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The question should be “Will you marry me?” not “Can you marry me?”

On the 16 September 2015 the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee reported on an inquiry into “The matter of a popular vote, in the form of a plebiscite or referendum, on the matter of marriage in Australia”. The committee took submissions from the public and received 77 submissions that complied with the terms of reference. The Committee issued one recommendation:

“…that a bill to amend the definition of marriage in the Marriage Act 1961 to allow for the marriage between two people regardless of their sex is introduced into the Parliament as a matter of urgency, with all parliamentarians being allowed a conscience vote.”

This recommendation was released two days after the deposal of former Prime Minister, Tony Abbott. Given Abbott’s demonstrated contempt for Senate committee recommendations in the past, it was sure to be ignored had he remained leader. However there was hope that the new Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, being previously a vocal supporter of a conscience vote for marriage equality, would act on the recommendation and put the matter to an end.

It seems like Turnbull is determined to go down the same path as Abbott. The Coalition is still committed to a plebiscite, wasting millions of dollars in the process, and running the real risk of igniting anti-gay sentiment in the community.

It is disappointing but not surprising the lengths the Coalition Government is going to, to ensure that same-sex couples and families continue to be discriminated against. It seems absurd that a Senate inquiry was required to begin with, to decide on something as basic as ensuring equal rights for all Australians.

It is also disappointing that despite the findings of an unnecessary Senate References Committee, a plebiscite is still being pursued for marriage equality. It seems absurd that an expensive opinion poll, involving the entire voting population of Australia is required to determine whether a consenting, adult couple may have the same rights as every other couple in their own personal business – that of whether or not they may marry, simply because of the gender of their partner.

It also seems absurd that Constitutional changes are still being considered. The High Court has already determined that ‘marriage’ may include same sex marriage. The only possible desired result is to institutionally embed discrimination into the governing document of our nation.

People do not choose to be gay, no more than they choose to be left handed. Some of the loud opponents of equality state that the nation should not change the definition of marriage based on a minority. This is a particularly cruel way to view the debate and demonstrates a clear intention to maintain discrimination and inequality based on a narrow, unfair definition of what is ‘normal’.

Left handed people are a minority. At one point in time, left handed people were forced in school to write with their right hand.

Imagine for the moment if the parliament passed laws to ban left handed people from driving cars, working in certain industries or from adopting children? Imagine if the laws extended to red heads?

It would be ridiculously absurd. There would be righteous outrage. It is equally absurd that adult Australian couples cannot marry simply because they are attracted to the same sex.

Society – or at least most of society – has moved on from the wife being the possession of the husband. The basis of marriage is no longer about property rights or biological reproduction – if it ever was. Society has also moved on from writing with ink and feather quill, thus removing the only possible legitimate reason for discouraging the left handed among the population. Yet while left handed people are now largely free from prejudice (left handed scissors are a rarity), free from attempts to change their biology and free from personal slurs, gay people suffer some of the highest rates of discrimination, have been subjected to bizarre ‘conversion therapy’ in an attempt to ‘un-gay’ them, and are over-represented in suicide.

Legalising same sex marriage will not have the slightest impact on the value of heterosexual relationships, in the same way as a child will not be the slightest bit affected by sitting next to a left handed student in school. The arguments against same sex marriage are ideologically driven – there is simply no valid reason why same sex couples should not have the right to marry.

There should be no need for public endorsement of ‘marriage equality’ for it to be legalised; just as no public opinion poll was considered necessary for schools to stop caning students who wrote with their left hand – and no plebiscite considered necessary for former Prime Minister, John Howard to change the definition of ‘marriage’ in 2004 to expressly exclude same-sex couples. The government should stop pandering to the bigots and to ideologically driven prejudice.

Gay people are considered equal in every other area of society. The government considers gay people equal enough to pay taxes. Gay people have to pay exactly the same for parking and public transport as every other person. Gay people have to pay the same for water, electricity and other household amenities. Council’s consider gay people equal enough to pay rates on property at the same value as straight people.

Are gay people only equal when the governing bodies can make money from them?

Gay people are obliged to obey every Australian law yet are not afforded equality at law. There are no gay exemptions from paying income tax, no gay exemptions for obeying traffic regulations, no gay exemptions from exercising a duty of care to other people, and no gay exemptions from compulsory voting.

On the 23 September 2015 the Western Australian Government joined a long list of critics of the Federal Government, and questioned the need for a plebiscite, recommending instead that a conscience vote in parliament be supported. This is the simplest, easiest and most cost effective path to marriage equality and acceptance for all couples and families, no matter their sexual orientation.

It is unacceptable in 2015 that all adult Australians, no matter their sexual orientation, are not afforded the same rights at law, yet they are expected to meet all legal obligations. The question for every adult Australian in a loving committed relationship should be “Will you marry me?” not “Can you marry me?”


