statement you are worried about has not been made.
As for the current 18C law, the government has ruled out any changes , its not a high priority. And as best as I know there are no provisions , about 18C, in the plebiscite legislation either

I am and will always be Not Trampis
I am and will always be Not Trampis
5 years ago

Nick,

It is impossible for anyone to have either two mothers or two fathers.

That is prostituting the english language!

I am and will always be Not Trampis
I am and will always be Not Trampis
5 years ago
Reply to  Nicholas Gruen

The difference is Nick homosexual couples who wish to have children can ONLY due so by committing adultery.

Marks
Marks
5 years ago

So what?

Moz of Yarramulla
Moz of Yarramulla
5 years ago

That’s taking quite an extreme view of ART, IMO. Even the old school turkey baster method doesn’t count as adultery to most people, including the great majority of anti-gay-marriage people AFAIK.

Chris J Lloyd
Chris J Lloyd
5 years ago

Turnbull simply cannot u-turn on this. First, it was a clear election policy. Second, he will be destroyed by his own party of he changes policy now. So if the ALP block the plebiscite, then that is absolutely the end of the matter for another 3 years.

I know you are really posting about how the “politics” might play out, and you might be correct – we will see. But politics should be about getting things done. And those who vote against this plebiscite are making a clear decision that they would rather look good than do good. Absolute shame on them all.

The plebiscite was a delaying tactic from Abbot. The delay has been endured now. Yes, it might be the second best option, but it is the only option on the table.

john Walker
john Walker(@johnrwalker)
5 years ago
Reply to  Chris J Lloyd

Agree

Chris Lloyd
Chris Lloyd
5 years ago
Reply to  Nicholas Gruen

Hi Nick. I was mainly arguing as a hypothetical person who thinks it is extremely important and urgent. Think Tanya Plibersek.

I actually think it is quite important but find myself annoyed my most of the moralisers who get in your face about it. In my Troppo post, I was not trying to argue that it was unimportant, just that it was NOT something that all rational and reasonable people must necessarily give the highest priority.

Chris Lloyd
Chris Lloyd
5 years ago
Reply to  Nicholas Gruen

Also: “…There are a large number of gay people who are freaked out by the prospect of a “no” campaign. Perhaps someone on this thread knows if they’re considered to be a majority of gay people.” Are there really many who feel this way, or is it all part of the politics? It would be impossible to get anyone to answer honestly now, because it is part of the argument for an immediate parliamentary vote.

You know, I find it hard to think that a gay person, who would have been subject to discrimination their whole life, would suddenly be freaked out by the prospect of Fred Nile saying that they are breaking biblical law.

Moz of Yarramulla
Moz of Yarramulla
5 years ago
Reply to  Nicholas Gruen

I find it hard to think that a gay person, who would have been subject to discrimination their whole life, would suddenly be freaked out by the prospect of Fred Nile saying that they are breaking biblical law

Me too. But since no-one has suggested that apart from you, I think you’re creating a strawman.

Why don’t we talk instead about already violent arseholes who like beating people up, being told repeatedly by public figures that gay people are destroying the Australian way of life and must be stopped? No just in blog posts that no-one reads or church newsletters that only their followers see, but in national media desperate to seem “balanced”. Yeah, “Leviticus says we must put the pillow-biters to death” perfectly balanced by “please for for gay people to have rights too”.

That, unfortunately, is the position of the ACL, and while I hope that no parliamentarian would use that language, I can’t say the same of talkback radio hosts. I do hope they would be prosecuted for it after the event, but as we saw in Cronulla, that’s no consolation to the victims on the day.

Marks
Marks
5 years ago
Reply to  Chris J Lloyd

The problem is that for $160 Million we get a set of numbers that MPs may or may not vote for. Further, if the plebiscite is pro gay marriage, there is zero guarantee that the next Parliament might just do a John Howard and pass a bill outlawing it again.

From that perspective, it’s not only expensive, but there’s no guarantee that a yes vote will actually achieve anything.

So, it’s not really an option at all. It’s a $160 Million piece of camouflage.

It’s Turnbull’s version of the republic referendum. Set it up to ensure that there’s no change.

