I wasn’t going to write a Part 3 – I thought I’d covered it all. However, this has taken on a life all of its own and is a good example of how the media has its own agenda and will use their strength to steamroll anyone who doesn’t meet their criteria.
Today The Australian, and I won’t link to them any more, ran another article on Michael and his activism. They go digging into the past, give little snippets and avoid the whole story. This tactic enables them to paint a less-than-rosy picture of Michael’s activism.
The headline screams, well, that’s a bit much, it doesn’t scream at all, it is a headline. There in big letters it says:
Twitter troll who bullies brewers has little love for LGBTI peers
Now Michael has a bunch of new labels. His name badge is getting quite large. He is now a Twitter Troll and a Bully and a Little Love. I consider him to be my big love. That’s all he needs on a badge. I shall get one made up. He isn’t a Twitter Troll. You want to see trolls, go look on the Internet, there’s plenty of real trolls. Michael has raised concerns with people in positions of authority over conflicts of interest. Hardly trolling.
It’s true of Michael that for some of his peers he has little love. I have little love for some of my peers too – I guess you probably do too. You know, just because we’re all part of humanity doesn’t mean that we have to love everyone. Just because we’re all part of this rather odd bunch of GLBTI people doesn’t mean we all get along.
I want to go through this article sentence by sentence, but I won’t. Let me be selective, fill in some gaps and leave out a bunch of stuff. After all, that seems to be the way the media operates. They have all this essentially unlimited space online and still leave stuff out. Go figure.
Having pressured Coopers, IBM and PwC and their senior staff to sever links with Christian associations, gay rights activist Michael Barnett has turned his sights on academia, demanding Macquarie University force one of its lecturers to renounce a Christian educational organisation.
He didn’t pressure Coopers any more than the hundreds of other people did. Likewise there has been no pressure on IBM, PwC or Macquarie University. It’s about as much pressure as you’d apply to a leaky balloon with a bit of sticky tape, not the weight of an elephant stepping on your head. As for ‘force’ and ‘demanding’ and ‘renounce’ I mean, really?
Barnett doesn’t want to talk about how Aleph members tried to sack him? Star Observer, April 15, 2010:
A growing rift in Melbourne’s Jewish gay community saw a war of words via email last week, with members of gay Jewish support group Aleph accusing current convener Michael Barnett for being too hostile.
Sack him? I was at the meeting, no mention of sacking at all. People were very cross and expressed themselves. Of course, what is missing here is the background as to how it came about. It’s easy to create a picture of division when you only part tell the story.
Melbourne’s LGBTI Jews were not happy with Barnett’s bullyboy act. Star Observer, continued:
… other members of the 80-strong group had been “embarrassed” by Barnett’s constant “angry” emails and the group is now discussing ways to establish a new executive committee which may or may not include Barnett.
Yeah, that’s right. The 80-strong group, they talked a lot. Offered little support before they were embarrassed, made a lot of noise and disappeared up their own clackers never to be seen again. In the long run, Michael’s ‘angry’ emails paid huge dividends in the community.
Barnett hasn’t changed his spots. Aleph’s official Twitter account, November 25 last year:
We have cancelled our registration in the 2017 Pride March due to @midsumma accepting @newscorpaus sponsorship. First absence since 1997.
What do you mean spots? Clearly you don’t know him very well. Michael has remained steadfast in his commitment to diversity, celebration and acceptance of people over all the years I’ve known him. We, he and I, continue to learn and modify our approach to how we engage. Boycotting Pride March and Midsumma this year was because of The Australian and other News Limited media sponsorship arrangement with Midsumma. It was a reaction to the ongoing vilification that these media outlets engage in on a regular basis. I still can’t believe that Midsumma didn’t give up this sponsorship. Again, Michael’s actions are vindicated by this continuing unwarranted attack on him.
The smear campaign is supported by the Letters to the Editor in The Australian. They show just how the influence of the media can skew the intent and influence the reader. Here’s a smattering.
Activists are engaging in systematic persecution
A provocative headline to the letters, and simply untrue.
I thought we lived in a democratic society where freedom of speech, religion and association were protected (“Gay rights activist turns on Christian academic”, 29/3), so I find the actions of these LGBTI campaigners disturbing. They are doing to others what they have suffered in history.
Somehow we aren’t entitled to enjoy freedom of speech? So, others have suffered in history. I’m here to tell you, Vita Mezzatesta from Pascoe Vale, Vic, we are suffering right now, and we are kicking back. Using our free speech and pointing out what’s wrong with the world.
These activist groups can’t touch me directly, and so I write to express my displeasure with all the self-centred, self-serving, intolerant minorities that now attempt to control our lives. There was a time that you could just say bugger off and that was the end of it, but now they have this need to force feed their views on everyone.
You make me laugh Richard Thomson from Kent Town, SA. Michael is not self-centred or self-serving. Control your life? You’d like to tell us to bugger off? Get back in the closet perhaps? Force their views on everyone? Come on. Perhaps you simply don’t like having your attitudes and beliefs so directly challenged. Perhaps those beliefs are outdated and wrong.
Then we hear from Alex Greenwich from the lobby group, Australian Marriage Equality. Alex is a key player in the group and a NSW MP. This is what I’d call the lead group from our community that is leading the charge to achieve equality for us in marriage rights. They are self-appointed. It’s unclear as to how they are funded or how they decide what to do.
Here’s Alex’s letter.
Our campaign for marriage equality has always been and always will be based on positive, respectful and inclusive conversations to win over the hearts and minds of Australians. The national conversation about marriage equality will only be won if people can have conversations and are allowed to ask any genuine questions they may have.
For many people, same-sex couples having access to civil marriage is a straightforward reform that takes from no one but provides a profound positive change to the lives of lesbian and gay Australians, their parents, brothers, sisters, grandparents and friends.