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  1. Chris

    Why do gays want to adopt straight traditions. Previously gays treated marriage as something for breeders only. Marriage was introduced a coupla hundreds years ago so as the aristocracy could keep track of their heirs against their children bred from mistresses or servants etc.
    Why dont gays start their own tradition regarding partnerships rather than taking on something which previously many gays had contempt.

  2. Mark Needham

    ‘sall about acceptance in the community.
    What is good for the goose and gander, is good for the goose ‘n goose, etcetera….
    Understandable, really. They see themselves as outsiders, and want to belong to the pack.
    Fair enough, when you think about it. I am sort of OK, with the fact of homosexuality, but get real “iffy” around this marriage thing.
    As The Fiddler, sang in his wonderful song. Tradition….!
    Mark Needham

  3. kathysutherland2013

    @ Mark Needham – even for those who get “iffy” about the marriage thing, surely it should not be an issue? It won’t affect you at all if gay people marry, so why worry? It’s not about you, it’s about people who want to get married.
    Or was your tongue firmly planted in your cheek and I missed it?

  4. RosemaryJ36

    Can we replace the word ‘marriage’ with the phrase ‘legal union’ – which after all is what it is?
    So then we simply repeal the existing Marriage Act, and replace it with a Legal Union Act in which a couple is no longer confined to being a man and a woman and all Legal Unions confer the same rights and responsibilities as does the existing conventional marriage.
    While we are at it, we could drop reference to husband and wife and simply refer to each as partner. This nicely highlights the equality factor which should exist in such relationships but did not in traditional marriages!

  5. j marsh

    Rosemary I agree!
    The idea of looking at this after the next election strikes me as simply a waste of money.
    Why not at the next election add one more paper marriage equality yes no or unsure
    then whoever wins the election knows the public view and can act accordingly

  6. Mark Needham

    No, I really am “iffy”.

    “It won’t affect you at all if gay people marry, so why worry? It’s not about you”

    You see, that is the bit I am worried about. After it is brought in say, and I am asked if I am married, it will then have 2 possible connotations.

    Am I heterosexual.?
    Am I homosexual.?
    You can see how the word will be changed from its previous meaning.
    If you are married, you will be possibly seen in a different manner, ie, if people do not try to correct their misconception ( pre-judgement)

    I have been married for 46 years to a marvellous woman, I would like to try and retain the “Joy of this Union” as being what it actually is, not what it could be misconstrued as.

    As I said above, TRADITION. (he yells).

    Give them the “legality” they crave, but at least save our marriage, as traditions mean it to be.
    I reckon that is a fair enough request.
    Mark Needham

  7. kathysutherland2013

    @Mark Needham, I still don’t get it. I’ve been married for 38 years. My marriage is happy and special, and I can’t see how anyone else’s marriage would affect that. I really don’t care if people feel the need to ask whether that makes me homosexual or heterosexual.

    The only time I’m asked whether I’m married is when I’m filling in forms, and I must admit I always find that question a bit intrusive!

    Tradition is overrated. People are more important.

  8. Mercurial

    OMG!!! People might think Mark Needham is homosexual!!!! can’t have that then, can we? Better restrict marriage to heteros then, so when he replies ‘yes’ to the question ‘are you married?’, everyone will know what sort of orifice he puts his willy in.

    Does that satisfy you Mark? That’s what you’re ‘iffy’ about isn’t it? The bit about where you put your willy.

    I’ve got a suggestion for you Mark. Why don’t you tattoo it on your forehead? Worked during the war, didn’t it?

  9. Mark Needham

    @mercurial. Was Grade 1 the best 8 years of your school life.
    Mark Needham

  10. Mercurial

    Chris: “Why dont (sic) gays start their own tradition regarding partnerships rather than taking on something which previously many gays had (sic) contempt.”

    Now you’re telling people how they should think? Why don’t you just butt out, and let people make up their own minds whether they want to get married eh?

    Personally I hate marriage, but I want the right to do it, just like you guys. Contempt has nothing to do with it. Equal rights has everything to do with it.

  11. Mercurial

    Really Mark, is that the best you can do? Some schoolboy humour??

  12. Mercurial

    I’ve got an even better idea, RosemaryJ36 and j marsh. Why don’t we allow everyone to do it and give it a new name. How about ‘marriage?’

    The comments here leave me truly nonplussed. We’re supposed to be a progressive nation, and everyone is hiding behind their prejudices.

