Friday, August 13, 2010

The Gay Marriage Debate & Love of Christians in Australia

Apparently some 57% of Australians polled, supported the legalization of gay marriage in 2007. That number is probably higher in 2010.

So why is it that on this particular issue Australia is lagging so far behind the rest of the world? What does it say about Gen X Australia that our first female, atheist, de-facto partnered Prime Minister, Julia Gillard staunchly opposes gay marriage and that, worse yet, Australia's Minister for Climate Change, who is both an out lesbian and a member of the Labor Party is more interested in maintaining the status quo and going along with caucus than using her ministerial position to promote gay and lesbian rights and is actually also on the record as - would you believe it - opposing gay marriage: a position about which Senator Bob Brown, leader of the Australian Greens, and also an out gay man, rightly expressed his horror.

If you think about it, Bob Brown is right to be outraged. As we all should be. Every Aussie, gay or straight. How on earth can an openly lesbian Cabinet minister who also happens to be of Asian descent possibly oppose the legalisation of gay marriage? 

It's as if we went back to the 1967 referendum which gave indigenous people the right to citizenship and we had an Aboriginal minister saying they opposed the recognition of Aborigines as people because supporting Labor Caucus was more important than fighting for human rights. Or if we went back to White Australia days and Ms. Wong supported excluding Asians from migration to this country because supporting Labor caucus was more important than justice and equality.

It's really that bad!

The implications from the ALP for gay people are profoundly disturbing and I can't believe Ms. Wong's cynical, thoughtless and heartless stance has not been pounced upon and made into much more of an issue in this very dour campaign by a media much, much more interested in that bitter old fart, Mark bloody Latham (*massive yawn*).

The Chaser Team lampooned Minister Wong well on their Yes We Canberra! show on Thursday:

So what's going on here really? Why, when well more than 50% of Australians actually support gay marriage do Left wing social "progressives" like Julia Gillard and Penny Wong, herself a lesbian for God's sake, feel the need to speak out against it?

I have a feeling that it shows how much traction the Christian vote has managed to gain, in the wake of a Gen X electorate which seemingly ostensibly has no obvious values or monumental ideologies left. The voice of the Christian Right is getting louder and louder in Australia. More importantly, this voice tends to emanate from blue-collar, outer suburban marginal electorates which political parties of both persuasions desperately need to win over in order to win elections.

In other words it doesn't matter what 80% of Australians think, because we all live in "safe seats" whose outcome is decided and whose opinions are therefore irrelevant to the outcome of the election. It's those 20% of Australians who live in marginal seats whose voices really count and MPs will do anything - even sell their soul to Satan, as Wong so obviously has - to gain the vote.

It has nothing to with principles, or values, or standing for anything any more because the Parties feel that this generation of voters don't have any of these - except for the Christians. And therefore it is safer to pander to those Christians and keep gay marriage illegal while removing all other forms of discrimination in order to keep everyone happy. Well, grumbling, grudgingly quiet anyway.

What's really so sad about this is that in many areas, Australia used to be a world leader. For example, it was one of the first countries to give women the right to vote. One of the first to grant workers a decent minimum wage. Australia used to be socially progressive. Of course it wasn't quite as progressive when it came to recognizing that Aborigines were Australian citizens - that took until 1967, when Australians at a national referendum overwhelmingly denounced their cowardly elected leaders and said what's what. 

Maybe this is another issue that will in the end need to be decided by a referendum, where the Churches and the Australian Christian Lobby and countless petty minor interest groups can't sway political opinion. This is an issue where the Australian people should make up their own minds - surely we are mature enough to be trusted to make the right choice? Then, whatever the result, the government can simply say "the people have spoken." What stronger mandate could you ask for anyway?

But noooooooo....."leaders" like Gillard and Wong just do not have the guts. In this cynical 2010 election campaign it's the Cardinals, and the Evangelists, and the Bishops and the Marginal Seats which decide what's best for the rest of us.

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