However, there are still people who have genuine questions and it’s important that we continue to listen and engage respectfully. It is because of our respect for the institution of marriage that we will keep engaging until we can join millions of Australians in marrying the person we love in the country we love.
As we continue along the journey to achieving marriage equality, we must do it through uniting, not dividing, and being respectful of everyone’s views along the way.
Alex Greenwich, Australian Marriage Equality, Darlinghurst, NSW
Alex has really let the side down on this one. He has an ideal opportunity to reset the debate, but instead goes on the sneaky attack. Essentially Michael’s activism around Pride in Diversity is thrown under the bus by AME. Michael has supportively pushed, promoted, encouraged and engaged with AME for many, many years. Not one of them so much as picked up the phone for a chat with him. Not a Facebook message, an SMS or even an email. It’s not like they don’t know who he is. Alex says that we must achieve marriage equality through uniting, not dividing and being respectful.
Michael’s current concern has zero to do with marriage equality. Alex could have discovered that quite easily. He could have distanced himself by saying that Michael isn’t talking about marriage equality, he’s talking about Pride in Diversity and members of the ACL employed by organisations that pride themselves on the diversity.
Let me put this as clearly as I can. The ACL is not the church, they don’t represent a denomination. They exist to promote their version of christianity, and in that version there are no gay people, no lesbians and no transgender people. They might tolerate the bisexuals if you only have married sex with the opposite sex, and intersex people if you have surgery to conform to either male or female. The Lachlan Macquarie Institute is wholly owned by the ACL.
These two organisation are intolerant of anyone that isn’t heterosexual. They pretend to be nice, but underneath the facade is a real desire to spread their version of Christianity far and wide. They are not our friends. They seek only to have it their way. They represent a very small part of our society, even smaller than the GLBTI community.
They are not our friends.
Alex had the chance here to give them a kick in the nuts, instead he plays the nice gay boy who doesn’t want to upset the apple cart. The News Limited media support the ACL. They don’t play nice and need to make Michael out to be the bad boy, hold him up as an example of what is wrong with the ‘gay lobby’. Make their readership, that already hates us, justify that hatred. We play into their hands, and to the hands of the ACL when we, the activist, the ‘gay’ lobby groups and the ordinary GLBTI folk placate them, pretend we are being inclusive when in fact the media is driving the wedge between us and the rest of society.
In Part 1 I looked at the background of how Michael’s tweets started, what was driving them and the conflict between holding personal views that are at odds with those you’ve signed up for in the work place.
To recap, Board members of the right-wing religious institution, the Lachlan Macquarie Institute hold positions in organisations that are part of Pride in Diversity, an organisation that benchmarks diversity in Australian workplaces to gauge how inclusive those workplaces are. The institute is fully owned and run by the Australian Christian Lobby, an organisation that lobbies to keep gay people out of the public sphere and deny equal rights because that’s what Jesus would want.
Michael’s activism in this case has been around the conflict between the two organisations; a simple question of how can you deny the GLBTI community their place in society (Institute’s view) while working at a place that encourages and values the GLBTI community.
The Australian newspaper, owned by News Limited, is no friend of the GLBTI community. News Limited constantly publish stories, opinion and cartoons that vilify me and everyone in the community. It’s not a pretty look for a news organisation.
The non-heterosexual citizens of Australia have long been the plaything of the media. They love to get a good ‘gay’ story to play with. It drives people to read and interact with their publications. It enables them to generate outrage and to dehumanise those who are different. I’ve seen it time and time again and have blogged on it.
This is the ultimate. To take a few tweets and conflate them into something quite ugly. The tweets asked the two organisations how it was possible for someone who clearly doesn’t support diversity is able to hold positions of leadership at both organisations.
Once The Australian had run front page stories on this, other media ran with it. However, The Australian made the issue about marriage equality, which it has never been about.
Let’s just track this through a little.
It all starts with the head honcho of the ACL and openly-straight man, Lyle Shelton. I say openly straight because whenever someone is not straight, they need to be labelled as such.
Wilson, an openly same-sex attracted man, spoke in favour of redefining marriage and Hastie, an unashamed “Bible reading” Christian spoke for retaining the definition of marriage.
Moderated by Matt Andrews, the short video was simply designed to showcase the Biblical virtue of disagreeing agreeably as part of the Bible Society’s 200th anniversary celebrations. The issue being discussed was immaterial as the Bible Society has not been a participant in the political debate.
I assume that Matt Andrews is an openly opposite-sex attracted man. It would help if Lyle said so, just so we are clear. I’d hate to think he was some middle-aged gay bear. In his meandering blog post Lyle says:
A quick scroll through the #boycottcoopers hashtag on Twitter revealed many of the same vicious people who troll me.
Michael Barnett (Twitter handle @Mikeybear), for instance, was instrumental in spooking Price Waterhouse Coopers last year because one of their senior partners was a board member of ACL.
Lyle goes on to bring every other issue dear to his heart into the blog and finishes with the Leak cartoon of men in rainbow uniforms, a really very disrespectful and downright vilifying cartoon.
At this stage, Michael has called for Coopers to clarify if they support marriage equality. Which it turns out that they do. All good in a days work.
Then we have all these CEOs from top Australian companies signing a letter that calls for the government to make marriage equality a reality in Australia. This made big news, everyone was onto that one, after all one of the people to sign the letter was Alan Joyce, an openly-gay CEO.
Mr Dutton yesterday suggested CEOs, including openly gay Qantas boss Alan Joyce, should “stick to their knitting” rather than trying to “bully” governments into certain positions.
And here starts this notion that writing a letter asking for something is bullying. It’s a theme that the media and lobby groups love to tout. It would seem that if you disagree with another’s point of view that somehow makes you the bully. If you tweet about something that makes other uncomfortable you’re a bully.
The Australian’s Rebecca Urban, then publishes this headline:
Jewish LGBTI activist defends his role in Coopers boycott saga
along with this paragraph,
A vocal gay rights activist has defended his role in the Coopers boycott saga, claiming he did not accept that the company was hounded into professing public support for marriage equality.