  13. RosemaryJ36

    I am far from hiding behind prejudices.
    The origins of marriage are in property – after all, for centuries women were the property of men who did not want to be raising children they did not father.
    Consequently succession and inheritance were closely linked to marriage ties.
    All of that time, scientific knowledge, or lack thereof, meant that anyone whose sexuality deviated from the accepted norm was not free to ‘come out’. Sadly this state still continues in many parts of the world.
    Now that, at least in some countries and some parts of our society, people are accepted for who and what they are, then they should all be treated the same as far as having relationships in which they are secure is concerned.
    Unfortunately, past sharing of law between religion and state has fouled up the process as many fundamentalists have their roots firmly in the unscientific past.
    You can please some of the people some of the time but eventually, if we are an enlightened society, the law has to step in to draw the line in the right place – with all of us on the same side.

  14. evacripps

    I must admit, the ‘so people know if I’m hetero or gay based on my marital status’ is a new argument for ‘traditional marriage’ that I haven’t come across before. I am married and most of the times I have been asked about my marital status is on official government forms or by men enquiring about my ‘availability’. It seems that even having young children is not a deterrent to people enquiring about my personal relationship status … which I find particularly strange.

    If a person is asking someone if they are married to seek out information on their sexual orientation, you would have to wonder about the motives of that person. Why does the sexual orientation of a person matter if there is no intention to make a pass, so to speak? Once a person responds that they are married, there should be no further need to know the sexual orientation as clearly that person is not available for a date, relationship or close friendship. Conversely, even if a person says they are not married, what is to say they are not in a committed relationship? Why is it relevant to even ask unless there is an ulterior motive? Why should a person feel the need to explain themselves – “no, I’m not married but I’ve been with my partner for 20 years”. Plenty of straight people have ‘partners’ and are not married.

    If the question of marriage is simply part of the conversation or general curiosity, once again, why is sexual orientation relevant? Being straight or gay should be no impediment to a genuine friendship, therefore orientation is irrelevant if the motive for asking about marriage is innocent.

  15. Mercurial

    Thanks Eva. To put it more simply, ‘homophobia.’

  16. Mark Needham

    mercurial. “Really Mark, is that the best you can do? Some schoolboy humour??”

    Thinks, who started this…? ( besides, I thought it was funny, when it was said to me, many years ago. No sense of humour, possum)

    The conversation, was just that. A normal conversation, expressing a view. Then you, a Mercurial being, happened along with comments like:-
    * think Mark Needham is homosexual!!!! can’t have
    * The bit about where you put your willy.”
    * Why don’t you just butt out, and let people make”
    * Personally I hate marriage, but I want the right to do it
    * hiding behind their prejudices. (You are right, everyone else has prejudices.?)
    * Thanks Eva. To put it more simply, ‘homophobia.’

    Thanks for your input, Hg.
    nah, not really. you have turned a conversation into an argument.
    I know it is hard to not be “acerbic and cutting” here on these sites. But with a little effort, we can control the heart, and speak with the mind.
    Reasonably, I hope,
    Mark Needham

  17. Mark Needham

    Further to comments above, I wonder if I said that I am gay.
    Well I wonder, if that would make a difference to your opinions as to what I have written above and also your comments.
    Mark Needham

  18. kathysutherland2013

    @ Mark Needham – why on earth should it bother you if people think you’re gay, straight or whatever? Do you care what people think?

  19. Mark Needham


    Now, I didn’t actually say “What if I was a Homosexual”.

    I wrote what if, I was “Happy”. Nothing to do with my sexuality, at all.
    Now, can you see what I am saying about a word being given 2 meanings. The point is, that nowadays, Gay, is not Happy anymore.

    Now, do I care what people think?
    Well, actually Yes.

    On this site I write down words and thoughts, all come from my tiny inadequate brain.
    They are called, “thinks”
    I have yet to find a way to write it, with out thinking it first.

    You ought to see what people write back, with their “thinks”, when I write one of mine., particularly when they disagree with what I think.

    The other thing is, that it doesn’t bother me, to the point of writing a Thesis about it. I just said that I was “iffy” about it. I haven’t lost any sleep over it, put it that way.
    Mark Needham

  20. Kaye Lee

    “Previously gays treated marriage as something for breeders only.”

    I believe you will find it was the church that designated marriage (and sex) as for purposes of procreation, not gays.

    Mark Needham,

    Your comments indicate that you would be worried if people thought you were gay. That implies that you think being gay is bad. It is hard to draw any other conclusion than homophobe. Perhaps I have misunderstood you?

  21. Mercurial

    Kaye Lee, Mark Needham is not worried whether people think he’s gay, just whether they think he’s ‘iffy.’

    Like I said, tattoo it on your forehead mate.

  22. Kaye Lee

    A lot of people live their life in fear of the “other” unnecessarily. Abusing them for their ignorance rarely works to change their mind.

  23. Mark Needham

    Kaye Lee.
    Yeah, partly right.
    I do not want to be known, or thought of as a man, who partakes of stuff, that homosexual men partake of.
    It is the acts of homosexuality, that I have a distaste for.
    Is that wrong?
    Am I supposed to feel all OK, with the acts. Sorry, it is just not my cup of tea.

