That a minority of Australians believe a sub-section of their fellow Australians should not be allowed to exercise the very human right to marry whomever they please under the eyes of the law, will be judged in history as unkindly as history judges against inter-racial marriage. In 20 years people will think: "What a bunch of f**kwits".
And yet here we are in dear, sweet, sun-kissed, daggy-bum Australia, 2017 years since the birth of baby Jesus and a good, fat 20 years since Tasmania was the last state to repeal a law prohibiting dudes getting it on with dudes, among a coterie of nation states that do not have same-sex marriage.
It's a shit-list which includes Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Russia, Somalia, Qatar, Myanmar, Egypt and several other authoritatively-governed nations you wouldn't include among the strictest adherents to human rights.
And us. Australia.
Australia! Long known as a funny and freedom-loving avatar among peace-loving nations, a country which (outside of turning away refugees who come by sea, and out-sourcing the internment of those who did make it to guano-encrusted third-world islands) has mostly positive markers in terms of human rights.
Homosexuality was illegal in Ireland until 1993. Then Irish people said yes, of course gay people can marry, and the overcast skies of Ireland did not fall in.
Yet we do not have same-sex marriage. And the list of countries that do is like the Human League of Nice Ones. Check 'em out: Denmark, Finland, Netherlands (where it's been a thing since 2001), Portugal, Argentina, Spain, Scotland, Brazil, Sweden, Canada (oh, Canada -- so nice), Luxembourg, Uruguay and our own dear little New Zealand, which continues to laud it over Big Bru in ever-creative ways, from tourism to rugby to craft beer to custom Kombis which deliver pinot noir. And in allowing people who love one another to marry in the eyes of the law.
Ireland has same-sex marriage. Held a referendum and the "Yes" vote fairly shat it in. Homosexuality was illegal in Ireland until 1993. Then Irish people said yes, of course gay people can marry, and the overcast skies of Ireland did not fall in. Some warned they would. They did not. As they have not anywhere else same-sex marriage is legal. Like...
America! Adults of the same sex may marry in all states, even Alaska, Arizona, Kansas, North Carolina and the great state of Alabama. Following the US Supreme Court ruling in 2015, gay people in Alabama are legally entitled to purchase a machine gun and marry whomever they love.
Man or woman, intersex or queer, lesbian, transgender, however you identify, in Alabama, if your lover is old enough and a human being, you have the freedom to enter into the legally-recognised, not-overly-binding relationship called "marriage".
But in Australia, land of the fair go? How's that saying go? Yeah, nah.
At the core of the argument should be the question: "Can human beings choose their sexuality?" And anyone who answers "Yes! People can and do make a choice to be gay, why don't people who are same-sex attracted also sometimes make love with people of the opposite sex?", these folks should ask themselves would they, could they, did they choose their own sexuality?
For if you hold to the position that people make a 'choice' on whether or not to be gay, that it's a 'lifestyle choice', and that anyone who is gay could be straight if they just chose to be, then obviously you, a (presumably, for argument's sake) straight person, can choose to be homosexual.
And thus you could, were it your wont, have a romantic relationship with a person of the same sex. Because it's just a choice, right? If you're a straight person, you can choose to be gay, just as gay men apparently can do, given they are straight and then just chose to be gay. For a jape.
Now, I am not a gay man. I didn't 'come out' or otherwise declare myself 'straight'. It wasn't something I decided. I didn't have to 'admit' anything to anyone, myself included. My sexuality just was. I have only ever wanted to pash girls, and to rub against their lady lumps.
Dudes, not so much. Indeed not at all. I spend rather a lot of time with dudes, playing golf and drinking beer and betting on slow horses and such forth. And that's all good. But I have zero inclination to kiss any one of these savages. No, no... there will be none of that.
But some dudes are right into it. It's a fact. It's a fact of nature and of humanity. It's not a choice. It's just how some folks roll. And thus discriminating against people who have no choice about who they are is, of course, wrong. Capital 'W Wrong. It is against the rights of humans.
Politicians take notice of polls when it comes to a job they covet, be it their own or someone else's. Yet when gay people want to get married, a minority of politicians want the minority viewpoint maintained.
It's just basic humanity. Being nice. Being fair. A fair suck of the souvlaki. Remember the old Aussie 'fair go'? It is still a thing. Australians queue at the ATM and return our shout, and hold raffles for disabled kids to have a ramp at school. And Australians, numerous polls tell us, are overwhelmingly in favour of the fair go for same-sex people who want to get married. It's just fair. It's just right.
Politicians take notice of polls when it comes to a job they covet, be it their own or someone else's. Yet when gay people want to get married, a minority of politicians want the minority viewpoint -- the status quo -- maintained. Progress? Ireland? Pfft. Polls freakin' schmolls.
And here we are, a few days after another fun parade up Oxford Street, debating this still. Our media -- traditional, social, anti-social -- is awash with argument. You can Google up a storm of talking heads on 'Q&A', 'The Project', old mates Muzz and Bolty on Sky, Miranda and Piers in the Tele, on Facebook, Twitter. You can read thousands of columns like this one, for and against, and nod along furiously thinking: "Yes! I too believe this!"
And the overwhelming sentiment from every poll in the past few years is that the great majority of Australians want it done. They just want it done.
Yet the religious, right-wing rump of the Liberal National Party, and assorted odd-bods (it's hard to keep track so fetid the swamp), has thwarted the wishes of the majority of their fellow Australians who want gay people to be able to legally marry because it is right. For most folks it's just about fairness. The fair go.
Proponents of the plebiscite reckoned it would have "let Australians decide". But we didn't need one then and we don't need one now. Australians have decided. It is decided. And we, the people, elected politicians to represent us and to make these decisions and enact them, as they do for everything else, including the Marriage Act.
The Marriage Act has been amended before. In 2009 it recognised de facto relationships. But for same-sex marriage the LNP said we needed a $200 million plebiscite to tell us what we already knew, and which, given its non-binding status, would have only been "considered" by the politicians. It's tricky. It's like John Howard's thing with the Republic. It's disingenuous at best.
I mean, a plebiscite? A what? Before last year I'd never heard of a plebiscite. Had you? We've only had three in the past hundred years. Last one was in 1977 to decide whether to have God Save the Queen as the national anthem.
Outside referendums, our laws are decided by the elected representatives of our generally fair, name-a-better-one democracy. So, Malcolm? Bill? Stop with the bullshit. Don't bother people with this stuff. The tribe has spoken. Debate the Act. Vote on the damned thing. Leave cards to fall where they may. Do your bloody job.
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