Michael Barnett, convener of Jewish LGBTI support group Aleph Melbourne, said it was unfortunate the brewer had severed its long-term relationship with the Bible Society in response to the backlash over its beer featuring in a “lighthearted” debate about same-sex marriage.
Michael is now a gay rights activist, a Jewish convener. Neither label is appropriate. Any more than an author being called Rebecca Urban, Lesbian Writer and Member of the Knitters Minders Club. (I made both of those up). Why define Michael as Jewish, what’s the point of that, apart from saying to everyone something along the lines of look – this gay Jewish poof is getting out of line. This Jew is telling us Christians how to do things. He’s way too vocal, let’s put him back in his box.
The next part in the saga happens when Michael notes that a member of the Lachlan Macquarie Institute board is also on staff of IBM. IBM, as I discussed last time, is pretty big on Pride in Diversity. Our Lesbian Writer and Chief Knitter takes to her paper and says:
Marriage equality advocate IBM Australia is being targeted by militant gay rights activists who have condemned the company over a senior executive’s links to a Christian organisation.
Urban makes it about marriage equality. Which it isn’t. It’s about the conflict between the company diversity policy and an executive’s personal position. We now have more labels; Michael is now militant and gay. Militant.
Others jump into the discussion. Andrew Bolt uses the phrase ‘Totalitarian Gays’, the ACL says he uses ‘standover tactics’, he’s on a witch-hunt on the ABC. The Australian editorial calls him a ‘Jewish Campaigner’, the ABC’s God Forbid show thinks he is ‘thin-skinned’ and somehow free speech is under attack.
Meanwhile all sorts of abuse is hurled our way with none of the big guys calling anyone to account for their hatred and vilification. Not IBM, not Macquarie University. Silence. They’ll just ride it out.
The best bit comes when the ACL takes the really odd step of removing all directors information from their website and asks the ACNC to remove details from the public database, something about safety fears. Pretending that somehow hordes of the gayz will descend upon them with desires to gay marry them to their knitting or something.
The saga will go on I’m sure, and from where I stand I’m aghast at how quickly the media gets off track and makes things up. I’m not surprised at all. It’s the way it works. It’s important to have a villain in every story. The Australian love to vilify those who aren’t, well, aren’t like them.
Michael’s actions are described as ‘the gay lobby’, ‘rainbow agenda’ and various other untrue areas.
And where are the gay lobby groups in all of this. Where is our gay press?
Not only has nobody from Australian Marriage Equality told him to shut up, they haven’t uttered a single word of support. Not one of the Just Equal crowd have re-tweeted or Facebook-ed a message of support. The gay press is silent and happy to let it run.
Yes, there’s support out there, plenty of it. Michael runs alone with this, doing what I would see as good work it holding big corporations to account, as much as a single solitary person can.
It’s not an easy task and we often talk about how each of us handle the onslaught, how we respond and what we think about our approach. We do it with respect and love. Something that other parties should think on. It doesn’t take much to respect other people and to question why they are doing this.
There will be a Part 3, there’s more to talk about.
To finish, the Twitter sphere is going off and there are plenty of nasty people lining up to tar us with all sorts of things.
That’d be my activist husband. He calls himself on his Twitter profile:
Campaigner for human rights and equality.
Not gay rights, not marriage equality rights, human rights and equality. For everyone.
Of course, it’s not so simple to say it all starts with this tweet. Michael had already piqued the interest of The Australian following the Coopers Brewery debacle with the Bible Society and a couple of right-wing Liberal party members.
The misinterpretation and bad reporting by just about everyone starts with this tweet:
The LGBTIQ community is alarmed that you sponsor the Bible Society, opposed to marriage equality @coopersbrewery. Do you oppose equality?
Sure, Michael gets sweary. Some people find that challenging. I myself try to limit my swearing to private conversations, I’m not always successful. I don’t find tweets with ‘fuck’ in them much of a problem. It’s easy to pick up on public swearing as some sort of measure of a person’s moral standing. Or, you could use it as a measure of the stress and frustration by Michael when a section of society sees non-heterosexuals as deviants, perverts, sinners and plain and simply evil. They play nice, say nice things, they mean really mean things.
As an aside, as I don’t want to dwell on the Coopers Brewery situation too much. My objection to this was simply that the Bible Society thought it suitable to have a light-hearted conversation about marriage equality. That is, my right to have my marriage to Michael recognised by the State. Human rights are not something our politicians should be having a light-hearted conversation about over a beer.
The Australian has led the charge in indignation following Michael’s tweets. They’ve splashed his name across the front page of their newspaper and generated quite the media storm with various outlets making assumptions. Most of those assumptions are incorrect.
I can categorically say that Michael has not asked for anyone to be sacked. I can also say that he has not made a connection between the current marriage equality quest and people belonging to the Australian Christian Lobby’s board or the Lachlan Macquarie Institute Board. It is so much more than that.
Pride in Diversity runs the Australian Workplace Equality Index. Organisations undertake the bench-marking for a variety of reasons, at the crux of the work is the value that they see in ensuring that their employees are happy in their workplace and that managers are supportive of the diverse workforce they have.
IBM is considered a silver tier employer in 2016 benchmarks. That is, they have undertaken a significant amount of work in the area of GLBTI inclusion and are currently very active in the space. Macquarie University are on the bronze tier, they have provided sufficient evidence of work in the space to be considered to have GLBTI inclusive workplace. Both organisations take their workforce seriously in relation to inclusiveness and diversity with respect to the non-heterosexuals amongst them. The Pride in Diversity participation is voluntary, and I would guess seen as important to these workplaces, it’s a lot of work to get to the top rankings.