    Mark Needham

  24. Mark Needham

    Hg, “iffy” means that I can take it or leave it.
    You have never felt..nah..waste of time with you I think. you are just looking for an argument, not a conversation.
    Try to be nice, possum, leave the knives at home, Hey!
    Mark Needham

  25. corvus boreus

    Mark Needham,
    Presumably the acts of homosexuality that you find so distasteful would be sexual acts like anal sex and fellatio for males, and cunnilingus for females. Do you also find these same things abhorrent in the context of heterosexual relationships? (cause they happen with ‘straights’, too)
    Kinky couples of whatever gender may get up to all kinds of stuff I would not necessarily want to poke at with my stick, but this does not mean I should support denying them the right to legal recognition of their relationship status.

  26. Itsazoosue

    Mark Needham,

    “… but at least save our marriage, as traditions mean it to be. I reckon that is a fair enough request.”

    How did traditions mean marriage to be? Only between people of the same race? Until death? With the woman declaring obeyance? Only conducted in a church? For participation by virgins only? Marriage traditions have changed over time. It is up to you to imbue your own marriage with the traditions that are meaningful to you.

    Mark, has your marriage been adversely affected by the high divorce rate or the prevalence of domestic violence? What about mail-order brides? Quickie Vegas weddings? If these things that undermine the sanctity of marriage do not affect your own, why do you assume that same-sex marriage will?

    I am bemused that you think the question “Are you married?” will suddenly hold special connotation if marriage equality was granted. Stop worrying! You provided your own solution with this simple response: “I have been married for 46 years to a marvellous woman”.

    How would you feel if “tradition” deemed your loving union unworthy?

  27. Mercurial

    “It is the acts of homosexuality, that I have a distaste for.
    Is that wrong?”

    I might say they are none of your business, but that would be rude, wouldn’t it?

    I’m not spoiling for a fight, Mark, just wondering if it’s OK to say I have a distaste too – for the things I imagine you get up to in the cot. And I feel I now need to express that distaste, lest people infer that I am heterosexual, and all the baggage that goes with that. I’m sure you understand. I mean, gay sex – ick!! But wow, it’s such a turn on when you see two women having it off. Funny that.

    Either way, don’t you think it’s pretty pointless getting hung up about other people’s sexual habits? If you really knew what some people got up to in the comfort and privacy of their own bedrooms you’d probably be amazed. And no doubt disgusted. And believe me, gay men are pretty inventive when it comes to the sexual union. We can even take turns doing it!

    No not spoiling for a fight, just gobsmacked that people can be so narrow-minded in 2015.

  28. Mark Needham

    At least I now know what a “Ton of Bricks” feels like.
    Weighed down,
    Mark Needham

  29. Kaye Lee

    I personally am uncomfortable with thinking about anyone else’s sex aside from my own. I remember when thinking your parents “did it” was utterly disgusting. Other people’s sex is not my business or interest. I don’t even understand the attraction of porn. I find it degrading rather than titillating.

    My point Mark, is that what other people choose to do has no affect on you and it is discriminatory for the state to exclude citizens from something that the government feels free to legislate on.

  30. Mark Needham

    Kaye Lee. It is not about legalizing a “Gay Union”
    I said that in my very first post. People should be able to do, whatsoever they wish in the privacy of their own domain.
    It is the use of the word “marriage” that I have an “iffy” about.

    Earlier in this post I baited a question, “what if I said that I was gay.”

    kathysutherland2013September 26, 2015 at 4:45 pm

    @ Mark Needham – why on earth should it bother you if people think you’re gay, straight or whatever? Do you care what people think?

    well Kathy replied with the above. Now I meant in my question, that “what if I was happy” using the word GAY as in the old traditional meaning “HAPPY”. gay as a word, has lost its original meaning. ( someone prove to me, that it hasn’t, please…?)
    Straight away, Kathy took it as meaning, Homosexual.

    That is the same implication, of the possible misunderstanding of the word “marriage,” its double meaning, that I am “iffy” about.
    That is all that I said.
    Most of what has followed has been a misconception, of what I actually wrote. Don’t people read, something several times, to try and “see” the words that are written, not the message that our brain puts in between the lines.

    When I said “save our marriage”, I actually meant the word marriage, something that I swore to honour etecetera.

    Let ’em bloody well marry, just use another word t’asall.

    Folks I just don’t care anymore, but leave the word “married” unsullied.

    Over and Out, ( exhausted)
    Mark Needham

  31. John Fraser


    Would I be out of line if I called "Mark Needham" …. Father Mark Needham ?

    Or Pastor Mark Needham ?

    Rabbi Mark Needham ?


    Just like "marriage", they are only words appropriated by religions for their own use.

