Let us call it how it is. Prime Minister Tony Abbott is a homophobe.
Homophobe, as defined by the Merriam-Webster online dictionary:
“A person who hates or is afraid of homosexuals or treats them badly”.
Let’s just analyse that definition in the context of Abbott’s behaviour, language and actions.
This may be debateable in the context of Tony Abbott, but on the understanding that a person is an individual human, Abbott will likely scrape through. Of course, he appears to lack a moral compass, empathy, honesty, or compassion, but these are not prerequisites for being classed as a person.
Hates or is afraid of homosexuals.
This one is easy. Abbott has admitted himself that he is threatened by homosexuals. He believes that anything gay should be, you know, kept private, and not spoken about. He prefers a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy on same sex love. He believes that homosexuality threatens the ‘right order of things’. Because everyone knows that the ‘right order of things’ relates to exactly which sexual organ goes where, and that is all that matters when it comes to love and relationships.
Or does ‘the right order of things’ really relate to his belief that women should treat their virginity as a gift not to be given pre-marriage? Or that women should remain at home, doing the ironing, while their husbands are doing the man’s thing at work? Of course, Abbott tempers his further ‘right order’ views that a woman should not withhold sex from her husband, by clarifying that men should not demand sex.
Regardless, the whole ‘right order of things’ issue does seem to have a kind of ‘sexual focus’.
Naturally, Abbott has attempted to counter his clearly homophobic attitude with the traditional defence against any sort of socially unacceptable discrimination.
‘I have many friends who are gay’, Abbott says.
Just as the racist-in-denial declares they have many friends who are ‘black’. The admitted bigotry only extends to those who aren’t friends, although Abbott is clearly happy for his friends to be treated as second class citizens when it comes to marriage equality.
Abbott’s language also provides a clue as to the depth of his fear of the homosexual lifestyle. In 2010, he reportedly told Tony Windsor that he would do anything to be Prime Minister, except ‘sell his arse’. He will do anything. Anything at all. Except compromise the sanctity of his rear. Of course this is just a standard saying, one of those commonly heard phrases that no one should take personally – just like calling a person ‘gay’ as an insult. Oh. Right.
Treats them badly.
Abbott has been loud and clear on his personal fear of people of same sex orientation. But up until this point, his personal view has not been forced onto the rest of the nation.
But now it has.
Abbott, while declaring to the Coalition that marriage equality is a ‘deeply personal’ issue, has forced his own ideological beliefs onto the rest of his party by refusing a conscience vote on same sex marriage legislation. As a result he has almost certainly quashed the likelihood of same sex marriage being legalised any time soon.
And how did he do this? By tricky, slippery means, called out by Education Minister, Christopher Pyne, as something akin to ‘branch stacking’. When Pyne is the voice of honesty, transparency and fairness in Government, there is a serious problem.
Same sex couples already have the same legal rights as married couples. Legalising same sex marriage will simply have the effect of affording all couples acceptance in the community and place them on an equal standing with every other family. All mums and dads can be married. All children have the opportunity to grow up in a nationally recognised institution if their parents so wish. All couples can stand before family and friends and say ‘I love you’, with perhaps a ring that is the symbol of a legally binding relationship. Marriage.
But no. Abbott doesn’t want that for gay people.
And he has yet to provide even the remotest acceptable reason why. Why would he force his personal ideology on the rest of the nation? A nation that has majority support for marriage equality?
Abbott has been accused of misogyny, of being sexist, of having a ‘woman problem’. But perhaps Abbott is just obsessed with sexuality. He is a man who clearly struggles to keep sexuality and physical attractiveness out of politics.
He described a female Liberal Party candidate as having ‘sex appeal’.
‘I’m the guy with the not-bad looking daughters’, he told the nation.
‘A bit of full body contact never hurt anyone’, Abbott happily told a bunch of teenage netballers.
‘You’d be the most popular girl in the place, wouldn’t you’? he famously asked a female utility worker.
And who can forget that wink and smirk when confronted by the angry pensioner who worked on an adult sex line to make ends meet.
Abbott has a penchant for prancing around in the most revealing of sportswear. Skin tight lycra, nifty red speedos, and tight running pants. Does he see himself as so insanely attractive that if same sex marriage was legalised he would be inundated with proposals? No one is asking Tony to be gay. Or even to sell his arse.
All Australians want is equality.
If anything is to come from this, at least we know this is a rare occasion when Tony is actually being honest. Even if it does ensure Australia’s same sex couples are continued to be treated as second class citizens.