I’m sure that IBM and Macquarie University have staff ethics statements and codes of conduct that talk to this diversity. One of the sections in the benchmarks is about policy and practice. Like all workplaces you would be expected to sign these codes and statements in good faith and agree to abide by them.
Lachlan Macquarie Institute is attempting to train up-and-coming leaders of the future. They would like them to carry the Christian message into their public lives. They are guided by a board, and that board is very similar to the board of the Australian Christian Lobby. The ACL has been going out of its way to make life for people like me difficult. The Institute’s director writes this on the web site:
What we seek to achieve by this programme is the transformation of the nature of politics and governance in Australia. By helping develop the character and intellectual foundations of future politicians, journalists, advisors and public policy influencers before they step into public life. The hope is that we will see more decisions based on a solid understanding of what is good, true and beautiful in light of the revelation of Jesus Christ.
“Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making His appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God”
– 2 Corinthians 5:20
Nick Jensen – Director – Lachlan Macquarie Institute
In a nutshell, they want to train people to carry the hard-right religious message into the world. That message that says the only good thing in the world is heterosexuals, white and middle class.
How then is it possible for Allaby and Chavura to sit on the Board of the Lachlan Macquarie Institute while at the same time working in organisations that actively work to attain status in the Pride In Diversity Program?
This is the question that is being asked. The evidence of the staff at both organisations would appear to be at odds. Further questions I think that are worth asking is do the organisation really want to belong to Pride in Diversity or is it just lip service? Is it possible to shield your faith from your work when that faith actually requires you to influence your work place? What protection do the GLBTI community have from those that consider them to be second class citizens?
In part two I’ll take a look at the media-shit-storm that is raging from inaccurate reporting.
That should be enough to ward you off the rest of the blog, however, I need to call bullshit on this. Turn away now…
OK, you’re still here, here goes:
Australians got a glimpse this week of what the ACL team has been living with for years.
Since some whacker wrote in the bible that I was worthy of death because I’m gay people like me have endured discrimination and vilification on a daily basis, and some of us continue to be the victims of hate crimes. Up until quite recently GLBTIQ people have been incarcerated and some hanged for simply being gay. So pardon me while I laugh at the claim of his religious sect being a little persecuted for a few years. This pitching of the ACL and therefore Australian Christians as victims just doesn’t ring true for me.
They also got a glimpse of what will happen to their freedom of speech and freedom of association should marriage ever be redefined in law.
There is nothing to indicate that freedom of speech or freedom of association is at risk and this is nothing more than a standard scare tactic designed to make Lyle and his team seem like the real victims.
It simply will not be possible to publicly hold a dissenting view without facing demonisation at best and legal action at worst.
You do hold a dissenting view and you will continue to hold it after we have marriage equality. What you won’t be able to do is to use your dissenting view to break the law. You can’t do that now, I know this because I haven’t been stoned in a legal way.
The viscous intimidation of staff at the Sydney Airport Mercure Hotel brought to light one of the long-standing and key tactics of same-sex marriage advocates for shutting down debate.
He may have meant vicious, I’m not sure.
There has been no indication about the nature of the calls, and those expressing their disgust about the hotel allowing this meeting to be held on their premises is a legitimate way to protest. I’m certain that there were plenty of calls, and some of them over the top. The debate is not being shutdown, we get to voice our disgust, the same as you do Lyle when you go after organisations that display ads you don’t approve of or TV shows that you find reprehensible. I’m pretty sure your side has its ratbags too. You can’t have it both ways. I’d also suggest that as we don’t know the names of the activists you alleged made the calls we have no way of verifying your information. It’s also a stretch to imply that all activists are somehow connected. We’re a diverse group and there’s no way for you or me to control the rage and anger for some.
The Mercure Hotel said that their staff were “rattled” by the phone calls and abuse they copped when activists started targeting them for hosting a pro-marriage event.
I’m sure that hotel staff often get rattled by nasty customers. However, this seems to mostly be hearsay, mostly Lyle and his right-wing media buddies beating it up.
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney, the Anglican Diocese of Sydney, the advocacy group Marriage Alliance and ACL had booked a meeting room to hold a campaign briefing for more than 100 coalition partner groups.
The meeting was scheduled for tonight and is going ahead at a different location.
Sadly, we have to meet in secret.
The world is a big place and yet you let everyone know that you and your mates will be meeting in a Sydney hotel, you’re surprised when that attracts attention and will result in the action that you’ve seen? Why didn’t you hold it in secret in the first place? Are you setting this up?
I don’t think this is the sort of Australia most people want created by the push to redefine marriage in law.
These tactics are not something new, it is the way the people protest to companies when they do something they don’t like. Try and be a chicken farmer at the end of animal activists or a company providing pregnancy termination at the end of christian activists.
Australians feel uncomfortable with the situation where fellow Australians, who hold to the Millennia-old idea that marriage is between a man and a woman and that children, wherever possible, deserve their mum and dad, are having to meet in secret because of safety concerns.
Seriously, did you just make that appeal to mass approval without evidence? Since when did you get to decide what Australians feel? Aren’t those who oppose you also your fellow Australian? The current version of marriage is not millennia-old. The scurrilous claim that children ‘deserve’ something is emotive and a dirty play on words, you don’t have to meet in secret, you could simply not advertise. There is nothing to indicate that your safety was at risk.
ACL has, of course, faced this may times before but we have never lost a venue.
People have often protested your venues, you know it and it was only a matter of time before one of your venues cancelled on you. This isn’t new or unusual.
The threats of violence have escalated and we were forced to leave the Mercure out of concern for the safety of staff and guests.
They are the innocent bystanders in this debate – simply doing their job in helping a client hold a meeting. Australia is now no longer safe, even for non-combatants.
Yep, threats of violence are not nice. What were those threats and where are the records of them? At times regretfully hotels make decisions based on credible threats. This is probably more about the reputation of the hotel and less about you.
What the Mercure staff faced last week is what ACL’s staff face on a regular basis.
