- THE AUSTRALIAN
- Gary Johns, Brisbane
A winter election beckons and attitudes harden. No more so than those of gay marriage advocates.
It seems that the mardi gras crowd has a darker side.
Senator Richard Di Natale has called for Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to disendorse George Christensen MP for his opposition to the Safe Schools program. This smacks of hubris.
In its pastoral letter, “Don’t Mess With Marriage”, the Australian Catholic Bishops reminded readers that “every man, woman and child has great dignity and worth”. Federal Greens candidate, and same-sex marriage advocate, Martine Delaney hauled Archbishop of Hobart Julian Porteous before the Tasmanian anti-discrimination commission to justify his view on marriage. This smacks of hubris.
Marriage Alliance, a grassroots organisation whose aim is to preserve the definition of marriage, booked television advertisements late last year with all channels. The commercial standards regulator passed the advertisements. They were booked and paid for.
Channel 9 and Foxtel ran them. Channel 7 and 10 pulled them at the last minute, with no formal reason given. Following two complaints, the Australian Communications and Media Authority determined the advertisements were not in breach of the television codes of practice. The actions of Channels 7 and 10 smack of hubris.
In August last year, 47 indigenous leaders signed a Bark petition, presented to the parliament, saying that marriage is sacred, and that it is an affront to their ancient culture to redefine it. A full-page advertisement in The Australian followed, but there was no coverage in any other media. This action by other media smacks of hubris.
The Safe Schools Do Better campaign by the Safe Schools Coalition has been handed a yellow card by the federal government. The campaign quoted research that 10 per cent of schoolchildren are same-sex attracted and 4 per cent are gender diverse or transsexual.
In 2014, for the first time, the Australian Bureau of Statistics asked people about their sexual orientation. Three per cent identified as gay, lesbian or “other”.
Which is not to say that a greater number of people do not experiment.
Almost 9 per cent of men and 15 per cent of women reported either having feelings of attraction to persons of the same sex or some sexual experience with the same sex. (Smith and Badcock, Sexual Identity and Practices, 2012).
But mere experiment does not create the gender-fluid world the gay lobby asserts.
In attempting to de-normalise heterosexuality under the guise of bullying, Safe Schools went beyond its brief. That aspect of the program would more readily be achieved if teachers were more alert to bullying behaviour among students.
As for accountants PwC creatively producing estimates of the cost of the same-sex marriage plebiscite, these rational calculators might like to read the dissenting US Supreme Court judges on same-sex marriage (Obergefell v. Hodges 576 U.S. 2015).
The Supreme Court forced all Americans to accept same-sex marriage by ordering every state (over and above the 11 that had already done so) to license and recognise same-sex marriage.
Chief Justice John Roberts wrote: “Whether same-sex marriage is a good idea should be of no concern to us. Under the Constitution, judges have power to say what the law is, not what it should be.”
Justice Antonin Scalia wrote: “Until the courts put a stop to it, public debate over same-sex marriage displayed American democracy at its best. Individuals on both sides of the issue passionately, but respectfully, attempted to persuade their fellow citizens to accept their views.”
Australians should thank their lucky stars that they will have a say in this momentous plebiscite about the meaning of marriage.
When a member of the federal government in the early 1990s, I was approached by a homosexual member of the press gallery to ask if I could persuade the government to allow public servant “designated” partners, as an alternative to “married” partners, to receive death and other benefits. I lobbied the prime minister on the matter but was rebuffed.
In 2009, the Australian government amended 85 commonwealth laws (The Same-Sex Relationships [Equal Treatment in Commonwealth Laws — General Law Reform] Act 2008 and the Same-Sex Relationships [Equal Treatment in Commonwealth Laws — Superannuation] Act 2008) to eliminate discrimination against same-sex couples.
Private homosexual acts are not an offence by law in any state jurisdiction. Rest assured, there is no discrimination in law against gay people.
Gay people are free to pursue their lives, especially happiness with a life partner.
But marriage is a “hetero-normal” cultural construct based on biology.
Calling opposition to same-sex marriage homophobic is bullying. The gay community should restore dignity to the plebiscite campaign. If not, a backlash waits.