The Coalition met on Tuesday afternoon to vote on whether to grant a free vote on a private members bill supporting same sex marriage. The end result was a vote that went 66 – 33 against a conscience vote. The Prime Minister, declared that a referendum or plebiscite might be possible in the future which would allow the community to debate the issue. But the Australian people have already expressed themselves, repeatedly for years. Depending on which poll you look at 72% (Crosby-Textor) 68% (Fairfax/IPSOS) or 58% (Newspoll) support gay marriage.
Whichever way you dress it up, there really aren’t any arguments against gay marriage that aren’t founded in homophobia, or in abstract concerns over tradition that have little substance. So let’s review them.
- Think of OUR children
If we allow gay marriage then parents might have to explain to their kids about gay people
This is one of the arguments made by the Marriage Alliance, a fun-loving group who recently ran ads on Foxtel and Nine. Some who make that argument object to gay marriage because they don’t want to even compare homos and heteros. And for some, even explaining homosexuality is just… well gross. Here’s how you explain homosexuality: “Well honey, you know how you have a Mommy and a Daddy? Some kids have a Daddy and a Daddy or a Mommy and a Mommy.” There endeth the lesson.
- Think of THEIR children
Marriage is fundamentally about raising kids and gay people just aren’t suited because you need a man and a woman to do it.
It’s the same reason we insist that single mothers and fathers have their children taken away because exposure to both genders is so important. Right? Except of course we don’t. There are plenty of children who are perfectly functional, who are raised in unconventional families.
Oh, and there’s huge amounts of evidence that the children of same sex couples do fine. They do well educationally, very well socially, and grow up to be normal well-adjusted human beings. You can read a detailed study here on the Conversation. Don’t accept that? Here’s more research from the Australian Institute of Families.
- It’ll hurt marriage as an institution
What does this even mean? Seriously? Will gay marriage mean that straight people will get divorced more? Because they’re pretty good at that all on their own. Does it mean they’ll cheat more? Because, again, they’ve got that covered. Does it mean heterosexuals will get married less? Pretty sure those rates are dropping for complex economic and sociological reasons, again, already.
- Marriage is sacred
Marriage might once have been sacred (I don’t think it was, but let’s pretend), but we changed it. You know why? Because back in the day, husbands could rape their wives. Husbands controlled their wives property and could vote on their behalf. Over centuries we changed it and reformed it and introduced things like no fault divorce. Now there’s plenty of straight couples who’ve gone through multiple marriages. And that’s their business. It’s now an economic relationship and basis for raising children.
Gay people are doing that now and have been for years. And the real people who are hurt by denying the validity of gay relationships are their children. Why? Because when they meet kids at school with married parents, they have to explain why their parents aren’t married. They deserve to feel as normal as everyone else. BECAUSE. THEY. ARE.
- If we change the definition of marriage to include gays, beastiality and polygamy will be next
Let’s assume that there is a substantial community of people having sex right now with animals. Does anyone seriously think they’d want to MARRY THOSE ANIMALS. I mean, if you were getting it on with a horse would you want to INVITE YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY TO CELEBRATE YOUR LOVE? In any case, where are all these people having sex with animals? Does Corey Bernardi just have a bunch of really weird friends? The ultimate source of this logic is revulsion with gay people. A fundamental revulsion that taken to its logical extreme, is dehumanising and seeks to legitimise violence against gays.
As for polygamy, it exists in Mormonism and Islam but has never gained a foothold in Australia and there’s not a particularly strong push for it. I don’t support polygamy and I don’t think it’s particularly healthy. And if generations of Australians feel the same way, it will never generate the support that gay marriage has. If 72% of Australians support polygamy in 100 years it might be a different story but the possibility of that happening is not a logical reason to resist an entirely different form of marriage. It’s a reason to argue against polygamy.
- The Bible/insert religious text here says X about homosexuals
Are you living your life literally according to the Bible? I mean literally, in line with every single one of the many, many, ridiculous rules it stipulates? If you’re not, then you’re making choices. And that’s fine, but you then can’t blame the Bible for those choices. It’s on you, so stop shifting the responsibility and start explaining yourself. The same goes for any other religious text.
We live in a democracy where politicians are elected to implement the views of their constituents. We learned over the last few weeks that Tony Abbott was willing to ignore the public’s views on entitlements and Bronwyn Bishop’s excesses. We learned today that the Abbott government is happy to ignore the public’s views on gay rights. Except the consequence isn’t just a few thousand dollars from the tax-payers’ purse, but denies the recognition of the love of thousands of Australians. That’s pathetic.