Our receptionist regularly fields threatening calls and has even had death threats and threats of physical violence.
We report these to the police.
I have no doubt that you do get those phone calls, you seem to think that you’re the only ones. I recently was told that gay people should be rounded up and shot.
We also reported to the police instances of our female staff being emailed homosexual pornography.
One image contained what looked like a minor. The police have not been able to action this.
I was sent some pretty disturbing photos during the week. I found the delete button. Of course, you should report anything you find threatening, that’s common sense. It doesn’t matter how hard any of us try, there will always be someone who doesn’t know how to behave. Adding this to the ‘debate’ is a straw-man addition.
Last week a same-sex marriage activist, who is on a speaking tour for a same sex marriage organisation, entered our Canberra office and bizarrely made a mess in the women’s toilet.
The activist was peering through our downstairs windows.
With the memory of Senator Cory Bernardi’s Adelaide Office trashing fresh in our memories, our team was unnerved.
Why is this even in here? It sounds like to me that you’re making an unsubstantiated accusation and equating that to all ‘same-sex marriage activist’ which is simply untrue and quite frankly pretty low.
Yesterday, when leaders of the same-sex marriage movement were asked by the media to condemn the activists who targeted the Mercure, they declined to do so.
In fact, they implied that groups like ACL had it coming.
When leaders fail to condemn this sort of activity, it only further emboldens the extremists in their movement.
*Yawn* You really are making this a bigger issue than it really is, and you know it.
Rodney Croome is quoted in the Australian:
Veteran marriage equality advocate Rodney Croome indicated his sympathy for the Christian groups was limited. “Threats, discrimination and refusal of service are painful, demeaning and completely unacceptable, as most LGBTI people know all too well, so I hope having had this experience the ACL will now reconsider its demand to roll back anti-discrimination and anti-hate laws,” he said.
“The two sides of the marriage equality debate should be talking to each other to find common ground, but instead we face a divisive and unnecessary plebiscite that will only escalate these kinds of tensions and hostilities.”
So, his sympathy is limited, but not absent, he said that it was completely unacceptable and says that we’ve been putting up with it for years. Also, this is The Australian, right-wing and one-sided. Not sure why we have to take it at anything other than face value.
This has made me very worried for the safety of ACL office staff who bear the brunt of vitriol on a regular basis.
If people from our side were ringing the offices of Australian Marriage Equality or trying to shut down their events with threats of violence, I would be the first to condemn this.
Uhuh. Aren’t you just the shining light of reasonableness!
Yet politicians like Labor’s Stephen Jones smear us by saying both sides are guilty of bad behaviour.
But he and others who lump us all in together provide no evidence.
It’s a bit rich that you would lump all ‘activists’ in the same bucket. Has Rodney Croome ever called your office and been offensive? No, I didn’t think so. Has a christian who supports the ACL ever called a gay person and told them that they are scum and burn in hell forever? Yes.
ACL is used to the double standards.
Of course you are. You think somehow you are above this behaviour, but you have a history of abuse towards GLBTI people.
The rest of the nation is now beginning to wake up to this.
What exactly is it? That people have double standards? I’m pretty sure we’re used to that already. Look at the mess we’re in now. Malcolm Turnbull wants marriage equality but is taking us through this horrible process. You’re also the picture of double standards, you bear false witness. The reason you don’t want marriage equality has naught to do with children and everything to do with your belief that your version of god has said that marriage is between opposite sex couples and that sex should only happen inside marriage. Why do you hide what you’re really after? A world where women remain silent and simply provide babies inside marriage only. Don’t you lecture us on double standards.
We will continue to speak about the consequences of taking gender out of marriage which lead to “Safe Schools”, where our children are taught their gender is fluid.
This has nothing to do with marriage equality.
We will continue to speak about the rights of children, wherever possible, to be loved and nurtured by their own mother and father – something same-sex marriage makes impossible.
This is simply naive and emotive. Next you’ll be showing us pictures of Bambi.
We will continue to speak about the loss of freedom that same-sex marriage law creates.
There is no loss of freedom.
The same-sex marriage debate is a proxy for a radical re-ordering of our society’s understanding of gender and freedom of speech.
It’s not a proxy for anything. It’s really very easy, I want to get married to the person I love, just like you. Not that I want to marry you, well, I don’t.
I mentioned legal action earlier.
Hobart Archbishop Julian Porteous recently spent six months tied up in legal action before the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Tribunal simply for distributing Christian teaching on marriage.
This is serious folks.
Context? You make it sound too simple, which it isn’t.
It is naïve to think it will get better once the law is changed and State-based Anti-Discrimination Law stands ready to condemn as hateful bigots any of us who publicly seek to teach our view of marriage.
It will get better. We function as a society a whole lot better when everyone is treated with respect and dignity. This is lacking at present. You won’t be prosecuted for being a bigot, in fact I’m confident that this won’t change your bigotry. What you won’t be able to do is break the law.
We must not let intimidatory tactics stop us from participating in the debate.
Yes. You’re not being intimidated really are you? You’re still out there participating in the debate. You’re so big and brave.
Make no mistake, tonight’s meeting is going ahead. But I look forward to the day when we don’t have to meet in secret.
You don’t have to do it in secret. It’s not like the Catholic Church hasn’t got space to host 100 people and not receive a single call of protest. Stop going to businesses and thinking that we won’t complain. I like to spend my money with supportive organisations and I will call and complain if they do something that I don’t like. Then I’ll go somewhere else. You need to do a proper risk assesment before picking a public venue to hold your secret society meetings.
To achieve this, we must persuade our fellow Australians to preserve marriage at the plebiscite or face continued persecution.
It is as simple as that.
You’ve made a convoluted argument where you’ve attempted to scare people into thinking that something really terrible is happening, overlooking that you regularly appear in the media and have political supporters who can and do speak openly and freely. You will always be able to do that.
As someone said to me this week, if we are not allowed to have the debate we should not be making the change.