    I will leave it to others to decide why.

    Because I left religion where it belongs ………………………………. over decades and a century ago.

  32. Mark Needham

    So, corvus boreus, what is your take on the above post, by John Fraser.

    I mean after your post to me on a different topic.

    “corvus boreusSeptember 26, 2015 at 9:04 pm
    Mark Needham,
    You would rather people post online with the names they attach to all their official dealings.
    I would rather people post lucid and factual sentences, correctly structured, spelled and punctuated.
    We are both bound to often be disappointed in our stated desires.
    I try not to whinge about it too much.”

    But I think, correct me if I am wrong, this is the second chop at me…..?
    Now, cb, I hope that I have given you my bonafides before.
    Yet again, I am a retired Electrician. I am not a wordsmith, I am not an Academic, I am not a Philosopher, I am just a dumb arse 67 year old bloke, who thinks he has something to say, on occasions.

    Not suprisingly, I am yet to see a reply, about the “Gay” word and its interpretation.
    No one coming in here.
    Obviously no takers.
    Yet everyone is up me for the rent.
    Did I hit the nail on the head.?

    @John Fraser
    “Just like “marriage”, they are only words appropriated by religions for their own use.”

    That is it.
    Exactly what I am saying.
    Using a word for its own use. What ever it may mean.
    Lets leave it at that, and not give it new breath like GAY.

    Mark Needham

    That’s it. No edit.

  33. Mercurial

    Mark your sentiments (somewhat expressed above) indicate you think marriage is good enough for all the straight people out there (whose sexual acts you tolerate) but gay people, who engage in a sexual act you find disturbing, do not have that right in your view.

    I agree with Kaye – most people’s sexual acts (especially given the majority of the population is obese) I find abhorrent. That does not give me licence to condemn them.

    Perhaps if we hadn’t commandeered the word ‘gay’ all those years ago, you wouldn’t be so reluctant to change the meaning of the word ‘marriage’ now.

    I wish when you said ‘over and out’ you meant it.

  34. evacripps

    Not sure I understand, Mark? Religious people appropriated the word “marriage” for their own use and now no one else can change it? If religious people appropriated it, why do they suddenly have a monopoly on it? Religions didn’t invent marriage, and they don’t hold copyright on the word. Words change meaning as society changes. When you married, your commitment was to your wife, not to the word ‘marriage’ – getting married didn’t give you the right to commandeer that word and hold it dear to your own heart alongside your wife for the rest of your days.

    I am married and I am not now religious, although I was brought up in a Catholic family. My ‘marriage’ is not the same as a religious marriage – it’s not the same as the Christian marriage, the Budhist marriage, or the Islamic marriage. My marriage is not the same as the tribal marriages of many cultures around the world. My marriage is simply the legal and social formal recognition of my commitment to my husband.

    As a hetersexual married person I find it ‘iffy’ that someone would take the word ‘marriage’ and try and turn it into something that is exclusively for themselves and their opposite sex partner with ‘traditional’ interpretations and missionary position connotations. Your exclusive and discriminatory view of marriage is not the marriage I legally entered into with my husband. My marriage was about us celebrating our love and commitment with our family and friends and entering into a legally recognised union. That legally recognised union in Australia has a name and it is called ‘marriage’ – why shouldn’t that legally recognised union be available for all consenting, loving and committed adults?

    Do you think hetersexual people who do not share your exclusive and restrictive definition and interpretation of the word ‘marriage’ should be unmarried? If you continue to argue that gay people should not marry because your personal marriage did not involve the contemplation of same-sex marriage then surely the same applies for every other contemplation that you failed to consider in regards to marriage? Surely if that is the basis of your argument, every other marriage which is not identical to all the specifics of your own exclusive relationship with your wife will be void?

  35. Kaye Lee

    Considering this post is about marriage equality it is hardly surprising that “what if I said that I was gay.” was taken to mean homosexual.

    “That is the same implication, of the possible misunderstanding of the word “marriage,” its double meaning, that I am “iffy” about.”

    There is no double meaning. Marriage, in this country, means the union of two people (supposedly for life). John Howard chose to insert his extra restriction. As he didn’t ask me at the time, I choose to uninsert it.

  36. evacripps

    Kaye makes a good point actually – only people married after 2004 can say marriage was legally between a ‘man and woman’. All those people who say they’ve been married for decades, married under an Act that did not expressly exclude same sex couples.

    Before 1961, people now considered minors were permitted to marry and Indigenous Australians had restrictions on who they could marry. Only convicts who exhibited ‘good character’ could marry – if they were not ‘sober’ or industrious’ they were not permitted to marry.

    Until 1961 legal marriage was a matter for the states. In 1961 the Marriage Act 1961 was passed to make uniform marriage laws. There was no definition of marriage. Section 46 which provided words the celebrant included ‘sample words’ not a definition.

