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Abbott says SSM is a deeply personal issue … but you can’t have a free vote. What?

Two notable outcomes resulted from the Coalition’s six and a half hour joint party room meeting called to debate the legalising of same-sex marriage last night. The obvious outcome is that there will be no legal same-sex marriage on Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s watch, and that should surprise no one, remembering how Abbott once famously remarked that he felt “threatened” by gays.

The second is that the Liberal party is not a party that is supportive of the free vote for its members, contrary to decades of received wisdom on the noble nature and purpose of core liberal ideology. The Liberal party is actually driven entirely by right-wing ideology, much of which is firmly grounded in bizarre religious beliefs that have no basis in reality, and do not withstand the most rudimentary logical and rational enquiry.

It’s my personal opinion that the State has no place in anybody’s bedroom. Neither am I particularly enamoured of the inherently exclusionary institution of heterosexual marriage, and have witnessed many crimes committed under its state-sanctioned umbrella.

That being said, when participation in an institution is a legal hallmark of belonging in a culture, it is clearly an aggressive and hostile act to deny that sense of legal belonging to any social group, purely on the basis of sexual orientation. In other words, if LGBTI people wish to throw in their lot with the heterosexuals and commit to the exclusivity of the institution of marriage, it is ridiculous for any government to go to this much trouble to stop them.

Now we are faced with the ludicrously unnecessary and immensely expensive prospect of a referendum on the subject after the next election, should the LNP win government. Unlike Ireland, it is not necessary for us to have a referendum to change the Constitution (see 1.2.3.) on the definition of marriage and who may and may not enter into that state. Indeed, when John Howard was Prime Minister in 2004, he thought the Constitution so open to interpretation he found it necessary to amend the Marriage Act to define marriage as an event that could take place only between a man and a woman.

Deeply conservative ideological forces are fighting an increasingly desperate and losing battle to control society’s narrative. According to polling, the majority of Australians are at ease with the concept of same-sex marriage, a fact Prime Minister Abbott steadfastly chooses to ignore. This is a ridiculous, unnecessary and anachronistic debate.

Abbott continues to insist that same-sex marriage is “a very personal issue.” This apparently contradicts his refusal to permit a free vote, and yet again, we see the trickery of this profoundly duplicitous Prime Minister as on the one hand he concedes the deeply personal nature of the matter, while simultaneously denying every MP the right to address it in accordance with their “deeply personal” feelings.

In so doing, he denies the Australian public the right to live according to our “deeply personal” opinions on same-sex marriage in pursuit, yet again, of his ideological, religious, and in this particular case, “deeply personal” sexual prejudices.

This article was first published on No Place For Sheep.


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  1. Peter F

    I love the thought that he felt ‘threatened’ – it presupposes that someone might find him attractive.

  2. jimhaz

    [Deeply conservative ideological forces are fighting an increasingly desperate and losing battle to control society’s narrative]

    They are not losing. They have installed extreme right whingers in many once open and reasonable organisations. Unless the ALP clears them out once elected, they will continue causing regressionist havoc with or without the LNP in power.

  3. kerri

    Maybe Warren Entsch should push for the 2004 Howard amendment to the marriage act to be enforced in full?
    Given the amendment states that marriage shall be “…. entered into voluntarily and FOR LIFE ” ( my caps )
    Why should the “1 man and 1 woman” part be singled out to remain when the “for life” proscription is breached on a daily basis??

  4. jimhaz


    Nah, it was not that kind of being threatened, he was threatened by his own sexuality. When one is “macho-polarised” and power obsessed like him they develop a platonic sort of love of other men, which although it mainly an attraction to power can turn into sexuality in certain conditions. We see this in jails apparently. He is threatened by the possibility of turning even just in relation to “occasional thoughts” as it is against his religion/machoism and would destroy him. This would have been very strong when young and when he was training for priesthood and as a power seeker he pumped up the importance in his mind of the need to resist “going there”.

    That’s my guess for his homophobia.

  5. kizhmet

    This issue may be deeply personal. However, the idiots in government represent their CONSTITUENTS – how are they representing their electorate if over 65% of the popoulation are in favour of SSM? So much for democracy!

  6. Lee

    Eric Abetz says that gay men don’t want to get married. Just look at Dolce and Gabbana. Lots of hetero couples don’t want to get married either. Therefore we should ban all marriage.

  7. Harquebus

    Good. Now we can move on from this distraction and worry about the survival of our species.
    No marriage equality on a planet devoid of human beings.

  8. Graeme Henchel

    If Abbott’s homophobic trickery hastens or ensures his and his parties demise at the next election it ( marriage equality ) will be worth the wait. If the Australian public continues to support this liar then they will get the government they deserve.