You are having the debate. You and the ACL are leading the charge, as someone said to me this week, get over it.
When Lyle Shelton from the Australian Christian Lobby appeared on the ABC’s Q and A program I listened as he used his stock standard approach, which is essentially along the lines of “I don’t mean to be rude, but you stink” mentality.
Again and again he talks about nobody wants to see anyone being hurt, then leaps in to hurting people.
In my 20 minute video I talk about some of the arguments being used by Shelton, and I reflect on the bullying that I was subjected to during my school years.
Yesterday I wrote about how I wasn’t reading so much from those who oppose marriage equality in Australia, and here I am with another blog about it!
The Australian Christian Lobby’s Lyle Shelton manages to do his very best to look like a dick, he doesn’t need my help. Let me just run through his latest media announcement following an essay written by Penny Wong where she writes:
“The ‘think of the children’ argument is among the most hurtful in the marriage equality debate,” Senator Wong has written in an essay in The Monthly magazine.
“It posits that gay and lesbian relationships harm children, that gay and lesbian parents are bad parents.”
Queue the waaambulance rider Lyle to tell us all just how silly Penny Wong is and how it’s not about her parenting skills, but it is really:
Kids’ rights to wherever possible be raised by their mother and father cannot be left out of the marriage debate, the Australian Christian Lobby said today.
This is simply a bold-faced assertion that has no merit. It’s an attempt to create division in the community where none actually exits. The christian thinking on this can be summarised in 10 points:
God made Adam and Eve.
Adam and Eve got married by God and had kids
God makes it clear that this is his plan for parenthood.
God made gay people and told the straight people that the gays are an abomination.
God told the straight people to kill the gay people by stoning them to death.
Christians aren’t allowed to stone anyone, not even adulterers, any more.
Christians still think gay people are evil and deserve death but don’t say so out loud.
Because gays are evil, they want to convert kids, therefore they pretend the only way to have a family is to get married and have kids.
They don’t like to be reminded that same-sex couples already have kids and their families do just as well, if not better than other families.
Gays must not ever be given any rights, and if they are we must still make suggestions that they are trying to recruit children into their ranks.
Mr Shelton was responding to comments by Labor frontbencher Penny Wong implying that the child-centred argument should not be used in the debate about redefining marriage.
That’s right, it shouldn’t. It’s not relevant. Same-sex parents already have children, have done for as long as there has been same-sex relationships. They are doing really well.
“We all know that kids sometimes miss out on a mother or father because of tragedy or desertion, but same-sex marriage causes this as a result of government policy,” ACL Managing Director Lyle Shelton said.
Well no, marriage equality does no such thing. It simply allows everyone to have equality before the law, and those couples that already have children will continue to have them. Nothing really changes. He is also more or less saying that kids who are missing one parent are better off than those with two parents of the same-sex.
“Our objection to the state redefining marriage is not that same-sex parents cannot be good parents – of course they can be.
Then why are you using it as an objection? Seems counter-intuitive. We all know that the real reason, never stated, is that you view homosexuality as a sin, therefore known sinners can not be in charge of children as they will corrupt the children, and that can’t be a good thing. Keep the evil sinners away from children!
“The concern is that no matter how great a mum is, she is not a father. And however great a dad is, he is not a mother.
This is just a nonsense sentence. What does it even mean? This is probably some creepy stereo-typing, you know, fathers can’t talk to their daughters about sex stuff.
“If this view is wrong then we need to tell the scores of people out there who lament having grown up without either a mother or a father that they really didn’t miss out on anything.
More nonsense. Who is writing this stuff? Scores of children? Is that similar to the scores of people who already hate their father, but love their mother? How do you tell them that they missed out on something? Why are you so sure that children of same-sex parents lament not having one of the sexes represented? What about those that keep close relationships with biological parents?
“We would have to tell them that their regret is irrational and false.”
Or perhaps you tell them, oh I don’t know, the truth? You were adopted, we had a surrogate mother, and then maybe, here’s you dad’s phone number, shall we call him?
Mr Shelton said there are many children that are brought up in alternative family structures, including those whose parents have divorced.
“But when making public policy we should have the very best intentions for our children and aim for what is ideal,” Mr Shelton said.
So, you’re saying Lyle, that same-sex parents don’t have the very best intentions for their children? Is that it? That two dads don’t really have the best intention for their children? That’s quite a statement to make. You are also claiming that my friends who are same-sex parents have no idea about what is ideal for their very happy and well-adjusted children. Have you noticed, Lyle, in the world all the children growing up in opposite-sex households who are not doing very well at all?
Mr Shelton said that policy debates must be had even when they deal with hard subjects.
Of course. This isn’t a debate from you though, is it? It’s more a string of words and stereo-types that has no rational basis. You really believe that people should grant you a platform to say outrageous things and not defend them or provide a basis for your objections.
“If the opportunity to make these arguments in a respectful way is not allowed, then the issue of same-sex marriage will not be openly discussed and debated in the lead-up to the plebiscite. Everything must be on the table for open discussion as the Australian people work through the merits of this policy proposal.
There are plenty of discussions going on. And when you talk about respect, you just said that same-sex parents don’t have the best intentions of their children at heart, that they shouldn’t have children and that they are lousy parents.
“It is not possible to provide the benefits of so-called marriage equality without lifting Australia’s prohibition on commercial surrogacy and again allowing anonymous sperm donation.”
‘Provide the benefits’? You don’t need marriage to ‘provide the benefit’ of being a parent. Also, marriage equality is not ‘so-called’. It just is. And why not allow more children in the world. Isn’t that what you want?
Mr Shelton said it was good that there was to be a people’s vote on changing the definition of marriage because there were big consequences for children.
That’s just another bold-face assertion that has no basis in anything other than the list of 10 things above.
