Anyone wondering why it was important to show the politicians Australia wants marriage equality should watch carefully as the religious right celebrates five years tomorrow of Howard’s changing the Marriage Act to enforce their beliefs on the rest of us. They’ll be enjoying a breakfast in Parliament House, with shameless Labor and Liberal politicians happily basking in their approval. A mutual admiration session. We did your bidding, they’ll say. We “strengthened” marriage by denying it to committed couples. We “protected” marriage by keeping it from the filthy gays and lesbians. We “defended” families by making sure that those of gays and lesbians are treated as second-class by the law. We “respected” your religious beliefs by enforcing them on other citizens who don’t share them.
Via Brian Greig in Crikey:
The celebratory “National Marriage Breakfast” is the soft cuddly face of the Religious Right, who continue to insist that they are not anti-homos-xual, merely “pro-family”. Just what that means for gay couples raising children is unclear.
However, there is no question that this gathering represents the biggest anti-gay protest in the five years since the gay marriage ban was implemented. Every gay-bashing, h-mophobic hate group will be represented in one way or another.
The event has even been nick-named the “Muehlenberg Rally”, in recognition of serial homophobe Bill Muehlenberg from Victoria’s Australian Family Association being a key advocate for the event.
And guess who they’ll be welcomed by?
Ursula Stephens, parliamentary secretary for “social inclusion”.
Welcome to Parliament House. Who needs plausible or sustainable arguments for legislated bigotry and discrimination when you’ve got the two major parties in your pockets? You convince your followers that this is the most important issue and get them to vote for us, and we’ll keep doing your bidding in this single, nasty way. You continue to ignore our utter failures in genuinely looking after the poor and desperate – the issues your Bible says Jesus Christ did actually talk about – and we’ll keep the gays down for you instead.
Marriage and Family are wonderful things – how dare these other citizens think they can share in them, too.
UPDATE: Spoke to Mary Fowler of the organising “National Civic Council” (a name which doesn’t exactly describe that they’re a religious right lobby group) who (before hanging up on me) explained that marriage is only for “fertile” people and those whose infertility is caused by NATURAL “diseases” or aging, and revealed that the following MPs will be joining Ursula in speaking at their breakfast: Guy Barnett (Liberal), Scott Morrison (Liberal) and Ron Boswell (Nationals).
First of all she spoke about their campaign being “pro-marriage” and all about advertising the benefits of marriage. It wasn’t until asked whether any of the marriage equality people who were rallying for marriage a fortnight ago would be there that she admitted that really they were the other side. They were advocating for something that clearly couldn’t be marriage (because we say so) to be called marriage, and thereby somehow were anti-marriage.
Waiting to hear back from Ursula as to what her position is, and how she defends it.
UPDATE #2: Channel Ten’s morning program has a web poll asking “do you support same sex marriage?” At the moment, the fundies appear to be winning. The sad effect of this will be to help bigoted politicians convince themselves that they represent “the majority” (they try to ignore the results of real polls).
I suggest you vote, and remind them that the majority of Australians care about marriage equality and basic human decency.
(Unfortunately the poll doesn’t require the pro-discrimination voters to click on some kind of reason for their bigotry, so we’ll never know which of the incredibly lame anti-equality reasons appeals to them. Is it the facile “governments should only recognise marriages that can produce children”? Or the moronic “it’s tradition”? Or the disturbingly authoritarian “my God says gays are evil and the government should therefore make them suffer”? Which is it?)
UPDATE #3: This is Ursula Stephen’s speech. You know things are grim for an argument if the best its supporters can come up with is to cite their own “definition” as if it proves something. By the way, I hope the bigots in attendence noted the word “current” attached to the description of the ALP’s position. I certainly did.