    Do people who argue for ‘traditional marriage’ have an issue with 12 or 14 year old’s marrying? This was legal up until 1942 in Tasmania, WA in 1956 and SA in 1957 …

    The rules for marriage change as society changes … I would hate to see someone argue that a 12 year old should be able to get married because ‘back in the day’ it was legal ….

  37. Kaye Lee

    Because of the White Australia Policy servicemen in occupied Japan were refused permission to marry local Japanese women or, if they married anyway, were unable to return to Australia with their Japanese wives.

    As has been mentioned before, Howard’s Marriage Act says “Marriage means the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.” This implies that anyone who commits adultery is no longer legally married and people who are married have entered an unbreakable lifetime contract. As neither of things are adhered to, why should we pick one phrase as the important part? The government really has no right to legislate on anything other than the legal implications of marriage.

  38. kizhmet

    Two questions I have for Malcolm Turnbull regarding SSM: (1) John Howard inserted his restriction without asking, why does it need to go to a plebiscite to revert it back to its original state? (2) Given the Supreme Court ruling, how is a plebiscite necessary or justified?

    Sexual orientation is no-one’s business but your own, and ultimately, that of your chosen partner. I honestly do not understand why this is such an issue. A great article summarised so well in the article’s final sentence. Bravo Eva!

  39. Jexpat

    “Gay people are considered equal in every other area of society. The government considers gay people equal enough to pay taxes.

    By contrast:

    “Tax exemptions to Australian churches are costing federal, state and local governments more than $500 million a year, new figures show.

    Critics of religious exemptions claim taxpayers are subsidising church and charity-run commercial operations, which sometimes use tax advantages to undercut commercial rivals. They say this is unfair competition and distorts markets. The Melbourne City Council told a Productivity Commission inquiry into charities that church exemptions from rates cost it $10 million a year, pushing up charges for other ratepayers by 10 per cent.

    …”There are significant tax concessions and other financial benefits that churches have over other organisations solely because they believe in a deity.”

    (Figures from 2006)

  40. Mark Needham

    Mercurial. Yes, you are, just looking for a fight/argument!
    You won’t get it from me, just not worth it.!

    Evacripps. “religious people appropriated the word “marriage” for their own use and now no one else can change it? If religious people appropriated it, why do they suddenly have a monopoly on it”
    Who said this?. Will you all, please stop implying stuff that was never said. Not by me, anyhows.

    I’ll rest on my case, on the use of the word “Gay”, in particular, its now distorted meaning.
    Mark Needham

  41. corvus boreus

    Mark Needham,
    You can interpret my previous query and statements in response your posts as a ‘chop’ at you if you so wish, but if you make strong (and prejudicial) statements, you will likely get some contrary responses. My points were valid and expressed in a non-abusive fashion.
    By the way, you did not answer my question.
    Do you also find the sex acts you associate with homosexuality equally distasteful when they occur in the context of heterosexual relationships?

    As for my opinion on John Fraser’s post, it was in no way directed at or related to me, nor did I deem it to be abusive or offensive, so, as I stated on another thread, I will not whinge.

    Ps, you may mourn the usurpation of the meaning of ‘gay’ from it’s jolly and lively connotations, but I am far more resentful of the misappropriation of the word ‘faggot’. There are plenty of other descriptors for a happy-go-lucky attitude, but few other convenient nouns for a tied bundle of kindling sticks (‘fascines’ are for engineering purposes and ‘fasces’ have symbolic totalitarian connotations).

  42. Jexpat

    Just to lighten things up a bit:

    My Darling,” said a gay man to his partner, “I invited a friend for lunch.”
    “What? Are you crazy?” The partner replied. The house is a mess, I haven’t been shopping, and I am not going to prepare any meal.”
    “I know that” the other partner said.
    “So why did you invite him then”? he asked.
    “Because the poor fool is thinking about getting married.”


  43. Mercurial

    I’ve told you before Mark, I’m not looking for a fight. I just don’t think I can let it pass when people deny me my human rights, and dress it up as feeling ‘iffy’ about what I may or may not do in my bedroom.

  44. Mercurial

    corvus boreus, I’ve thought for a long time that straight men who are homophobic often are really anophobic (if there is such a word). Why you only have to look at Tony “I’d sell anything except my arse to become PM” Abbott to see how precious straight men regard their anuses.

    And regarding the use of words, what about fagotti?

  45. corvus boreus

    The correct term is ‘rectophobic’.

  46. Mercurial

    Thank you. And of course I misquoted Abbott – it was “I’d do anything except sell my arse to become PM”

  47. Matters Not

    Words and ‘their’ meanings and debates about same are usually hilarious. Mark Needham provided some insight when he wrote about the “Gay” word and its interpretation.

