As I was walking home from work last night, about 8 o’clock, I passed a church hall near our house that seemed more occupied than on a usual Tuesday night. So I popped my head in the hall, and saw a both heartbreaking and heartwarming sight – a tiny gathering of older people sitting to watch a bunch of lying bigots organised by the ACL (Association of Cynical Liars) lying to them about marriage equality. (Heartwarming because there were hardly any of them, and fewer than five percent of that number would’ve been under 60.)
Yes – the ACL had organised a laughably-named “defining marriage” webcast to participating churches, far away from the eyes of anyone who could call them on their deceptions and outright lies. It was a time for introducing and reinforcing untruths before anyone could point out the reality (such as the lie about Denmark forcing churches to marry gay people), a time for presenting slick, vaguely plausible-sounding retorts to standard equality arguments (like the response to “but what about all the childless marriages” being some very fast talking indeed) but without anyone present to puncture the misleading edifice.
I sat in for a little while, until my grumbling stomach made postponing dinner any longer inconceivable, and observed the following, captured on the #aclpropaganda hashtag on twitter:
- General rambling about how great sex (titter) and marriage are, with the implication being that gays having either would somehow take them away from Christians.
- See, they can’t be homophobic because some of their friends are gays. This one woman knew a girl at school who was gay and she didn’t stone her. Another has some gay people come to her church, and sometimes she trusts them more than her heterosexual friends, so it’s okay that she’s advocating for them to be treated as second-class citizens by the law.
- John Anderson (a former Coalition deputy PM) told the ACL’s targets that they can feel okay about discriminating against gay people because in their charity work they don’t expressly exclude gay people from assistance.
- Another bloke announced that he’d been tempted to cheat on his wife, and resisted the urge, so gay people should be fine living celibate lives unable to marry the person they love.
- One of the speakers told the gag about it not being that marriage leads to men living longer, it just “makes it seem longer”. Whole church laughed uproariously, as did the audience on the webcast. Because this precious marriage thing is apparently a shared suffering for them.
- An audience member asked if gay people went to Hell. Answer given: Jesus came to enforce the Old Testament. So the ACL will be demanding a ban on cotton and the reintroduction of stoning of gays, I guess.
- Don’t worry about being called “politically incorrect” (although it’s not much of a risk because nobody on the equality side of an argument has ever used that term in the history of the universe) when you say horrible things about gays – because Jesus was “politically incorrect” too! Maybe he said horrible things about gays in his club where the gospel writers weren’t taking notes.
- Gay people are probably struggling with their sexuality and how wrong it is, so we should encourage them in that belief and help them make their lives miserable by fighting their natural sexuality.
- Apparently the polls indicating that an increasing majority of Australians believe that marriage law should no longer discriminate against gays are actually warped by “celebrities”. “Celebrities” use their mind-control mojo to trick Australians into answering “yes” to questions from pollsters about marriage equality, even though a majority of Australians really think the answer is “no” when they’re not being overrun by “celebrity” mind-rays.
- John Anderson doesn’t think “marriage equality” is inevitable because when he was at university some progressives were opposed to marriage as an institution. Therefore their long-standing opposition to discrimination will eventually crumble under the weight of their hatred for marriage that they’ve only temporarily forgotten about.
- John Anderson declared that children have the “human right” to live with their biological mother and father even though the ACL admits that 30% in Australia don’t actually live with their biological mother and father. Also the state mustn’t separate children from their parents, so John will be proposing amendments to the criminal law for states to adopt such that no parents can ever be sent to prison because their children have a “human right” to be raised by them.
- And then John Anderson completely lied to the attendant audience by claiming that we “know” that after gays are permitted to marry they’ll be forcing churches to do it because THAT’S JUST WHAT HAPPENED IN DENMARK. Even though that’s an outright lie and that’s not just what happened in Denmark at all. Gullible audience appears to buy the lie. I cannot resist gasping, out loud, “LIAR!”
- Patrick Parkinson fears that people are losing interest in marriage. Accordingly, people who are interested in marriage and qualify under every aspect of the definition except their gender must be prevented from marrying. We must encourage marriage by discouraging it. Patrick looks a little like Giles from Buffy, only mad.
- Patrick claims that marriage has “always” meant one man and one woman. He apparently hasn’t read the Old Testament all that closely.
- Patrick also claims that gay people have equality already. He apparently hasn’t noticed that the ACL is fighting pretty hard to make sure the law does not treat them equally to heterosexuals.
- John Anderson tells the audience of the importance of making that declaration, of making a formal marriage commitment to another person, instantly undermining Patrick’s claim that gays and lesbians have equality in all the important respects.
- Anderson promises his willing dupes that the state is going to stop them telling their kids that being gay is horribly wrong. That the state might stop them traumatising their gay kids early in life. The fact that there is no such plan to protect such children from their parents’ religiously-motivated abuse doesn’t alter Anderson’s conviction that he KNOWS IT’S COMING.
- One of them suggests that gay marriage will lead to polygamy. Interestingly, she appears to have completely blocked out all the polygamy in the Old Testament. Nobody with an ounce of sense is on the panel to point out that the “slippery slope” is a logical fallacy and polygamy raises issues of consent and oppression that are simply not present in gay marriage.
- The panel eventually went back to talking about the benefits of stability and marriage for children, apparently forgetting that the whole reason they were there was to stop the children being raised by gay parents enjoying those benefits.
- Another speaker declared that only heterosexual relationships could be selfless and giving, on the basis of nothing whatsoever.
You can see why they had to keep all the non-fundamentalists away.
And then today they launched a disturbing little video called “what is marriage”? The video asserts that marriage is when a “boy” and a “girl” want to have “boys and girls of their own”, thereby insulting every childless married couple (they’re not marriages, apparently) and every non-married couple with kids. And then, at 0:56, there was even a charming little endorsement of domestic violence:
These people are weird.
UPDATE (10/7): The ACL have now decided to put the video of the panel broadcast on their website.
ELSEWHERE: Traditional marriage, from the New York Daily Mirror some time between 1924 and 1963:
Marriage must never change! It’s been exactly the same since God designed it 5000 years ago!