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.

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

  1. and have the rally on a sunday.

    that would make attending 1000% easier.

  2. How could any gay person with the slightest bit of self-respect not want that message sent?

    I can’t speak for gay people of course, but I would guess that at least part of the answer is that they do want the message sent, but have seen far too many rallies come and go (without any meaningful change) to have been excited by Saturday’s opportunity. I mean they’ve already won the PR campaign – the majority of Australians support their right to marry – so the biggest returns have already been achieved.

    The utter determination of both political parties to pander to a noisy minority of bigots seems to be immune to public pressure at the current time. In a way the fight has now moved off the streets of Australia.

    But in the end I’m just speculating.

  3. There are many reasons, the largest being that many probably simply didn’t know about it. Most of us have full time jobs, and many of those jobs involve working weekends. Many have settled into their lives with or without a partner, rarely if ever go out, rarely if ever read gay media, and simply just want to get on with life.

    Sometimes you get to the point where your life is comfortable and actively involving yourself in a big bag of hurt is counterproductive.

    I almost completely ignore anything that mentions sexuality on news websites these days because, ultimately, all it does is make me angry. Both the politics of it or the religious nutters who feel the need to comment on it infuriate me. And I’m enjoying my life too much right now to be too angry, regardless of the deservedness of that anger.

    So while I do get the shits that I couldn’t marry my partner (if he believed in it *sigh*) if I wanted, ultimately I think the battle for acceptance from the non-religious has been fought and won. The battle for acceptance from the devoutly religious will never be won. So the only way to achieve real change is to vote progressives into parliament instead of the conservative dipshits in both major parties we have now.

  4. “Giving up an hour or so every couple of months

    There is a perception in the community that Gay people are generally very selfish and self centred.

    If correct that might explain the low attendance.

  5. Turtle, gay people are just people, like everybody else. Certainly no more selfish or giving than any other group. If you actually believe that then you need to get to actually know some gay people.

  6. Meh. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the reason most people didn’t turn up was because it’s futile. Rallies, demonstations, petitions, NONE of these work. They haven’t worked for 30+ years, on ANY issue.

    If you really believe in the cause, you owe it to yourself to work for it in a manner that might actually achieve something. But a rally?

  7. God you’re an idiot, Turtle. A spiteful idiot, the worst kind.

  8. Look I don’t know if I agree with it. But it certainly is the perception out there in the community.

    Anyway Jeremy why did you only stay for a little bit of the protest? Not that important enough to you to go the whole nine yards?

  9. Yeah, like the perception that people opposed to equality for gays are mean-spirited busybodies overly fixated on other people’s sex lives and with a nasty streak a mile wide? Well, like that except your vacuous stereotype about gays is ridiculous.

    It was important enough for me to attend long enough to be counted, despite having a whole lot of other commitments on Saturday.

  10. I agree with Mondo – it must be heartening to see a majority of people support your equal rights, but also disheartening that here is yet another public campaign that does nothing to shift the denialists and bigots in parliament.

    Remember the rightwing columnists and talkback radio did exactly the same thing with aboriginal reconciliation, trying to divide the aboriginal and white community by ranting that why was it we always saw white people at these things and not more aboriginals. It must mean that aboriginals are selfish – and witness at comment 4 above we see the same ignorant shit.

    I detest this divisive ‘advocacy’ and will resist it being applied to the gay community on this issue. It shouldn’t matter whether gay people turn up at rallies or not, the fact is the government will move only when it perceives that the issue has become mainstream and could be a wedge issue for the opposition to use against it: Turnbull supports gay marriage. The community supports gay marriage. The dots are lining up – now is not the time to give fodder to the bigots to use against gay people.

  11. Turnbull does not support gay marriage.

  12. And Bolt called him a lefty! What a disappointment.

  13. Turnbull does not support gay marriage.

    At the last election he gave a speech to constituents in his electorate. He said he supported gay marriage. He lobbied the then PM to change the laws, and the most he got was what the current PM has done: reverse discrimination in federal death benefits.


    Like I said.

    Anyway we now need an assurance out of Hockey that he will protect marriage.

  15. By not arbitrarily and pointlessly blocking it from adults who want to commit to each other?

    That would be excellent.

    Unfortunately, I think the anti-marriage side that you represent would rather completely destroy the Liberal Party before letting that come to pass.