    ‘Interpretation’ being the operative word

    I don’t think that anyone will argue against the notion that ‘words’ are created by ‘humans’. They are not the gift of the gods or from any ‘other’ source. They are unarguably a human construct.

    Humans construct words in an attempt to convey ‘meaning’. It is through words we express ourselves (not that words are the only means).

    While a particular human may construct a particular ‘word’ as a shorthand way to describe a ‘particular’ series of events (for example), there’s no way that individual can control the ‘meaning’ that is subsequently give to same. ‘Once upon a time’, the word ‘decimate’ was coined to describe the form of military discipline used by senior commanders in the Roman Army to punish units or large groups guilty of capital offences, such as mutiny or desertion. To ‘decimate’ originally implied the killing of ‘one in ten’

    These days the meaning given to the word ‘decimate’ (yes at the most basic level we give meaning(s) to words and not vice versa, contrary to what the vast bulk of the population believe, including the vast majority of readers here) bears little resemblance to its original usage, and intended meaning. But that particular word is not an orphan.

    Try: haircut, nice, silly, awful, fizzle, wench, fathom, clue, myriad, naughty, spinster, bachelor, guy, egregious, quell, meat and the ‘like’. The list of words that are now given a meaning far removed from its creators original intent is now almost endless.

    And yes I know, people will continues to say: Words change their meaning. But of course they have absolutely no power to do that. Humans created ‘words’ and gave a ‘meaning’ to same and then came along other humans and creatively used that same word to express a different meaning.

    We change the meaning given to words and in so doing we change the language.

  48. kathysutherland2013

    @Mark Needham, I’m sorry if I offended you in assuming you were taking the word “gay” to mean “homosexual.” I didn’t mean to. Yes, that word now has more than one meaning. It has changed. I don’t see why the word “marriage” can’t change its meaning, too. We don’t have to stick with tradition. No doubt you’ll continue to find that word “iffy” unless it’s used in its traditional sense – as is your right, of course, and I don’t think anyone’s arguing with your right, just disagreeing with it.

    I feel more than “iffy” about dropping bombs on Syria, but that hurts far more than my feelings.

  49. corvus boreus

    Matters Not,
    A very lucid digression on etymology.
    As I alluded to in my ‘faggot’ reference, my pet peeve with linguistic ‘evolution’ is when a word or term of specific application is appropriated, often through intellectual vagueness, into a more generic/imprecise usage.
    A prime example is the ‘donkey vote’.
    This specifically means filling in a ballot form an unconsidered linear fashion, 1 at the top then down through the numbers.
    There is no other term applicable to this practice.
    In misapprehended general usage, ‘donkey vote’ has also started to be used to refer to an invalidly filled in ballot sheet.
    This is already referred to, by definition, as an ‘informal vote’.
    If a ‘donkey vote’ becomes another term for an ‘informal vote’, what term should we invent to describe the formal but foolish voting style formerly known as ‘donkey voting’?

    Ps, further to your ‘decimation’ reference, it was extremely irritating to me when the former PM Abbott chose to call an alleged 10% reduction in military allocation (a ‘decimation’ in a quite literal sense) a ‘holocaust (everything scorched/ burnt sacrifice, with acquired connotations of the attempted genocide of European Jewry).
    For that I named Tony Abbott a backpfeifengesicht.

  50. Mark Needham

    Mercurial. I have no problem whatever, what anyone does in their bedroom. How many times do I have to say so, for gods sake.

    CB, you said:- “By the way, you did not answer my question.
    Do you also find the sex acts you associate with homosexuality equally distasteful when they occur in the context of heterosexual relationships?”
    Please refer above. In fact, here is what I said 5 days ago, ” I am sort of OK, with the fact of homosexuality,”
    (I am a lights out, bag over my head, snorkel, wellies, feathers in bum, one foot on the floor type of person. Funny enough, I don’t seem to get much)

    KS. I wasn’t offended. I was being a smart aleck, to see if someone would give to the word “Gay” its current meaning or its traditional meaning.
    You see given time, gay has come to represent homosexuality,OK. If I stood up in a crowd, and said, “Jesus, I feel Gay”
    Then people would say, he’s a religious homosexual male, not, an atheist happy male.
    the word, has been lost, stolen, at least for the time being, again (apparently)

    CB you also said “For that I named Tony Abbott a backpfeifengesicht.”
    For the very same reason, I am ”iffy’ about the term marriage, being used for a homosexual legal union.
    And your post about “donkey vote” is exactly, that, which I am trying to espouse, about the word “marriage” It is just that I do not
    (apparently) have the skills to say it so succinctly.

