Monthly Archives: November 2009

Results from the internet filter: we can’t see them, but the Australian Christian Lobby is allowed a peek

What do you do when you’ve committed to a dog of a policy and the results of your trial – your trial without criteria for success – are so bad it’s going to be a serious struggle to pretend otherwise? You get the lobbyists you’re doing it for in early, and remind them that you’re in it together. And you give them a head start on everyone else.

You’d almost feel sorry for him – if Conroy weren’t trying to destroy our access to the internet for no good reason.

Campaigning against your own oppression isn’t your sole responsibility, sure – but it’s a good idea

I’ll admit to having been a bit surprised on Saturday by the fact that many of the gay people I know were not at the equality rally.

I guess I expected that where a person might turn a blind eye to having rights taken away from other people, it would be hard for them to miss discrimination where they were the victim.

Apparently not.

Just because a person is gay, of course, doesn’t mean that they’ve got some kind of special responsibility to other gay people who do want to get married – any more than I, as a straight person, have a responsibility to the anti-marriage crowd that claim, ludicrously, to represent us.

But I am surprised by the short-sightedness of those gay people who don’t personally want to get married who seem to think the issue therefore doesn’t affect them. Ignoring that many people, gay or straight – especially men – in their twenties don’t particularly intend to get married either, and subsequently change their minds when they meet that special person, the fact is that the discrimination in the Marriage Act sends a very, very clear message about all gay people: that they and their relationships are second-rate. That’s the whole reason the bigotry side objects to equality in the law – that it would “send the message” that gay relationships are as worthy as heterosexual relationships. That being gay is not a “disability” or a “problem” that needs to be solved, but as valuable and legitimate as any other part of the human experience.

How could any gay person with the slightest bit of self-respect not want that message sent? How could any gay person with the slightest bit of self-respect not object to being deliberately denied rights they would enjoy if they were heterosexual – whether they intend to exercise them or not? It’s not about whether you want to get married; it’s about whether you think the law should treat you as a second-class citizen.

I know there was a rally just over three months ago, and it would be tempting to ask how many of these things anyone could expect an ordinary person to go to. I know that there’s a sense of futility about the whole issue, that nothing will change while we are governed by two major parties both of which believe in discrimination against gay people. But with the majority of voters now supporting equality, it’s closer than ever. It’s just a matter of when – and of how many people will suffer in the meantime. With a great deal of effort, some momentum has been achieved – it would be a shame to let it dissipate.

Giving up an hour or so every couple of months to point out to those in power who would dare to deny it that you’re as valuable a human being as anyone else, and are pissed off that they would dare to suggest otherwise, doesn’t seem like a bad idea. I’ll be happy to join you.

ELSEWHERE: Slacktivist looks at the “Manhattan Declaration”, in which older US evangelical conservatives try to enforce on younger Christians their view that the “three most important issues” for christians should be abortion, homosexuality and “religious freedom”.

The document itself is an appalling mix of lies, misrepresentations and cynical viciousness, which might well deserve a post on its own fairly shortly. It’s a serious indictment on the signers, and those Christians who believe that their religion is primarily about what Jesus Christ taught have a responsibility to respond before they’re damned by association.

Warming hearts, wherever they go

If it snowing around Al Gore is “the Gore effect“, then is a record month of heat when the Liberals are tearing themselves to pieces over the issue of an ETS “the Liberal Party effect”? Would wherever the deniers go suddenly experience unprecedented heat waves?

Unfortunately, we could never send the lot of them overseas to test the theory.

It was all built on sand

If anyone deserves a bail-out, surely it’s those humanitarians in Dubai.

Why even bother?

In addition to showing it very late, the ABC is showing the latest Doctor Who episode, Waters of Mars, in reduced quality.

And they wonder why people look elsewhere for their television! Late and low quality. Why bother buying it at all? Just how much of an audience do they think they’ll still have?

This year’s Christmas special will probably be shown in black and white, in June. June 2013.

(Via LGWS.)

Marriage Equality Rally photos (Melbourne)

Fewer people than last time, I think – I guess gay Australians can be as apathetic as the rest of us – but still a good, representative sample of ordinary Australians standing up for basic human rights on behalf of the busy majority.

The photos only cover the part of the rally in front of the State Library, because I had to leave before the march itself to go and have a car accident. I’ll update the post with links to other people’s photos as I become aware of them.

UPDATE #1: A video of the rally:

UPDATE #2: Ozpolitik has some photos of the Brisbane rally.

UPDATE #3: Video of the Sydney rally:

It’s absurd that in 2009 we have to do this – but we really do

There will be rallies for Marriage Equality around the country today at lunchtime (check this website for times and locations – in Melbourne it’s 1pm at the Town Hall).

Rallies aren’t really my thing, at all, but I can’t really stand by while fellow Australians are being discriminated against for no reason whatsoever. Not in good conscience, anyway. Other personal plans, tempting though they may be, are not enough of an excuse to just ignore what’s continuing to be done to gay people in this country by a cynically hostile government. There’s a time to stand with them, and that’s today.

The ALP and Liberal politicians have made an electoral calculation and figure, from the numbers of religious people who were prepared to click on a web-based form and demand that the law be based on arbitrarily-chosen parts of something called “Leviticus”, that there are more votes to be lost than gained by ending the discrimination.

I think they’re wrong, but we need to show them. We need to make it obvious, as if to a child, that they’re on the wrong side of history. And that there will be electoral consequences for that.

We need to show them by doing more than just sending emails; by making the effort to stand up and be counted. The more ordinary Australians at this rally, the more pressure will be placed on MPs – particularly ALP MPs – to finally do the right thing. The last one saw thousands of people around the country standing up for human rights and fairness.

We can do even better today.

We saw this week how powerful a noisy minority could be when they raise their voices – and they were a demented minority, determined to destroy their chosen political party by insisting it stubbornly pretend there’s no such thing as climate change. (The atmosphere is magically infinite and can absorb whatever we throw at it! God will save us!) In contrast, we’re the majority, and all we’re asking is that the ALP live up to its founding principles of equality and justice.

Let’s make it even more difficult for them to continue to deny gay people the rights that the rest of us enjoy.

Hope to see you there. If you’re in Melbourne, 1pm at the Town Hall. Other cities – check the website.

UPDATE: Photos here.