Chris Lloyd
Chris Lloyd
5 years ago
Reply to  Marks

“The problem is that for $160 Million we get a set of numbers that MPs may or may not vote for. Further, if the plebiscite is pro gay marriage, there is zero guarantee that the next Parliament might just do a John Howard and pass a bill outlawing it again.”

Let me get this straight Mark. With a free conscience vote, you think it would pass. But after a pro gay marriage plebiscite where there would be overwhelming pressure on the CLP to vote in favour, you think it would fail?

And yes, future parliaments could change the law in future no matter what we do now. Do you even think before you type?

Marks
Marks
5 years ago
Reply to  Chris Lloyd

Please try to avoid the patronising tone Chris.

I meant what I said.

We are paying $160 Million for something that may or may not pass, and may or may not be changed in a future Parliament. Do you Think that’s a good use of taxpayers’ money? If you think about it, that is.

While I have no idea whether it would pass or fail, I can easily imagine the likes of Bernardi, Christensen, Abetz voting no in the Parliament if ever it came to a vote.

Nonetheless, I think both before, and after I type that spending $160 Million on a plebiscite to achieve something that can be overturned within a few years is wasteful to the extreme. I think paying an extra $160 Million to undertake a procedure that took John Howard a week or so in Parliament is a demonstration of parliamentary dysfunction.

But hey! It’s only $160 Million. Let’s not think about it, eh Chris?

Chris Lloyd
Chris Lloyd
5 years ago
Reply to  Marks

Sorry for the tone.

I agree that the expense is unnecessary. But you are clearly wrong about it having no effect. Of course some liberals would cross the floor but most would vote in favour, as would the ALP and the Greens are unanimous. Exactly how could it fail?

So your claim that Turnbull is trying to engineer no change makes no sense.

Marks
Marks
5 years ago
Reply to  Chris Lloyd

Chris, let me put it to you that this idea of a plebiscite was put up as a compromise between those in the Coalition who want change, and those who resist that change.

$160 Million because the Coalition can’t make a decision.

However, it could only have been agreed to by those opposed to change if they thought it would enable them to frustrate that change. If it is clear to them that they feel they can frustrate any change, and they are experienced political operators, I suggest it’s a strong possibility.

Since Turnbull is the front man pushing this through, I don’t think it’s absurd to make the accusation I did.

Chris Lloyd
Chris Lloyd
5 years ago
Reply to  Chris Lloyd

“The idea of a plebiscite was put up as a compromise between those in the Coalition who want change, and those who resist that change.” Agreed.

“$160 Million because the Coalition can’t make a decision.” Agreed. Though I wouldn’t mind knowing why the cost is so high.

“However, it could only have been agreed to by those opposed to change if they thought it would enable them to frustrate that change. If it is clear to them that they feel they can frustrate any change, and they are experienced political operators, I suggest it’s a strong possibility.” I just cannot see how they can. Based on polls the plebscite passes right? And then the vote in favour in parliament must necessarily be greater than a conscience vote (which others, and I think you, are saying would be a majority).

Chris Lloyd
Chris Lloyd
5 years ago

I think she (the ALP) would mainly make a political calculation unfortunately. If they thought that the senate bill would take some of the heat out of the issue, I fear they would not do it – just as Abbott stopped the Malaysia solution.

BTW: I do not know about the legality of having a bill in the senate saying that it will not come into force at the moment it is passed but retrospectively at some future time. I guess Ken could sort it out for us.

Phil Clark
Phil Clark
5 years ago

I found the whole debate on mariage to be a bit bewildering until I looked at some of the arguments supporting the No vote in the 67 referendum and came to the conclusion there will always be people who are so afraid of change that they will rationalise anything to keep their world the same. It’s odd that something so obvious, perhaps even “Self evident…” should require any descussion out side of how to right this obvious wrong, or maybe I’m just looking for the rain bow connection, I’ve always been a dreamer.

I am and will always be Not Trampis
I am and will always be Not Trampis
5 years ago

Kirby cannot be that stupid. People of the old testament either agreed to the covenant with God or they went elsewhere. The covenant deliberately incorporated stuff so the Israelites would not imitate nor copy the ‘sophisticated nations they would be neigbours with.
In the new Testament where people are not part of a theocratic nations homosexuality, adultery , fornication is still viewed as a sin If people did not repent they were simply expelled from Church as Christ taught. contrary to what John says Jesus specifically said he came to fulfill the law not abolish it.

