See how the offensively lame defence by Family First’s lead Senate candidate for Queensland, Wendy Francis, of her “legitimising gay marriage is like legalising child abuse” remarks (for which she’s received an anti-discrimination complaint) could just as logically be used to justify banning marriage of any other “traditionally” marginalised group – from mixed-race couples to the poor. Her only real point is that people wouldn’t “choose” to be raised by a gay couple – presumably simply because most of us weren’t raised by a gay couple, and we wouldn’t change our parents – not because they’re straight, but because they’re our parents. She’s implying it’s because gay couples are somehow lesser parents, of course. Who else have been viewed historically as lesser parents? The poor! So, to show how absurd and offensive her restated argument is, the following is her press release with references to gay couples replaced by references to poor couples:
The past 48 hours has seen many articles, blogs and comments about a media release and statements on Twitter regarding my stance on poor people being allowed to marry and have kids.
Headlines are designed to create attention and unfortunately many of the sensational headlines that included words like “poverty slur” and “poor people phobic” distorted the truth of both what was said and my actual views.
That said, I take responsibility for what was sent from my office and I acknowledge that the words used caused hurt and anguish for many people. For this I sincerely and unreservedly apologise. Those who know me personally know that I would never intentionally offend any person. I am not a career politician – I’m an ordinary Aussie; a wife and a mother passionate about families, Australian values and the direction of our great country. I have friends across the world representing a diversity of beliefs, faiths, ideals and values. I have always treated people with honour and respect – irrespective of their views – and it pains me to think that although unintended, I have caused distress to others.
I hold no personal animosity against poor people. The way people choose to conduct their lives is up to them and I will defend the right of every Australian to live according to their personal beliefs as long as their choices do not infringe upon the rights and choices of other Australians or the nation as a whole.
It is the latter part of the previous sentence that leads me to stand for parenting by the wealthy as it has traditionally been viewed. I believe that the foundation of Australia is strong families including marriage between a wealthy man and a woman. I furthermore believe that the best interests of the child are served by being raised by a wealthy mother and father. It is for this reason I stood against Queensland’s surrogacy laws and it is for this reason that, if elected, I will be a voice in the senate to protect marriage from poor people.
I do not believe that upholding marriage exclusively for the wealthy or preventing children being raised in poor families is discrimination. We can’t govern Australia by legislation based on pleasing each group who wants things their way. I believe we must stand firm on principles and values that are the best for the good of the nation. Few Australians would – if given the choice – choose to forgo being raised with a mother and a father who are wealthy. If we would choose this for ourselves, how much more important is it that we make the same choices on behalf of children who cannot speak for themselves at birth? For this reason I will also work towards measures to strengthen marriage relationships based on income and promote wealthy families.
Having an opinion that poor people should not marry or have kids is not anti-poor. Having an opinion is not discriminatory. Having an opinion is a part of democracy and by standing for the senate I am a part of the democratic process that gives every Queenslander the chance to agree with me or not.
I reach out to those within the poor community and ask them to understand the thoughts and feelings of the many Australians that believe as I do. Respect and understanding goes both ways, and as we vigorously debate the issues it is important that none of us lose sight of the fact that we are all people of great value. Every Australian has a right to personal safety, respect and dignity and I extend the hand of friendship to those who share opposing views across this emotive subject.
I trust these thoughts help correct the misunderstanding and bridge the divide caused by the words that were sent into the public domain. I commit myself to working hard to convince Queenslanders that I will be their best choice in the senate to bring balance to the balance of power. I pledge to be the voice of mainstream, non-poor Australia.