Nothing is designed to get religious right wing nut jobs (RRWNJs) like Cory Bernardi, Eric Abetz and Tony Abbott foaming at the mouth, more than same-sex marriage. Their fellow travellers in the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) and an assortment of old blokes in frocks are just as rabidly opposed to it. It enrages them so much that they will do anything and say anything to try to prevent it happening.
The ACL stated that children will not know their biological parents, and florists, bakers and photographers will lose their right to discriminate, and that parents will be forced to send their children to radical (?) sex education classes1,2. These are, of course, all furphies and indicate that the ACL will say anything in an effort to still tell people how they should live their lives. After all, the religious have been telling people how to live for many hundreds of years. Addictions such as that are hard to kick.
The RRWNJ, Cory Bernardi is one of the silliest politicians around, and is gullible enough to believe what the coal industry and its spruikers tell him, that climate change is all a big left wing conspiracy. He is also against stem-cell research, doesn’t think government benefits should be extended to same-sex couples, and has stated “Same-sex relationships are not the same as marital relationships and to treat them the same is to suspend common sense”. The severe limitations of his intellect are shown by the fact that he had to resign his position as parliamentary secretary because of the statement he made the day before where he argued that permitting same-sex marriage would lead to polygamy and bestiality.3
As one of his Liberal Party colleagues said: “Cory is deluded; he is one of the least effective or important members of the parliamentary team. Cory is a person without any intellect, without any base, and he should really never have risen above the position of branch president. His right-wing macho-man act is just his way of looking as though he stands for something.”4 His being dropped to second on the Liberal ticket for the senate in South Australia, seems to be due to the realisation by the Liberal party, that he is a loose cannon with limited abilities. The tactic worked, because a few months later he resigned from the Liberal Party.
Eric Abetz, another RRWNJ from the Liberal Party, is perhaps even crazier than Cory Bernardi. A couple of decades ago, he stated that “It is not possible by personal decision to alter one’s race or sex. Yet the facts (a Trumpian interpretation of ‘fact’?) … indicate that a person’s homosexual or transsexual behaviour is a learned behaviour and not a characteristic such as sex or race”. Like Bernardi, he is against stem-cell research and extending government benefits to same-sex couples.
In 1994, Abetz stated that repealing ‘anti-gay’ laws in Tasmania was the thin end of the wedge. He also stated that marriage equality is the thin end of presumably the same wedge and would lead to a myriad of consequences including polyamory (consensual relations between more than two people). Polyamory is not illegal in most countries, but in the conservative brain it will presage the demise of civilisation, the former Mormon polygamous practices notwithstanding. It has also been around for many centuries in some countries, and the sky hasn’t fallen. Abetz has also stated, as if it was an argument against marriage equality, that in the Asian century, Asia may see us as decadent if we recognise same-sex marriage. He didn’t seem to realise that while no Asian country currently recognises same-sex marriage, Taiwan may soon do so. In addition, many Asian countries recognise polygamous marriages (e.g. Indonesia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka), the supposed absence in Asia which he had at another time used as an argument against marriage equality. When you are a religious conservative, consistency is unimportant.
Tony Abbott was the author of the obstructive ‘same sex marriage’ plebiscite, which was taken to the 2016 election as a policy5, but when the government tried to get the enabling legislation through the senate, it failed. Abbott is one of those people who finds homosexuality ‘confronting’ and it makes him feel ‘threatened’.7 Maybe Peta Credlin forgot to inform him that it wasn’t compulsory.
After the failure of the plebiscite legislation, the Liberal and National parties have sat on their hands refusing to have a free vote in Parliament. The Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, would love to have a free vote to rid himself of his do nothing stigma, but the RRWNJs in his backbench won’t let him. They clearly have him by the short and curlies.
While the outpourings of Bernardi, Abetz and Abbott are simply those of wacky religious nutters, perhaps the most unpleasant thing stated by a politician was by John Howard, stated around the time he changed the Marriage Act to include a definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman. This alteration, strangely organised without a plebiscite, was in response to a couple of test cases before Australian courts, where same sex couples who had been married overseas sought recognition of their marriages in Australia7. Howard, when asked why he was changing the Marriage Act 1961, stated that same sex marriage would ‘diminish’ his marriage. If this is so, then his marriage must be decidedly diminished now, with many countries having legalised same-sex marriage.
Given the dire warnings by Bernardi, Abetz and the ACL, that polygamy, polyamory, bestiality, the demise of discrimination among florists, bakers and photographers will all flourish if same sex marriage were allowed, it makes me wonder why they only seem to direct these warnings at Australians. Are we unduly prone to lust after our pets, or more likely to cohabit with numerous females than citizens of other countries. Do our florists, bakers or photographers cherish their right to discriminate more than those in other countries? Aren’t Bernardi, Abetz and the ACL organising counselors to Norway, to deal with all the traumatised florists, bakers and photographers and all those children desperately searching for their biological parents, or all those poor sad gents lusting after their labradors or proposing to all the ladies up at the florist to come and cohabit with them? No? Could it be that none of these dire warnings have or will ever come to fruition? Norway has had same sex marriage for 8 years, and has just been named the happiest country on the planet. This just demonstrates the fact that religious conservatives are really unconcerned with the wellbeing of humanity, they just want to be able to continue to tell people what to do, and will lie like Trump to do so.
The denial of same-sex couple to have the ability to marry and experience the joy that goes with it, is nothing other than bigotry. While your marriage may be between a man and a woman, the marriage of Elton John and David Furnish is not. If that diminishes your marriage, it probably says a lot more about your marriage than it does about theirs. Besides, their marriage is none of your damned business.
- Marks, R., 2014. Tony speaks! Black Inc., Collingwood, 103 p.