    Finally, “I am OK, with what people get up to, in their own bedrooms,”
    Now, where’s me feathers?
    Mark Needham

  51. corvus boreus

    Mark Needham,
    I know that you said ”I am sort of OK, with the fact of homosexuality” (very generous of you), just as I know that you also said “It is the acts of homosexuality, that I have a distaste for”. That is why I asked if you had the same distaste for the same acts when performed within a heterosexual context, to ascertain whether your dislike was purely based upon prejudice regarding gender and orientation, as seems to be the case.
    You still have not answered the question.

    As for your objections to use of the word ‘marriage’ for same sex unions, your main stated cause for ‘iffy’-ness (apart from fear that it might ‘sully’ your own marriage by association) is linguistic conservatism regarding the term ‘marriage’, yet you recommend the adoption of less appropriate terms to describe the voluntary union of two adults of the same gender, terms like ‘melded, welded or coupled’. “Dearly beloved, we are gathered here to witness the coupling of these two souls…”.

  52. Mark Needham

    corvus boreus Answer. None of your business. (nicely) Which also means what others do, is none of mine. I have already said that.

    Now, am I prejudiced, about having sex with a man?
    Yes, I am. Does not turn me on at all, not going to find out either.
    Is that any different from a man being prejudiced about having sex with a woman.

    Mark Needham

  53. corvus boreus

    Mark Needham,
    Yes, none of my business, none of your business, so let men get married to men and women get married to women.
    Simple really. All the rest is mere prejudiced whinging about a word.

  54. Mercurial

    Mark Needham is being hypocritical, corveus. He feels ‘iffy’ (I think more likely ‘icky’) about certain acts, and therefore believes that gives him the right to deny a public union to people whose union is ‘based’ (I use that word loosely) on said acts.

    Pure prejudice. He’s willing to promote his iffiness, but beats a quick retreat when he’s challenged.

  55. Mark Needham

    They can have their union, I do not say that is not on, all I am against is the “iffy” bit, using the term, “Marriage”
    Prejudice is not the word I would use.
    It is a word used to “clip someone ’round the ear” when the argument nears its end., a parting shot, if you will.
    Me, I prefer to try and keep it clean, a normal conversation. But there are some, who make it ‘not easy’ to be amenable, I could say that some “go out of their mercurial way’ to stir the possum.
    CB & mercurial, are you suggesting that because I have not tried to have a homosexual relationship, that I am hypocritical, icky….
    Peace, hey.
    Mark Needham

  56. Mercurial

    Language evolves, Mark. Get over it.

  57. Robert W Gough

    I am unsure why everyone feels that marriage is one of the things Christianity gave to the modern world. It did not.

    Where marriage is mentioned in scripture it is something that mostly the apostle Paul talked about. Early Christians wrote a staggering number of treatise praising permanent virginity as the source of good health – spiritual and physical – and attacking the sickness of desire and sexuality. Paul had the most appalling views on marriage, possibly because he and others within the early church had believed that the flesh is “raw meat’ and ‘salted’ by chastity. Salting meat is a process to remove blood – and blood is always a sign of corruption in the female.

    The apostle described marriage as “honourable among all men” but only if you can’t be a virgin. In Paul’s writings, marriage is a poor second to virginity.

    A man may marry if he is incapable of controlling his desires, but it is better for him to remain apart, as Paul says, to make his ‘body a temple”. ‘But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world – how he can please his wife? asks Paul. The same goes for women, ‘the woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband’.

    Paul does commend marriage, but does so only in order that those who can’t bear celibacy can avoid burning in hell from the sin of fornication. That’s what makes it honourable.

    He introduces his advice to get married with an unequivocal and worrying statement “it is good for a man not to touch a woman’. He wishes that ‘all men were even as I myself’ and committed to absolute celibacy.

    Paul’s screwed view of marriage was partly the result of his belief that ‘the Messiah” would return before Paul’s life ended. Jesus had promised “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.” We know that this promise of Jesus remained unfulfilled and that the teachings of Paul are screwed and based on a false understanding of the scriptures. Unfortunately, the teachings of this odd man still affect the debates happening within our own time.

    Christian marriage, now the most traditional of choices, itself began as a radical alternative lifestyle. The haggard, anguished and longing body of the saint was one of most potent images. As the Roman Empire became Christian, and the saints’ ideals of solitary deprivation had to be accommodated to the State’s requirements of maintaining and reproducing society, then marriage and attitudes to the sexual body inevitably became a particular arena of conflict. The debates were violent and passionate between Christians and the infighting around sex and the body in the fourth century was particularly intense.

    The very associations of sex with guilt and dirtiness, are the commitments of a radical Christianity aggressively opposed to the standards of Roman behaviour within he Roman Empire.

    So many uncertainties of modern life stem from the confusion that originated among the Christians of the early Church and the modern day commitment to traditional values fails to appreciate its on history,

    An excellent article, Eva. Keep up the good work.

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