So, we are going to have an optional postal ballot on gay marriage. The outcome of that ballot and any subsequent political process will leave a large portion of the electorate feeling angry and disappointed if not actually afraid and threatened.
With that in mind, we need to think clearly and vote decisively, then avoid triumphalism whichever way it goes.
To aid in that process I have written the following summary, based on my understanding, of the key arguments, concerns, and positives from both sides. I have deliberately avoided propaganda terms like ‘heteronormative’ or ‘family values’ since they are unhelpful. The terms ‘same sex marriage’ and ‘redefinition of marriage’ are used because they are most accurate and least propagandistic. This post does not really assess either side’s position but rather states it. Let’s start from the left and move to the right.
But first let’s avail ourselves of some very basic facts.
1. In the most recent ABS census 97 per cent of the population identified as heterosexual.
2. The other three per cent comprise different and diverse communities.
3. Within the homosexual community, long term and permanent relationships are rare and extreme promiscuity is normal, however long term and permanent relationship occur.
4. The homosexual community is diverse and does not have one political view or agenda.
5. The GLBTI lobby speaks for one part of that community, and is mostly made up of far left heterosexual activists.
6. All existing Commonwealth (and most if not all State) laws discriminating against homosexual couples about things like superannuation, rights on separation etc have already been repealed/replaced.
7. There is an international movement that seeks to redefine our understanding of humanity, of gender, and of family.
8. For that reason any redefinition of marriage will be the start of the next phase of the campaign, not the end of the campaign.
9. For many people sexuality is not fixed. The GLBTI literature notes this favourably when a person chooses a homosexual lifestyle but is apoplectic when a person chooses to ‘go straight’ and leave the homosexual lifestyle.
10. Many people have made sincere and sustained efforts to change their sexuality and failed.
11. Many people have made sincere and sustained efforts to change their sexuality and succeeded.
12. No cause of homosexuality has been positively identified. None.
13. No cure for homosexuality has been positively identified though many people have ceased being homosexual as a result of a diverse range of factors and therapies.
14. A vote in favour of same sex marriage will have profound inter-generational implications for parenting, education, tolerance of diversity, religious freedom, and public health.
OK let’s start with the ‘Ayes’. The argument in favour of same sex marriage is that:
- Marriage at its heart is a lifetime commitment between two people
- Permanent homosexual relationship exist and should be recognised
- Failure to recognise them creates a second class of relationship and of citizenship since equal status is not accorded if these relationships are somehow not really “marriage”
- It follows that anyone opposing same sex marriage is motivated by base prejudice and hate
- Children are not necessary for marriage and not all marriages produce children
- Gender has no relevance to raising children and is not really real
- The existence of same sex marriage will make no difference at all to heterosexual marriages
- Traditionally marriage was about property, patriarchy and male privilege
- Same sex marriages in contrast are about love, freedom, rainbows, happy families and all things nice
Then there is the broader issue of ‘gay liberation’ which notes that homosexual people face all manner of harms and discrimination including long jail terms for sodomy in many countries. The blame for this is laid squarely at the feet of the church, conservatives, and capitalism. Same sex marriage is seen as a vital stepping stone to ‘gay liberation’ across the spectrum of civil and political rights.
Then there is the far left anti patriarchy, anti whiteness, anti capitalism, anti Christian, anti Western, anti borders, pro promiscuity, pro-abortion, pro multiculturalism, internationalist movement which falls under the broad term ‘cultural Marxism’. For this movement same sex marriage is seen as a vital wedge in breaking down a raft of social norms which are seen as oppressive and harmful.
So really there are three arguments and broadly speaking three movements, with considerable overlap between them on the side of the ‘Ayes’. In case you missed it, they are ‘marriage equality’, ‘gay liberation’ and ‘cultural Marxism’.
Now to the ‘Noes’. There is no coherent single narrative on the ‘Noe’ side. However, at base there are three overlapping concerns.
First, the ‘Noes’ hold that gender is a real thing and is very relevant to child rearing. This view holds that the best environment over-all for raising children is a permanent relationship between a mother and father together with whatever extended family may be available. A vote to make same sex marriage equivalent in law to heterosexual marriage is, ipso facto, a vote that children do not need a mother and father. In other words, it is a vote that motherhood has no intrinsic value and fatherhood has no intrinsic value. It follows that over time, these values will be instilled and taught through the education system leading to a crisis of identity and value, increased identity malaise, mental illness, and social breakdown. This will in turn lead to the gradual subversion and take-over of the traditional family by the State. This will over time transform society from a community of self-governing families to a community of governed workers. The better researched ‘Noes’ observe that this is precisely the agenda of the cultural Marxists.
Secondly, the ‘Noes’ are deeply concerned about opening flood gates. If marriage is re-defined then anything becomes possible and permissible they say, including polygamy, polyandry, and pretty much everything that was going on in fist century Rome which only changed because the Christian God was, um, rather intolerant. In that context, they will note that the civil authorities in Colombia recently ‘married’ three men and pronounced them a family. Presumably, they will be allowed to adopt children. ‘Noes’ also refer to other flood gates in which seemingly liberating reforms led to harmful social outcomes such as promiscuity, pornography and abortion-to-term; and indeed to the gay rights agenda itself which has shifted from not putting gays in prison, to now bankrupting businesses that refuse to provide wedding services to homosexual couples.
Which leads to the third concern – that many of the far left and the GLBTI lobby are actually out for revenge and are using every form of social, legal, political, and violent thuggery to quell any form of opposition to the remodelling of society away from a Judeo Christian basis to a Marxist basis. The bottom line for religious ‘Noes’ (and not all ‘Noes’ are religious) is that the Bible and Marxism are diametrically opposed. Since society cannot be based on both, ‘tolerance’ is just a fig leaf for a zero sum win or lose contest. In this context, homosexual couples are currently being used as vulnerable pawns on the culture war chess board.
Since same sex marriage runs contrary to the Bible as understood by the ‘Noes’ and by the church throughout history, ‘marriage equality’ ipso facto means that traditional Christianity becomes illegal. In that context people I know are right now making deeply considered decisions about their personal red lines and what they are and are not prepared to go to jail for. There is a real fear that once the Marxist agenda becomes entrenched the State will brainwash the children, by kidnapping them if needs be. To quote ‘Safe Schools’ co-author Roz Ward “We can only meet the needs of everybody by taking collective ownership of everything.”
That is the real reason why the Christian right in America are keeping their guns.
And lastly, there is another more visceral objection. While there are many permutations and possibilities in marriage, at base it is about providing a secure social environment for sexual reproduction. In that context, homosexual couplings can only ever be a poor imitation of what a fertile heterosexual couple do to make a baby. Traditionalists hold that ‘marriage equality’ is a fantasy because same sex relationships by their very nature cannot be equal, and no amount of legal activism, affirmative activism, or public posturing can alter that.
So there you have it. I have not provided links to a swath of reading because I don’t have time and frankly, this stuff isn’t hard to find. I just challenge you to get out of your social and intellectual bubbles and at least try to understand the other side. They are mostly not bad people. I have friends and relatives with passionate views on both sides.
For the record, I have been considering this for some time and I will be voting ‘no’. My objections are not primarily religious nor do they arise from my reading of rightwing blogs. The tipping point for me was Roz Ward, GLBTI activist and ‘Safe Schools’ advocate who explained it quite well at the National Marxism Conference 2015 (and since). Click on the link, scroll to the bottom and click on the audio to hear Roz.
….and however you vote, you will still be my friend.