An email from ALP Senator John Faulkner’s office was waiting for me when I fired up the computer after our weekend away:
Thank you for your recent correspondence regarding recognition of same-sex relationships.
Consistent with the Labor Party’s long history of support for equality, fairness and justice for all Australians, the Australian Labor Party adopted the following platform commitment at its 2007 National Conference:
Equality, fairness and justice for gay Australians.
Nah, just kidding!
[Labor legislation will] not implement arrangements that mimic marriage or undermine existing laws that define marriage as being between a man and a woman.
How is that equality? Hang on, is Labor admitting that it does not believe in equality for gay people for some unspecified reason that it will at some point outline to us?
Labor supports the enactment of legislation prohibiting discrimination on the basis of a person’s sexual orientation or gender status, and the removal of such discrimination from Commonwealth legislation.
So why are you still supporting Howard’s amendments to the Marriage Act that directly discriminate “on the basis of a person’s sexual orientation or gender status”?
Says Faulkner’s office:
Labor believes that people are entitled to respect, equality, dignity and the opportunity to participate in a society free of hatred or harassment and receive the protection of the law regardless of their sexuality or gender identity.
But it “will not implement arrangements that mimic marriage or undermine existing laws that define marriage as being between a man and a woman”.
What is this, 1984-style doublethink? We don’t believe in discrimination but we believe in discrimination! We believe in equality for you but we don’t think you should be equal with us? It is disturbingly reminiscent of Orwell’s construction:
The power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them….To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies — all this is indispensably necessary. Even in using the word doublethink it is necessary to exercise doublethink. For by using the word one admits that one is tampering with reality; by a fresh act of doublethink one erases this knowledge; and so on indefinitely, with the lie always one leap ahead of the truth.
And John – baldly asserting that there is no contradiction does not make it so:
These reforms are to be implemented nationally and are consistent with Labor’s commitment to maintaining the definition of marriage as currently set out in the Marriage Act.
They are not in any way consistent with your claim that gay people are entitled to “equality”.
Apparently the ALP thinks it can get away with mouthing platitudes about how it believes in equality for gay people out of one side of its metaphorical gob while, out of the other, promising the bigots that it doesn’t really.
How dumb do they think we are?
ELSEWHERE: Excellent article on the issue by Adele Horin over the weekend. (Via AU.)
UPDATE: The Marriage Equality campaign urges you to use this web form urgently to let the PM know your thoughts on the issue before he makes any more of a git of himself about it this week.