Saturday 9 September 2017
Have you ever written something and felt that you hadn’t finished what you intended to say? Such was the case after I had completed my Friday post; “Out of gas, steam, and no energy for gay marriage.” When I reread it later it seemed empty of conclusion.
Now that the High Court has given its approval for the Marriage Equality Survey to go ahead, what are the ramifications? What does it mean for the leaders involved? Both will be hoping for a huge response. Both will be trying to occupy the moral high ground.
Now let’s look at the “what ifs”
What if it’s a huge win for the “Yes” camp.’’ A large “yes” vote might be interpreted as a confirmation of what the polling companies have been telling us for years. For his part, Bill Shorten will, with some degree of entitlement, tell the nation that we have paid $122 million to corroborate something we already knew: That a vote in the Parliament could have been taken ages ago and we wouldn’t have had to go through all this. Turnbull will say it was the right thing to do but he can only ever claim a hollow victory.
People like me will also see a large “yes” vote as one of no confidence in the Government.
If Shorten campaigns harder than Turnbull then he will rightly claim the moral high ground. The public already know that had Turnbull had the intestinal fortitude then the whole thing would have been done and dusted long ago. They know he is captive to extremists in his party.
Turnbull has already used the excuse that he will be busy with other matters and won’t be able to give it a lot of time. But he is caught between a rock and a hard place. He cannot campaign hard on something he really believes in lest it upset those who control him in the National Party. What a conundrum.
What if the “Yes” camp just gets over the line. Bill Shorten will claim that the Government really made a mess of the whole thing. Their negativity was difficult to overcome, and their lack of a bipartisan approach was a large factor. He can claim that the system of voting disenfranchised a lot of young people.
Others like me will see it as a protest against the Government and its governance.
What if the “No” camp has a huge win? It is the least likely and would be a huge surprise. Turnbull would claim it’s the end of the matter. The Abbotts of this world would rejoice while the people behind the “yes” vote redouble their efforts. Shorten would say that the survey was flawed and he would take Marriage Equality into the next election. Remember this is not a referendum. It’s something worse than a plebiscite. The Coalition would be without a policy.
What if the “No” camp has a close victory? It would be inconclusive and each side would claim a doubtful victory. It would also remain unresolved. Shorten would be left with a policy to take to the election and Turnbull would be once again be high and dry without one.
Of course the campaigns have not begun in earnest and the Government is frantically running around trying to set some rules.
There are many unknowns. How many will vote? Will they be bothered? How will the young find a post box? Will it be a protest against the government? What about the disenfranchised? Will everyone respect the rules? Will they stick to the question or counter the “yes” vote by bringing in irrelevant arguments?
As the instigator of this survey and despite being warned about the possible social consequences of conflict between the two groups, Malcolm Turnbull can be expected to cop the flack for any clashes that occur. You were warned.
Eric Abetz, a campaigner for the “no” vote, on 7.30 Thursday night curiously advanced arguments that nothing to do with whether two people of the same sex should be allowed to enter a secular marriage.
He suggested that marriage equality could subsequently lead to people marrying the Harbour Bridge because “why not?” It is a slippery slope argument with an actual slope. Pardon the joke.
Kevin Andrews puts forward this argument:
“I have an affectionate relationship with my cycling mates, we go cycling on the weekend,” he said, “But that’s not marriage.”
Tony Abbott, Australia;s best ever “opposer” says that people should oppose same-sex marriage if they don’t like political correctness.
Then there is the dodger Lyle Shelton:
“Won’t someone think of the children?”
“The idea that kids need the active involvement of a father and a mother to be “normal” is not borne out by data, or in the many same-sex and single-parent families we already have, but it remains powerful after centuries of being the social norm.”
Whilst people are entitled to their views it is incumbent on them to be truthful and just. As I have said in many blogs. This is as simple as one group of people being as equal as another.
Trying to distill it into other complicated issues is wrong. There was a time when the word “gay” was used as a slur against people who were different. Now it is a word of proud identity and equality.
There are males in my life whom I can say I really love because their goodness transcends self, and manifests itself in empathy towards others. To love someone of the same sex is as normal as loving someone of the opposite sex because love has no gender. Indeed, love is when there is an irresistible urge for the need of the affection of another and the irresistability is of its nature mutual. Gender has nothing to do with it.
In March of next year my wife and I will celebrate 50 years of marriage. It’s an institution that continues to survive despite its poor treatment. Having people of the same sex marry can only enhance and strengthen it. MAYBE EVEN GIVE IT SOME CREDIBILITY.
My thought for the day
“There is a need to be at the heart of one’s own life. Not on the fringe of someone else’s.”
PS: VOTE “YES”.