No-one taught more about hell and its implications.

john Walker
john Walker(@johnrwalker)
5 years ago

Peace be with you.
Suggest that there are a number of ways to interpret “fulfill”.

I am and will always be Not Trampis
I am and will always be Not Trampis
5 years ago

perhaps cogitate on why he had to fulfil the prophets!

Phil Clark
Phil Clark
5 years ago

I think you have lost the plot a bit, if this was purely a religious practice who would care but when a society denies access to a fundermental social and legal institution based on sexual preference that going too far, it’s wrong, plainly wrong and needs to change. To be frank, how so called Christans can see the harm, hurt and pain cause by this injustice and do nothing about it makes me think that they are just hypocrites hiding their bigotry behind religious doctrine, where is the compassion of the good Good Samaritan, how dare they throw the first stone and what happened to do onto other as you would have them do onto you. Pathetic.

I am and will always be Not Trampis
I am and will always be Not Trampis
5 years ago

Phil. Please read correctly. I didn’t put this up as a religious practice, i was responding to an incarcerate understanding just like yours. Ironically you accuse others of bigotry when you show bigotry!

I am happy for you to show how a homosexual couple would want children and how they could have any except through adultery!

john Walker
john Walker(@johnrwalker)
5 years ago

“bigotry” :-)

Moz of Yarramulla
Moz of Yarramulla
5 years ago

NT, I’d like you to define adultery since that’s no longer a term used in marriage law in Australia. It’s used a lot by religious people, often to invalidate the marriages of other opposite-sex couples. But any argument requires a definition, so I’d like to see yours.

Also, are you ignoring my mention of assisted reproductive technology above, as you’re ignoring adoption?

john Walker
john Walker(@johnrwalker)
5 years ago

Moz
May be of interest – until about 1850(not sure of the exact date) under UK law if you were married in anything other than the Established Church Of England ( or a synagogue or a Quaker chapel) you were legally speaking, not married i.e. you were an ‘adulterer’ .

BTW
This a possibly more typical example of how Christians approach complex ethical diliemas.

I am and will always be Not Trampis
I am and will always be Not Trampis
5 years ago

Adultery is simply sex outside of an established relationship.
It can be direct or indirect!

Why should a homosexual couple want children. It wouldn’t be ‘normal for them!

Moz of Yarramulla
Moz of Yarramulla
5 years ago

NT, then it’s simple: homosexual couples can have children via IVF, adoption, artificial insemination and I’m sure other methods, none of them adulterous.

If you’re going to claim that anything that fertilises an egg is sex you’re in a world of your own in that. I mean, “sex between a plate and a syringe”? Really?

If nothing else, adoption can involved a married couple having non-adulterous sex with each other, and the resulting child(ren) being adopted by others.

My sister’s wife, for example, used sperm donated by a close friend when she wanted to get pregnant. No sex involved there by either party. Well, not with each other, and not at the time.

John, I’m somewhat aware of the complexity and variation within Christianity, including on issues like this. For example, I periodically make snide remarks about Australia being ruled by the head of her very own church as the reason we have no legal separation between the two. Which is not technically correct, but the reasons are more fine print than foundation :)

I am and will always be Not Trampis
I am and will always be Not Trampis
5 years ago

If you are gong to have children and you are same sex then ipsofacto it must be adulterous either directly or indirectly.

It is a pretty simple concept.

Phil Clark
Phil Clark
5 years ago

Great, now where getting somewhere, so how do you justify social exclusion based on gender association?

Phil Clark
Phil Clark
5 years ago

Agreed, my comment was on the subject not your point on adulatory and yes there is a fine line between opinion and bigotry and perhaps in my frustration I crossed that line, so to the point. Who cares, seriously, my culture considers children to be wonderfull gift to the familly and tribe while western culture seems to treats them like commodities. So if a same sex couple want to raise or help raise a child we don’t care as long as the child or children are loved and tacked care of. But from your point of view you will always be right because Christian religious doctrine is very clear on the matter and as this doctrine is of devine origin then it cannot be questioned. So yes, regardless of what changes we make legally by devine law same sex marriage is adulterous. I don’t agree with this but as it stands I can not argue against your point if it based on beliefe, and you have, and I support your right to express, argue and protest to support your point of view, I hope you can reciprocate in kind.