  9. M-R

    I’m certainly not against it; but I do wonder what the attraction is. I mean, heteros are walking away from marriage; so why are … non-heteros ( ! ) wanting to embrace it ? – can’t get my head around it.
    @Graeme Henchel: we’re supposed to already have the guvmint we deserve, aren’t we ? – even though I wouldn’t vote LNP if it would mean saving me from the Inquisition ! (Come to think of it, that’s likely …)

  10. Matters Not.

    are faced with the ludicrously unnecessary and immensely expensive prospect of a referendum on the subject after the next election

    Not going to happen. Won’t happen if Shorten wins, given his commitment to introducing a ‘bill’ within 100 days. Won’t happen if Abbott wins because he will claim that his victory is an ‘endorsement’ of his position re SSM.


    While Abbott is driving the bus it will never happen. It will have to be over his politically ‘dead body’. An outcome most likely to be delivered by his ‘own’.

    Probably soon after the Canning by-election.

  11. Möbius Ecko

    Lee I believe the figure is one in four heterosexuals never get married out of choice. I read that stat a long time ago so it may have changed since.

    If you think on the fact that 25% of heterosexuals who can get married but out of choice never do, and the fact that marriages break down, some who never marry again and those remaining married but separated in the home or outside of it you are not far wrong in questioning why have marriage at all.

  12. virtualnonsense

    I would like to know the reasons why those who are opposed to SSM are opposed to it. What exactly are they afraid of? What do they think will happen if/when SSM is approved?

    “…when participation in an institution is a legal hallmark of belonging in a culture, it is clearly an aggressive and hostile act to deny that sense of legal belonging to any social group, purely on the basis of sexual orientation. …”

    Why do the opponents want to deny this sense of belonging?

  13. Lee

    It’s all part of the LNP divide-and-conquer strategy. Everyone has to be divided into two groups, with one group made to feel like they don’t belong. Lifters & leaners, Christians & Muslims, gay & straight, men & women, etc.

  14. diannaart

    Abbott is indeed threatened by SSM – LBGTI people do not fit his narrow world of men being men, women knowing their place and sheep remain nervous.

    Consider that men who react so defensively towards gays are very traditional in their views of women – sure some may claim they love (to f*ck) women – but they don’t really like/respect women. No doubt many men who protest ‘too loudly’ may well be closet gays themselves, however, I believe that the majority of these ‘manly-men’ are equally threatened by women and anyone who exhibits so-called feminine traits are not to be trusted.

  15. Kaye Lee

    kerri makes an interesting point. Howard’s amendment says “marriage means the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.” The “for life” part and “to the exclusion of all others” are unenforceable so why should the man and woman part be considered legally enforceable?

  16. corvus boreus

    Marriage should mean ‘the voluntary union of two informed adult human beings, until one or both opt out (for whatever reason/s)’.

  17. Florence nee Fedup

    Listen to 7 10 news. Sorry Tony, SSM is long way from over. All say disarray in government.

  18. Florence nee Fedup

    Has anyone worked out what it was that Abbott actually said last night. Seem Abbott took advice from some far right Christian group on his actions yesterday. Was not normal Liberal Party procedure. Issues normally thrashed out in individual party room, then taken to joint sitting. Tanya could be correct. Some might cross the floor. Turnbull might decide, if he can’t have the job, Abbott won’t either. Especially if he believes there is no way Abbott can win next election. Question is, would he or others open the door for Morrison.

  19. Florence nee Fedup

    Only personal if one wants to marry same sex party. Nothing to do with everyone else. They are not compelled to marry, let alone marry same sex. Not about religion or churches.

  20. Florence nee Fedup

    Mobius, I am one that found no need for marriage. Silly me ignore that and married. Then and now, feel one can and does make commitment without church or anyone else being involved. Am aware, others find marriage important.

    It is not wanting to marry that is important, it is having the choice to do so. I like the French idea, where state and church marriages are separated. Marry by state officials, follow by church if that is your choice.

    De facto and common-law marriages carry equal weight.

    Who really believes marriages are for length of natural life. Rare these days.

  21. Ricardo29

    Abbott’s decision on a referendum over SSM is not only cynical, it’s cowardly.
    Cynical because he knows Referenda are non binding, can be manipulated in the framing of the question (eg the Republic) and have a history of predominant failure.
    Cowardly because we elect governments to govern and expect leaders to lead (neither of which the Abbott LNP do very well) and on this issue especially we are not getting it from either.
    If SSM is deemed an issue worthy of taking to the people, why not other issues: sending defence forces (yep, that’s what we call them) to Iraq again; allowing US Forces to base here; sending Asylum Seekers to Cambodia, or indeed to Manus or Nauru; should subsidies for fossil fuel be removed from all industries and the list could go on. Indeed why have a government at all. Why not just put every issue to the people? Of course that is a nonsense, we know why we have Goverments (see above) and I return to my original point about cynicism and cowardice. This is only the latest manifestation of this attitude and a further demonstration of why we need to get rid of Abbott and his cabal.

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