Julia Gillard is apparently persuaded by some really dumb arguments:
Asked about her attitudes on social issues, Ms Gillard harked back to her upbringing in Adelaide and agreed that she was a “cultural traditionalist”.
“I had a pro-union, pro-Labor upbringing in a quite conservative family, in a sense of personal values. I mean we believed in lots of things that are old fashioned in the modern age,” she said. “We believed in politeness and thrift and fortitude and doing duty and diligence. These are things that were part of my upbringing. They’re part of who I am.”
…On gay marriage, Ms Gillard said: “I do find myself on the conservative side in this question.” Declaring there were “some important things from our past that need to continue to be part of our present and part of our future”, Ms Gillard said her view was that the Marriage Act – and marriage being between a man and woman – “has a special status”.
(“Politeness and thrift and fortitude and doing duty and diligence” are “conservative”, now?)
So – Gillard once again repeats the argument-by-assertion that is all the marriage discrimination advocates have left. Why does discriminating against gay people “need” to be part of our future? Why do John Howard’s 2004 changes to the Marriage Act have “a special status”?
Can Gillard give one single reason for either of those assertions? Has she ever?
Of course she hasn’t. Of course she can’t. There isn’t such a reason. This isn’t about something she rationally believes, it’s about not alienating social conservative Labor voters.
But Julia – anyone so strongly opposed to marriage equality that they’d switch to the Liberals has already done so. They’re not voting for you anyway. They’re the people who are put off by you “living in sin” with your live-in unmarried boyfriend. They’re the people who can’t stand the fact you’re an atheist. On the political spectrum, Tony Abbott will always be further away than you from the people these voters hate the most: the Greens. And, unlike you, he personally lives the social conservative dream – married, very religious, advocates anti-choice policies.
You’re not going to win them back.
All you’re doing is driving the far more numerous social progressive ALP voters to the Greens, and leaving a legacy for which you will always rightly be excoriated and condemned. Surely you can see that discrimination is the wrong side of history. Your premiership may well not be all that long – do you really want your record to be of one who used her brief position to stand for bigotry and against equality?
Sometimes people fight so long to get to “the top job” that they forget what the hell they wanted it for in the first place.
Still, it’s sad, but it’s only a temporary setback for the rest of us. If she won’t take the opportunity to do something lasting and positive on which she could always look back with pride, there’s always the next person. History is not going to wait for the Julias of this world to catch up.
UPDATE: Marriage Equality rally in Melbourne on Saturday. I won’t be able to go – I’ll be in Albury – but here’s hoping for another excellent turnout of supporters. (I expect we’ll start seeing more signs along the lines of I’VE GOT BETTER THINGS TO DO WITH MY SATURDAYS, COULD WE HURRY UP AND END THE DISCRIMINATION ALREADY?)
UPDATE #2 (23/3): Dr Kerryn Phelps kicks the Prime Minister’s unconvincing “traditional values” crap out of the park.