Politics and activism Toxic Custard newsletter

I’m voting yes.

Here’s what I think about the Same Sex Marriage postal survey: I’m voting yes.

The reality is that not everyone is attracted to the opposite sex. Who are we to deny them getting married if they want to? Despite how some others paint it, it doesn’t harm anybody else, and certainly doesn’t harm heterosexual marriages.

It’s not like marriage is ever purely for having children. My mother and stepfather got married well after their all kids had grown up.

And it’s not like it would overturn a centuries old law. It was John Howard in 2004 who changed the Marriage Act to specify a man and a woman.

I can understand why some people on the Yes side object to, and might boycott, a postal survey.

It should be a free vote in Parliament. But it’s not. And it’s not a people’s vote, it’s not a referendum, it’s not a plebiscite, it’s a $122 million survey. Ridiculous.

A win for Yes may not be binding on the Parliament, but whichever side wins, it will send an important message.

Some propose a boycott. That would only work if it was widespread, which doesn’t seem likely.

The last thing supporters of the cause need is the survey to come back saying No. Judging from recent polls that wouldn’t represent public opinion, but it would also discourage politicians on the fence from getting it done.

As for this:

“And I say to you if you don’t like same-sex marriage, vote no. If you’re worried about religious freedom and freedom of speech, vote no, and if you don’t like political correctness, vote no because voting no will help to stop political correctness in its tracks.” — Tony Abbott last week

This is a furphy. It’s pretty clear that both major parties want a level of religious freedom, that is, if a religious celebrant objects to same sex marriage, they won’t be forced to perform them.

And Abbott, like many arch-conservatives, seems to have confused “political correctness” for just having some basic respect for other people and their wishes.

Abbott campaigned hard on de-regulation. It seems he likes stricter laws when it forces people to conform to his own values.

So anyway, I’m saying Yes. If consenting adults want to get married, let them.

Update 15/11/2017:

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

6 replies on “I’m voting yes.”

A fair summary of the situation, Daniel. You have explained your stance well.
Those who believe something called “marriage” can only be between a man and a woman are entitled to their view (even though it may be wrong!)
I hope the issue of same sex marriage can get out of the news soon. Boy, am I sick of it!

My partner and I are getting legally married at the end of the year, and there will be guests who love each other and who are denied that right. That will add a touch of sadness to what will be an otherwise beautiful day.

Equality can’t come soon enough for us.

It’s 2017, we don’t vote for people’s equality before the law, it should be implicit. Just a thing that exists, and if it doesn’t, we work as fast as possible to correct it. We didn’t vote when we took that equality away in 2004.
At its root, this is gender discrimination. The only reason a man wouldn’t be able to marry another man, is because he is a man. Needless, both the lack of equality and the glorified postal vote.

Thanks, Daniel. I think the idea of so-called religious freedom is a furphy. It’s being forwarded from several quarters beyond Tony Abbott, some of which should know better.

Saying that religious freedom is about a business or supplier having the right to refuse service is deeply problematic. Religious freedom should allow for opting-in, not opting-out. At the business level that’s already operative — think of all the places that now have a rainbow sticker somewhere on the shopfront. If you’re worried about churches being sued — well, good luck, based on recent history over sexual abuse. At the level of corporate law they show how much they learned from James Hardie.

Just look at the mess the Church of England made of itself over marriage equality when David Cameron let them have a quadruple lock that will have to be unravelled when the Church finally sorts itself out in ten year’s time. Religious freedom needs to take account of the likelihood that some churches may be ready and willing to offer rites to same-sex couples right now.

I also have a problem with civil celebrants being allowed to refuse service on religious grounds. We make no religious test for public office — and civil celebrants are public servants — and this amounts to allowing a religious test.

Religious freedom is also a fig leaf for another ideological problem. If you believe in free market principles and then want to defend the rights of businesses to turn customers away, then you’re violating your own economics. The free market reckons that the customer is king — until customers do something a big business (or conservative journalist) doesn’t like. Take the consumer action against Coopers after the Bible Society video came out earlier in the year. You either believe the customer has the right to make purchasing choices based on information and conscience, or you don’t. A customer chooses a baker or florist, not the other way round. This is where religious freedom arguments are just plain wrong.

Tax policy and budget priorities should be put to a public vote. It would be $122m very well-spent.

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