Aug 21

lyleThe Australian Senate is conducting an inquiry into the recognition of foreign (same-sex) marriages.

They have invited public submissions and are currently holding hearings in various places.

Today, the Managing Director of the Australian Christian Lobby was able to use his position to address the committee.  Lyle Shelton, a religious man exercised his democratic right to bring his faith into the political discussion for consideration.

Let’s have a look at what he had to say.

The recognition of foreign same-sex marriages bill is an attempt to further pressure Parliamentarians into capitulating to the same-sex political agenda to change the definition of marriage.

Yes?  And?

There is no discrimination in Australian law against same-sex couples. But for some reason, it is important to some political campaigners to see marriage changed from what it is to something else.

There is discrimination.  I’m married to Michael, that marriage is not recognised in Australia.  I’m not a political campaigner,  although you might consider me an activist.  I’m a (NZ) married man wanting my relationship valued and respected in the country of my birth.  Just like every other couple.

ACL facilitated 42,000 signatures on a submission to this inquiry. There is plenty of grassroots opposition to changing the definition of marriage.

42,000 signatures out of nearly 15 million voters, that’s about .28% of the population.  That’s 0.28%, yep, they’re rallying behind your cause.

Such is the politically correct orthodoxy surrounding this issue, few are willing to stand publicly against the political agenda it represents.

Rubbish – there’s plenty of you guys rabbiting on about it.  Just look at the list of people who have made submissions to the Senate inquiry.  I’ve highlighted them in red for you.

National Marriage Coalition (Submission 12)
-Ms Jenny Stokes
-Mr Bill Muehlenberg
Australian Family Association(Submission 2)
-Ms Terri Kelleher
Lawyers for the Preservation of the Definition of Marriage (Submission 18)
-Mr Christopher Brohier SC, Founder
-Mr Neville Rochow SC
Tony Briffa (Submission 40)
Australian Lawyers for Human Rights via teleconference(Submission 21)
-Mr Nathan Kennedy, President
Law Institute of Victoria (Submission 39)
Australian Christian Lobby (Submission 9)
-Mr Lyle Shelton, Managing Director
Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney (Submission 7)
-Mr Christopher Meney, Director
-Miss Mary Joseph, Research and Project Officer
Presbyterian Church of Australia (Submission 23)
Australian Baptist Ministries (Submission 8)
-Reverend Rod Benson, Tinsley Institute
-Reverend Keith Jobberns, National Ministries Director

And that’s just one day of public hearings.

No one wants to be accused of prejudice but this is what Australian Marriage Equality asserts is the basis for opposing their political objective is (see page 8 of the AME’s Supplementary Submission).

The best way not to be accused of prejudice is to not do it.  Did you do it?

This is of course deeply offensive to Muslims, Christians and Jews and countless other Australians of nominal or no religion who will always believe the truth about marriage and will want to teach it to their children.

Based on what?  You seem to be under the misapprehension that you have the only ‘truth’ about marriage.  Plenty of the religious demographics you mention have no issue with gay people getting married.  You can believe whatever you want, but stop trying to impose that on everyone else.  Nobody is asking anyone to marry against their religion, but plenty of us are asking to marry the one we love, just like you got to do.

We do not have fear or hate in our hearts, we simply have a view about marriage that we wish to see upheld in public policy. We will want to uphold this through the institutions of civil society such as schools, charities and churches that we create and participate in.

On one hand he tells us that he does not have fear or hate in his heart, the other hand says that it will mean that he’ll be fined and locked up.  Which is it Lyle?

Nobody is saying that you can’t uphold your religious version of marriage.  What we are asking is that in a civil society all should be treated equally under that law.

The recent Crosby Textor poll mislead people by framing the questions as if no one but the same-sex couple would be affected and that there would be no impact on religious freedom.

Impact?  Here I am, part of a persecuted minority thanks to thousands of years of religious generated hate, and yet you’re cross that someone might tell you to cut it out?  What gives you the right to discriminate against someone just because they don’t hold your narrow view of human sexuality?  The impact at present allows your religious freedom to hold the view that I am detestable.   Despite all the research around human sexuality, the decriminalisation of homosexuality and the general acceptance in our society, you still want to use the bible to claim victim status and deny me the right to be treated fairly?

Australians don’t want to see their fellow citizens being fined or perhaps even jailed for acting on their belief that marriage should be between a man and a woman.

No, they won’t be fined for holding a belief, they would possibly be fined for breaking the law.  This is such a silly argument, I can’t believe people still use it.

A child such as baby Rhyley lying in a Thai hospital ward, featured on page three of yesterday’s Age, is also affected by same-sex marriage ideology.

He is denied both his surrogate mother and his biological mother because the rights of two men to acquire a baby are allowed to trump the International Covenant on the Rights of the Child which says that all children have the right to be raised, wherever possible, by their biological parents.

You should underline wherever possible.  There are clearly exceptions to the rule now.   You just made one yourself.  You talk about the rights of a child to be raised by the biological mother all the time, and now you’ve just highlighted a right attributed to the surrogate mother.  I’m not sure I follow your reasoning there.

Sure James and Steve are capable of showing Rhyley love, and I’m sure they will. But neither can be his mum.