  16. Turtle: during the 2007 election campaign Turnbull stated he was in favour of gay marriage when addressing a forum of gay advocates. He reportedly went to Howard and then Cabinet and reportedly argued that the then government should promise to amend the Marriage Act to allow same sex marriage. The then PM refused and offered a sweetner, which is what Rudd has delivered: the federal death benefits equality.

    Turnbull is delicately balancing the Far Right of this party who oppose gay marriage with his own personal views which is why his post-election stance is one of denial.

  17. What is it with these sneaky, conniving people who support gay marriage?

    Selfish and self centred.

    Turnbull might as well be gay.

  18. What is it with cowardly politicians who think the fundamentalists’ votes more important than principle?

    I agree, Turtle, it’s a sad indictment on them.

    One of the reasons I vote for the principled people in the Greens instead.

    Still, I think I’ve figured out what Turtle’s problem with gay people is – she thinks “gay” means “sneaky and conniving”! She thinks we’re advocating for “sneaky and conniving” marriage!

    Oh dear. Look, Turtle, when we use the word “gay”, we mean people who are sexually attracted to others of the same gender. Not people who are “sneaky and conniving”. Do you understand? I’m sorry to have to clear this up for you so brutally – you must be pretty embarrassed.

  19. Hey no need to personalise it Jeremy.


    sneaky and connving – someone who publishes a comment then comes back and adds another two paragraphs prehaps?

  20. How’s that “sneaky and conniving”? I could’ve added them as a second post, but it’s neater in one.

    If you’d commented afterwards, I’d have done them as a subsequent comment.

    Explain to me what was my cunning plan, my cunning trickery. How was it sneaky? How was it conniving?

    You’ve grasped that those aren’t what “gay” means, right?

  21. You know exactly what I was saying Jeremy.

    People like Turnbull who say they have a long held belief then due to expediancy say another thing when it suits.

  22. Yes. The major parties are full of them.

  23. What is it with these sneaky, conniving people who support gay marriage?

    Indeed. If we didn’t have bigots like you who jump up and down in protest of equal rights, imagine how much progress we’d make on a bipartisinship basis.

    The fact that a moderate progressive leader of the opposition has to hide his support behind a platform of hate and discrimination should disturb any pro-democracy, equal rights advocate.

  24. I went to a rally on Saturday and bumped into a gay couple I knew at a BBQ shortly after. I told them where I’d been and they didn’t bat an eyelid – kind of sad really.

  25. “MALCOLM TURNBULL has embarked on a personal crusade to convince his cabinet colleagues to allow same-sex couples the same legal and financial rights as heterosexual married and de facto couples.”

    Do you really think Turnbull wouldn’t support equal marriage when push came to shove?

    The seat of Wentworth following boundary changes has a very large gay constituency as well as a lot ‘trendies’. If Turnbull fails today and resigns his seat it, the ALP will in all likelihood win it.

  26. Any political party who introduced same sex marriage to appease a couple of noisy gays and trendies would be electorally obliterated.

    Same sex marriage in Australia is off the agenda.

    Move on people and start lobbying for Civil Unions.

  27. You’ve got to be kidding. You think introducing equality that is supported by a clear majority of voters would invite electoral “obliteration”?

    Turtle, “civil unions” are not equality. It’s the same “separate but equal” crap that they tried in the US South during the time of segregation. It’s about enforcing inequality, not addressing it.

    It’s no solution at all. Gays should – and will- accept nothing less than full equality. This issue will not die until they achieve it.

  28. People (gay and straight) who are in a relationship but who choose not to get married are constantly needing to explain themselves to friends, family and work colleagues why their relationships are just as worthy (and committed) as someone who chooses to drop between $1000 – $100000 on a party for themselves (or get parents to pay which is more often the case than I previously thought).

    These people have to grit their teeth and smile as others talk endlessly about table decorations, as others moan about what a rip off the industry is and secretly muse “why are you buying into it then when you aren’t religious”. These people with children need to patiently explain that they aren’t leaving themselves open for a quick get-away. That the partner is/isn’t the biological parent but really, is that any of your business if I haven’t volunteered the information.

    I am vocally disgusted by the message being sent by Rudd, the government and the opposition. That they are fighting so hard to deny the ability to marry that some people desperately want is repulsive – it doesn’t take anything away from their unions and there is no legitimate reason to fight against allowing some adults to marry and not others.

