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Australia's 'Respectful Debate' On Same-Sex Marriage Gets Muddier By The Day

There's nothing decent about any of this.

28/09/2017 3:27 PM AEST | Updated 28/09/2017 3:58 PM AEST
Fairfax/Getty

Somehow a vote on people's right to marry who they love has been dragged into even more desperate territory, with two Liberal MPs arguing over a rap song at a football game.

And this debate was supposed to be "respectful".

Remember it's just the third week since the postal vote began. There are six weeks to go.

This week began with the 'yes' campaign denounced over a text message, while on Thursday 'no' advocate Cory Bernardi confirmed to Fairfax he'll robo-call a million households in what he terms "non invasive" market research.

If you're trying to keep a straight face don't bother.

Former prime minister Tony Abbott, who prides himself as a free speech champion, led the charge to ban Macklemore from singing 'Same Love' -- a song dedicated to equality -- at the AFL grand final.

"Footy fans shouldn't be subjected to a politicised grand final, sport is sport," tweeted the man who forced the nation into making a decision on other people's lives.

Attorney General George Brandis was having none of it.

"I thought Mr Abbott believed in freedom of speech," the 'yes' supporter said.

Another surprisingly powerful force for the 'yes' campaign is Tony Abbott's daughter, Frances. Last week she posted on Instagram her decision to vote for marriage equality, and on Monday appeared in a marriage equality ad talking about her close relationship with her aunt, Christine Forster.

On Thursday she weighed on on the Macklemore debate.

Pause to think about that for a second. The daughter of a former prime minister commented on an ugly public spat between politicians, a song and a football game.

Abbott also reportedly gee'd up some young 'no' campaigners by telling them they were standing up for decency, and that whatever the outcome of the vote they may represent the awakening of the "sleeping giant of Australian decency".

There's nothing decent about any of this.

Abbott's prominent 'no' stablemate, Lyle Shelton is dragging decency through the mud by spreading vile online propaganda.

And then there is the Church, whose representatives continue to diligently prove precisely how out of touch they are

Brisbane's Archbishop Mark Coleridge said same-sex couples was like "the love of friends and not suitable for marriage.

The purpose of all this? To muddy the trenches of the 'respectful debate' gripping the country.

And on the ground its getting very dirty indeed.

Homes-flying the rainbow flag have been attacked, while "vote no to fags" and swastikas have been scrawled on trains. Even a a small dog became a target, with a man reportedly kicking an "equality" bandana wearing pup while shouting homophobic slurs in a Melbourne Park.

A transgender teenager in Hobart was allegedly assaulted last week, a day after former Abbott was headbutted by an anarchist DJ.

And let's not forget that mental health groups were compelled to warn Australians about the harm that marriage inequality brings to the LGBTQ community. Indeed, last week a report found that up to 3000 suicide attempts each year could be avoided if same-sex marriage is legalised.

And that's just the high school students.

There are less than six weeks left of the same-sex marriage survey, with the Australian Bureau of Statistics to deliver the results on November 15.

And to think this would be a respectful debate about equal rights.

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