Nothing much will change for families when we allow all parents to have their relationship formally recognised by the State. In fact, a lot more love will happen, families will be happier, children will be healthier. Life will be better for everyone, except maybe for people who think same-sex attracted people are detestable.
I’ve spent the last 10 years reading widely the thoughts on what the christian right has to say about homosexuality, discrimination, marriage equality and the way they think the world should be. Last year I pulled back, I unsubscribed from various blogs and newsletters and turned my back on the intolerance and hatred coming from those that would dearly love to return to the basic tenets of their religion, where they were right, homosexuals should be stoned to death and women are nothing more than their personal servants. I can’t say I’ve missed them.
Every now and then I like to check in, as I did with Lyle Shelton the head priest at the Australian Christian Lobby. He does this sort of pretend radio spot and puts it up on the website, so I had a listen, as he was talking to David Van Gend, a bloke who thinks he has authority because he’s catholic and a doctor.
I love to flex my mind and listen to their reasons why I shouldn’t be allowed to get married, here I’m unpacking some of what they have to say. You’ll find the full audio and transcript linked at the bottom.
The blog is pretty long, sorry about that.
We start with Lyle doing the intro.
Ever since the Greens member from Melbourne Adam Bandt stood up in the Federal Parliament in December 2010 and moved a motion that MPs consult with their constituents about changing the definition of marriage. The so called gay marriage debate has been on in earnest.
It’s been happening since the Australian Government changed the marriage act in 2004, and it has been earnest, that bit is right.
It’s been five long years as a small minority of activist urged by a willing media have kept this issue alive in the public square and in politics, despite opinion polls seemingly showing majority support for the idea of changing the definition of marriage. The polls also show it’s a very low order issue with voters. It is well down the list of people’s priorities that they think politician should be focusing on.
By defining the group agitating for change as a ‘small minority’ is to suggest that because it’s a small group it’s unimportant, put that in with the idea that people think there are more important things to worry about is saying just how unimportant the whole debate is. The easy answer is then to simply change it as most people think the change should happen, gets it off the table to focus on more important things. It’s also important to remember that Lyle thinks that he his being denied his right to free speech, somehow the small minority is the only voice that is being heard by the willing media.
We should also note that the Australian Christian Lobby is a small minority, he is suggesting that they are somehow significant.
The same-sex political juggernaut has seemingly been unstoppable
Oh good, a small minority that is a political juggernaut! Such power that doesn’t seem to have been successful yet.
…last week in London the same-sex political agenda suffered a significant setback. Anglican Primates from around the globe met to consider the issue because leaders of their church in the United States and Canada have accepted same-sex marriage in defiance of the bible’s teaching. Instead of endorsing the North American’s capitulation to the culture, the 27 of the 36 voting Primates voted to actually censure the North American Church for straying from Christian teaching on marriage.
Perhaps he could define how this is significant. The anglicans did just what they are supposed to do. Play by the rules of their religion. You’ll note that this ‘significant setback’ has not got the United States or Canada governments rushing legislation through to comply with the Anglican Primates biblical teaching. Nothing has changed really, just a bunch of men (are there any women here today?) in silly hats telling another bunch of men in silly hats that they can’t play with each other for a couple of years.
This is very, very significant. It just goes to show that with courage and conviction this agenda can be turned.
One man who has been showing great courage for many years in this battle is Toowoomba GP and president of the Australian Marriage Forum Doctor David Van Gend. Last year Dr. Van Gend had his doctor surgery spray painted with the word bigot and television advertisements that he produced refused broadcast by the tax payer funded SBS. Dr. Van Gend joins me on the line now, welcome to the program David.
Oh the man is a hero, someone sprayed bigot on his surgery and SBS refused to show his ads on the tele. Give the man a medal!
Lyle Shelton: David, this meeting of Anglican Primates. I made much of that in that in the introduction because I do think it’s significant that when people stand up, this agenda can be resisted and can be turned around and that’s something you’ve been doing in your work and private capacity as president of the Australian Marriage Forum.
Doctor David Van Gend: I think so because a lot of people understand that there’s something enormous at stake with marriage.
Seriously? Like what, the end of civilisation perhaps. Everyone agrees that Ireland is heading towards full destruction, New Zealanders are all turning gay and that the US has found the hand-basket and now slipping on the slope to the pits of hell.
It’s not a religious issue so much with Anglican or with people have every right to weigh in on this.
The anglicans seem to think it’s about what’s in the bible, that sounds like a religious issue. But Van Gend is right, it’s not a religious issue, it’s a civil issue and people from everywhere are weighing in on it.
It’s about the truth of nature that marriage is a man, woman thing in our culture because it’s a male, female thing in nature.
This is just a nonsense. There is no marriage in nature, when was the last time you saw a moose priest preside over the marriage of a buck and a doe? Do they sign their certificate with the horns? Marriage is a human construct, probably an extension of the males desire to lord it over the woman and be the boss.
It only exists doesn’t it because male, female relations typically have been momentous consequence of creating children and children need the love and protection of a mother and father.
So now it only exists because of children? Before it was a natural thing. Just a reminder, there is actually nothing momentous about having children. Have a look around, the whole of our biodiversity rests on our ability to reproduce. It’s pretty commonplace and happens all the time without marriage. While we’re talking about love and protection, sadly that’s not actually the case. This is a fanciful notion that once married you live happily ever after. We all know the reality of filicide, familicide, mariticide and suicide.
They need the identity and the belonging that goes with being bound to their real mum and dad. That is what marriage achieves. For every child marriage gives them a mum and dad and so-called homosexual marriage makes that impossible. Impossible and that’s the injustice mate.
Mate, listen up, there are plenty of kids out there growing up in families with same-sex parents. They actually don’t have identity issues. The injustice is trying to make the world fit your flawed model. Families are made up of many different types of formations, your ideal is just one of many. Each have their own merit, none is the best.