    But I can understand someone not fighting for it.

  29. Turtle – you coward – if you think that gays are selfish and self-centred then at least have the guts to say so.

    Hiding behind the utterly pathetic “some people think . . . ” disclaimer is fooling no-one. That you lack the courage to even own your beliefs speaks volumes for your character.

    If there’s anything worse than a bigot it’s a cowardly bigot with neither the will nor the intellectual strength to defend their hate.

  30. Any political party who introduced same sex marriage to appease a couple of noisy gays and trendies would be electorally obliterated.

    Well you better get used to the idea because momentum is building:

    The Victorian ALP has increased pressure on the federal government to allow same-sex marriages after passing a motion supporting gay unions at its state conference.

    A meeting of the party faithful in Melbourne on Saturday called for the federal government to change the Marriage Act to allow gay couples to marry.

  31. Well, the delicious prospect of the opposition being able to wedge Labor on same sex marriage has amounted to nothing with a religious fundie taking over the liberal leadership. It is not good news for anyone who is in favour of marriage equality because now the only political pressure that can conceivably be put onto Labor comes from the minor parties.

  32. On the other hand, it might mean the progressive vote won’t be wasted on the ALP.

  33. Except most people unfortunately won’t make their vote solely on this issue, regardless of how progressive they are. They will vote on the party they perceive best able to handle the big issues confronting the nation. That’s why pressure has to come from opposition political parties which percieve a shift in perception amongst the electorate.

    Labor will win the next election even though their policy is to maintain discrimination against same sex couples. Turnbull was the best short-term option from the opposition who could’ve put real pressure on the government to change its policy.

  34. Well aren’t we lucky then that Turnbull got ditched.

  35. Yeah, you’ve really dodged a bullet there. When those gays can marry… well, it’ll sure stuff up your life. Somehow.

  36. I don’t really have anything more to add to this debate that hasn’t been said.
    Call me a troll but i really just wanted to express how much of a tool Turtle is and agree with Mondo and Jeremy that she’s just a cowardly spiteful bigot.
    Luckily people like her are slowly but surely losing ground and dying away.

  37. Luckily people like her are slowly but surely losing ground and dying away.

    That’s the beauty of human progress Ev – you just can’t stop it. Gay marriage will succeed in the end – just like the equivalent human rights issues of female suffrage and racial equality have done before it.

    I’m sure the misogynists of yesteryear were just as smug as Turtle about the exclusion of women from the democratic process, but smug or not they were categorically wrong, and history has now relegated their ilk to the dustbin.

    Turtle is headed in the same direction and she knows it. Her trolling here is a last hurrah – a chance to wallow in her prejudice, fear and hatred while she still can.

    She should enjoy it while she can – the only thing that will stop her seeing the legalisation of gay marriage is an early death.

  38. “That’s the beauty of human progress…. you just can’t stop it. Gay marriage will succeed in the end”

    Yes no doubt we will have gay marriage forced onto us.

    Then Mondo and EvShow will start out on the next path of ‘human progress’.

    One wonders what that will be?

    Consenting relatives marrying? Why not they will argue. It’s not hurting anyone…..

    and on they go as they forge new paths.

  39. “Yes no doubt we will have gay marriage forced onto us.”

    Do you seriously believe that people will be “forced” to get gay married?

    If so, you’ll be relieved to know that no-one’s arguing for compulsory gay marriage.

    “Consenting relatives marrying? Why not they will argue. It’s not hurting anyone…..”

    You’ll also be relieved to know that no-one’s arguing for incest, either.

    Look, do us a favour. Don’t waste your or our time with another tired “slippery slope” argument. We’re talking about gay marriage. Stick to the issue.

  40. ‘slippery slope – aka – forging new paths’

    I wasn’t the one who raised the slippery argument.

    I want to know what possible logical argument there is against two brothers getting married.

  41. Don’t you have a problem with two brothers getting married, Turtle? You must have a good reason for it.

    (I take it you’re pretty much admitting you haven’t a single argument against gay marriage, and that’s why you’re so desperate to talk about something else.)

  42. I want to know what possible logical argument there is against two brothers getting married.

    LOL this alone invalidates everything you have to say about same sex marriage – if it weren’t already the case.

    What a silly thing to say: like Jeremy says, you’ve got no rational arguments against same sex marriage so you figure you can come at it from the incest angle. You are officially a tool!