And?  Neither of them can be his Aunt, Uncle, Grandparent or family pet.  What they can be is co-parents.  You do know that plenty of kids the world over grow up outside this fantasy of mum, dad and two kids routine?  And guess what, they turn out ok too!

Marriage is not just about the emotional needs of adults. The definition of marriage references a biological reality which helps protect the rights of children. That is why governments regulate marriage.

No it’s not.  Marriage is a civil contract between two adults.  You put all that extra stuff into it to trump up your flimsy arguments.  Just in the subtext too Lyle, you’re saying that the biological reality of opposite sex parents helps to protect the rights of children, and yet you ignore that in those relationships children are abused, killed and used as weapons in relationship breakdown.  You are also quietly suggesting that somehow children raised in same-sex relationships aren’t safe, that some how the rights of the child isn’t protected.  That’s nasty.

Governments have no interest in other forms of romantic relationships. They are simply none of our business.

Rhyley is denied his human right to a mother not because of tragedy or desertion but because of a deliberate social engineering decision taken by two men.

You do know that men and women do the same thing, don’t you?  They resort to surrogacy and adoption, is that deliberate social engineering or does that sweet little title just apply to same-sex couples?

We have to ask ourselves whether this is ethical. We have to ask ourselves do we want a new definition of marriage to set these practices in cultural cement. The law is of course a teacher.

Yes, we do have to ask these ethical questions.  And look, here you are asking them.  Fancy that.

Our submission references polling which shows 73 per cent of Australians believe wherever possible a child should be raised by her or his biological mother and father.

Yep, that’s good.  Let’s underline wherever possible.  I also wonder if we can see the way the question was framed?  Or do we only ask those questions when we don’t agree with the result?

We can’t have it both ways and we desperately need an honest and mature debate about the consequences of changing the definition of marriage.

Here you are, a grown up, having a mature debate, addressing a Senate Inquiry.   I bet you wore a tie too!  Here is your chance to put your argument forward.   Yes, I know you’re tired of doing it at all these inquiries, but to suggest that a mature debate isn’t happening is bullshit.  I suspect what you really mean is that the ‘other side’ looks like they might win this.

If we think removing children from their biological parents is fine, then go for same-sex marriage.

It is fine, it happens all the time.  But you’re trying to be emotional, the very thing you say marriage isn’t about.  You use the word remove quite deliberately because is supports your cause.  It harkens back to the silliness of suggesting that we would be creating another stolen generation.  An argument that you unsuccessfully made and got nothing but flack for it.

But “marriage equality” is a slogan whose meaning should be unpacked.

If equality is the principle, how can we deny other definitions of marriage already recognised legally by other foreign jurisdictions?

What makes the gay lobby’s definition morally superior to those defined legally in other jurisdictions and cultures?

You miss the point, we can define marriage as we please, it’s an Act of Parliament.  Equality is the key word here.  We would, I think I can say fairly safely, only ever allow marriage between consenting adults.  A relationship without consent would not be condoned. So no child marriages.  You also seem to forget that there are many laws overseas that we wouldn’t simply enact for equality with other jurisdictions.  For example, in some places you can be executed for leaving your religion, or being gay.  We allow people in Australia to change religions and to be gay, we haven’t adopted the laws of other countries, even though some of our citizens think that it might be a good idea.  I think we are big enough and brave enough to have a good understanding of right and wrong.  Is this part of the mature debate?

One of the many overseas examples of the legal harassment of dissenters to same-sex marriage is the story of Washington florist Baronelle Stutzman who is being sued by the State Attorney General. I table her story in a seven minute electronic format and seek the chair’s permission to provide a copy to each committee member.

Honestly Lyle, you are missing the point again.  You can dissent as much as you like, and here you are dissenting.  Harassment of dissenters is not the case, they broke the law.  When you get a fine for running a red light do you feel that you’re being harassed for breaking the law?  When marriage equality becomes law then some people won’t be able to hide behind their religion to deny services to people.  Just as you can’t discriminate against women just because your religion says you can.  Oh that’s right, you can if you are a religion within the confines of your church.  So the catholics can sack an unmarried pregnant women who teaches in one of their primary schools.  Yet, a catholic principal working in a state school couldn’t do that.  Why is that, I wonder?

I challenge anyone who thinks there are no consequences to changing the definition of marriage to look a child in the eye and tell her she is not allowed to be raised by her biological mother or father.

Seriously. This the best you got?  You want a mature debate and stoop to overly emotive unnecessary hyperbole.  Nobody would ever say that to a child – how stupid. Let’s humour the concept though.  If you did want to say it, at what age would it be appropriate, birth? 2 years old? Too young to understand.  Maybe 10? Is that too late as they’ve already been raised? He also ignores all those kids that have been raised and are being raised by same-sex parents. Will he look those children in the eye and tell them, sorry, you’re going to have to go and live with your biological parents?

No, of course not.

That’s not the way to have a mature debate.

2 Responses to “Lyle wants a mature debate.”

  1. I think you just discovered the black hole at the centre of our galaxy.

  2. David Ould says:

    You want a mature debate and stoop to overly emotive unnecessary hyperbole.

    Greg, we disagree about loads of stuff (and, surprise surprise, lots of stuff in this post) but this is absolutely spot on.

    But it’s got to work allround.

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