In amongst the impassioned pleas for reason in the Submissions to the Senate Committee into the Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2010, are some truly embarrassing indictments on the weakness of the anti-equality case.
Some of the most humiliatingly stupid are numbers 11, 12, 17, 20, 21, 22, 42 and 43, but since those people were too gutless to put their names to their demands that other Australians be denied the rights they enjoy*, I’m not going to waste any further time on them them and instead address the bigots who were up to putting their names to their hateful and confused screeds.
I’m going to look at the best efforts the anti-equality campaign can muster in its last, desperate efforts to hold back the tide. It might seem like a depressing project – but it’s actually cause for cheer. Because if these are the best they can manage, even wavering MPs are going to start realising just how indefensible the ongoing discrimination really is.
Let’s start this series with #31, WP Gadsby.
One must ask whether the Marriage Act 1961 discriminates against what is wrong. I stand with centuries of human tradition and practice which says that the particular institution of marriage refers to a life-long commitment to a shared life between one man and one woman. Sexual relations outside this commitment are immoral. If this ancient tradition is wrong, then those advocating ‘marriage equality‛ need to prove it, and prove it conclusively.
So, to clarify, the onus is ON THEM. It’s not on those of us supporting a particular form of government discrimination against a practice on the basis that it’s justified because of some particular harm that practice would cause. That would be unfair, because pretty much all the claims we make about “harm” from same sex couples marrying are incredibly flimsy. No, the onus must be on those who say it’s wrong for us to say it’s wrong. They must rule out every possible argument we could come up with, even the really good ones we’re sure must exist but we’ve been unable to think of.
Also, who are they to say we’re wrong to say they’re wrong to say we’re wrong to say they’re wrong? They must prove beyond reasonable doubt that we’re wrong to say they’re wrong to say we’re wrong to say they’re wrong to say we’re wrong.
In summary: they must disprove an imaginary case we haven’t been able to put ourselves. Because logic.
If non-discrimination is the goal, then why limit it to these categories? For instance, the proverb says that a dog is a man’s best friend. If I love my dog, and she loves me, why should we not marry? Because she’s a bitch? That is no answer, because ‘speciesism’ is also discriminatory – against me, and against my dog. It denies us the ‘right’ to express our love in a married relationship.
If WP has a super-genius dog capable of human adult understanding and capable of clearly communicating consent to complex propositions like marriage, then WHY NOT INDEED. Why is the media not knocking down WP’s door to speak with this UNPRECEDENTED SUPER DOG?
The alternative, that WP has an ordinary dog and either doesn’t grasp the difference between a domestic animal and an adult, or does but is prepared to pretend to the Senate that s/he doesn’t, is clearly absurd.
Then WP proceeds to get very confused about who in an Inquiry is asking questions of whom:
Furthermore, why limit marriage to a partnership between two people (Sections 5.1 and 46.1)? Is that not also ‘discriminatory’? Why not authorize polyamory, with multiple partners in all kinds of mixes? On what moral basis should such groups be denied the opportunity to marry?
And why limit all this to adults? Is that not also discriminatory? Should not children also have the right to marry? (Should we legitimize paedophilia? And if not, why not?)
1. Because nobody’s put forward a polygamous proposal that doesn’t have serious flaws to it, like how you regulate the addition or removal of partners when some agree and some don’t, how you regulate divorce, how you protect against abuse and so on. 2. Yes, it’s discriminatory but for a good reason (see 1). 3. See 1. 4. None. Just a practical one. 5. Because only adults have the mental ability and maturity to consent. 6. Yes, but for a good reason (see 5). 7. No, because they can’t consent. 8. No, because children can’t consent.
Having completely confused the equality argument – not that government discrimination is automatically wrong, but that governments should only discriminate where the harm of not doing so is sufficient to outweigh the general presumption in favour of equality – WP then finishes with a series of non-sequiturs:
This proposed amendment purports to remove ‘all discriminatory references’ from the Marriage Act 1961, but it cannot do so without itself discriminating, and failing in its purpose to remove ‚all discriminatory references‛ from the Act. It should therefore be rejected not only as immoral, but also as illogical.
If you stop discriminating where there’s no good reason for it, then you’ll also have to stop discriminating where there is! Because collapse of society!
WP Gadsby, I pity your grandkids. One day they’ll find that screed online, and really hope there was another WP Gadsby who wasn’t, in 2012, long after the stupidity of those arguments had been long-since made very apparent, still a smart-arse advocate for pointless, nasty discrimination against his or her fellow Australians.
I’m glad for them you only used your initials.
*Yeah, I know I blogged anonymously at one stage. I didn’t expect the Senate to be considering my blog in relation to whether it should take deny someone the basic rights I enjoy.