  43. No what I am trying to do Jeremy is use the same argument that you have used consistently against me.

    Repeatedly you have said I have no ‘logical’ reason against gay marriage.

    Repeatedly I have ignored that question.
    I admit it.
    I have used various examples to try and illustrate the intrinsic value of marriage and why it should be protected.

    And repetedly you have offered up….. provide a logical argument why gays shouldn’t be able to marry.

    So here is your challenge. Provide a logical reason why two consenting brothers shouldn’t marry.

  44. But I’m not talking about that. I’m not expressing an opinion on that. No-one is advocating for that. I don’t have to provide “a logical reason why two consenting brothers shouldn’t marry” because I’m not advocating for or against the proposition. No-one is.

    We are discussing a specific proposal – gay marriage – and weighing up the pros and cons. So far, not one single plausible con has been found, only pros. Both sides – the advocates and the opposers – have argued their cases.

    It is clear that, so far as the argument has gone, the opposers have lost. They have nothing. You have nothing. You even admit it.

    So you try to smear gay marriage by association with something that sounds disturbing that has nothing to do with it.

    I am not playing your stupid game. I’ll give an opinion on an incest proposal when someone actually puts one forward.

  45. Yep just like I thought. Text book!

    And I didn’t admit I haven’t got a logical reason why we must oppose same sex marriage. I admitted that I have repeatedly ignored your request to offer one.

    “So you try to smear gay marriage by association with something that sounds disturbing that has nothing to do with it.”

    My example was that of two consenting men wanting to get married. And you think that sounds ‘disturbing’.

    “I am not playing your stupid game. I’ll give an opinion on an incest proposal* when someone actually puts one forward.”

    * two consenting men who love each other want to get married but who just happen to be brothers

    Ah but this is the ‘slippery slope – aka – forging new paths’ that the likes of Mondo and EvShow seek to forge.

    As Jeremy has decided to dodge it, can anyone else offer me a ‘logical’ reason why two consenting brothers shouldn’t marry.

    entre chirping crickets

  46. “And I didn’t admit I haven’t got a logical reason why we must oppose same sex marriage. I admitted that I have repeatedly ignored your request to offer one.”

    So – that’s it on gay marriage then? You, its most vigorous opponent, agree you’ve got no actual argument against it and therefore there’s nothing on which a parliament could rationally maintain the present discrimination?

    Seems like a good place to end.

    (Everyone’s going to ignore your off-topic trolling, and I won’t be publishing any more of it. We all know WHY you’re trying to bring up incest – it’s a taboo, it’s an instinctively unpleasant idea as we’ve been raised, and you’re trying to tar the unrelated gay marriage issue by association. You’re trying to imply that the two issues can’t be dealt with separately, which is patently untrue. It’s a transparently dishonest polemic technique, and I’m not going to humour it any more.)

  47. I have come a bit late to this one. However, Jeremy, one of the reasons many of your gay acquaintances may not have been at this rally you mention is (like me) they may not be sold on gay marriage at all.

  48. And they think that others who are should be denied it? What do you mean “not sold” on gay marriage? Do you mean there are gay people who think they are incapable of forming a relationship that is, gender aside, functionally identical to heterosexual marriage? So incapable that the law should prevent those who believe they can?

    Make no mistake about it – the ban on gay marriage is not about respecting diversity. It’s about ensuring that the state treats gays as second-class citizens.

    How can any gay person support that?

  49. Pingback: Is there an alternative to protest rallies? « An Onymous Lefty

  50. Could it be because most people (on any issue) simply don’t care because it doesn’t directly inconvenience or matter to them?

    Although the whole concept of restricting something to someone based on their gender or religious beliefs just seems wrong to me it doesn’t seem to matter to a lot of other people.

    There are groups on either side of the argument that are vehemently for it or against it but for most people (including people that it directly effects) they don’t really care one way or the other.

    A relationship is only really important to the people involved, a marriage is little more than religious acknowledgement of that relationship and a common law contract that gives rights to both individuals.

    Ignoring the religious component couldn’t you achieve (at least many of) the same rights through a formal contract? If you consider it a marriage what does it matter if others don’t?

  51. Pingback: Protest priorities « An Onymous Lefty

  52. Pingback: Surprise protests « An Onymous Lefty

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