Lyle Shelton: Now. This isn’t about being anti any people you just very eloquently said what marriage is and why it’s a justice issue for children
Good Lyle, it’s not about being anti-gay, despite the fact that Van Gend just said gay people can’t really have children. It’s impossible.
but you’re a doctor and you see people from all walks of life including same-sex attracted people and your advocacy for marriage is not in any way motivated by any animus towards people.
He’s a doctor! He sees gay people! He has no animus towards people like me. Keep that in mind. The good doctor from Toowoomba sees gay people. And note this sideways move now, he moves to talking about sexuality and connecting people’s same-sex attraction with marriage. The two really aren’t connected.
Doctor David Van Gend: I don’t think it’s possible, yeah, I don’t think it’s possible to know especially young gay people but older ones too, I don’t think it’s possible to know them and not just want to put your arm around them and say, “Look, it’s going to be okay, it’s going to be okay.” Something’s happened, something’s happened to put you in a position of, to these patients I see, of considerable suffering and anguish. They don’t know where this attraction came from. They don’t know why they go it, they don’t know what to do with it and a number of them have a conflict between those feelings and their own convictions about what marriage and parenting and family is. This is sets up a terrible tension and I think that tension can be resolved. I think we need to get to a very clear position in Australia. Where gay couples have all the liberties and all the equality of any other couple, any other couples married or defacto that as you know Lyle, they already have all that liberty and called.
Where to even start. Now the GP is a psychologist, I’d like to see his qualifications. He wants to hug gay people and tell them everything is ok, as if that will somehow help people come to terms with their sexuality. People like me, he suggests, don’t know where this attraction comes from, but that’s ok, because he has the answers. It’s because something has happened to put me in this position, therefore it can un-happen. Oh, and he sees a lot to these patients, a lot! In Toowoomba! They have considerable suffering and anguish. Sounds like they’re all rushing to his surgery because it’s got bigot painted on the outside. But that’s ok, he can resolve the tension, no doubt by telling you that god loves you. attaching electrodes to your testicles and zapping you with 1,000 volts while showing you pictures of an erect penis. Oh, and that’s ok, because when you go back to the real world, you’ll be treated like everyone else because you have all the liberties and the equality you’ll ever need, just like real couples. On one hand we are suffering and in anguish, on the other hand we are treated equally.
Lyle Shelton: That’s right 85 laws were changed in 2008 and state governments have allowed relationship registers. There is no discrimination in Australian law against same-sex couples.
You know Lyle, when you tell someone that they can’t do something because of who they are, that’s called discrimination. You can get married to the partner of your choice (at least, I’m assuming it was a choice), but I can’t.
Doctor David Van Gend: Perfect. That’s it, they have full relationship equality and that is what a liberal society should achieve.
Perfect? I don’t have full relationship equality. I can’t get married.
That’s where we’re at but you’ve got to also let children have the one institution in society that exists for them. Marriage exists for children, they’ve build around mother and child.
Rubbish. Marriage is between two adults, has nothing to do with children. This is really easy to test, plenty of kids are born without their parents being married, plenty of them live with one parent, plenty with same-sex parents, plenty of them without parents. Marriage exists because we want it, not because we have kids.
The very word matrimony is broken into two words, mother and the state of. It’s the state of motherhood is matrimony and marriage exist to serve the interest of mother and child. It serves to bind men, feral by nature men to their mate so that both of them can be bound to their child. That’s the whole purpose of it and gay people get this.
Excuse me, I’m not feral. I don’t need to be bound to a woman to be tamed. I’m not sure how it works in your part of the world. And the binding doesn’t work, men and women still have sex outside their marriage, they still have children outside their marriage, and they still break up.
You’re going to listen to Christopher Pearson used to write about marriage needing to be a to man, woman thing, or Dolce & Gabbana, the great fashion gays what they said about it or Doug Mannering, all these other serious principal gay guys who say we got what we want. We got the liberty and benefits that we want. Don’t take marriage away from children, it’s their only structural institutional possession and that’s where we’re at Lyle. We can all get to this point of saying, yes, yes our fellow citizen who are same-sex attracted must have all the liberty and equality of any of us, and they do. Now that is enough do not let them usurp the one child sense of institution that there is and remake it in their own adult centered image. That is an injustice against child and that’s where we draw the line.
Ho hum. A few gay people don’t want to get married, or have the jesus bug, therefore all gay people should listen to them. In their minds this also works for chrisitans. David and Lyle are good mates and christian, therefore the whole world should agree with them because they have jesus and they are right. Between them they have worked out where to draw the line and you’re not allowed to cross their line because… well because jesus!
Doctor David Van Gend: It breaks all marriages because I was sitting in America couple of months after their definition of marriage was changed. I looked around this restaurant. None of those married men and women, none of them have the same marriage they used to have because marriage has now become purely an adult romantic affair. A relationship between any two adults of any sex was no further meaning than that.
This sort of makes my brain hurt. It’s a huge assumption to say that everyone in the restaurant is married, and if they are, that they are sitting at the table with their spouse. So because the US now has marriage equality, people already married don’t have the same marriage as before because same-sex marriages exist? SMH (that’s shaking my head) And…. their marriages have now become purely adult romantic affairs! So before it was what? A child’s romantic affair? No romance at all? Marriage is not romantic? Well at least us gay guys have put the romance back into marriage, you’ve gotta be happy with that.
What they signed up to is marriage being the vocation of a man and woman given by nature itself to undertake the great task of creating a home, a new family and new generation. That great vocation, that great honorable life task has been degraded into a mere romantic association between any two people.
This is it! The world is ending! Straight people lives have been wrecked by two lesbians calling each other wife and setting up a home and a family and a new generation! You should see my face right now, I’m simply horrified! I had no idea that getting married to Michael in New Zealand would change the world so much. Why didn’t someone stop me? (I’ll leave the answer hanging…)
So that’s gone but more importantly Lyle, the relationship between all parents and all children is redefined when you change marriage as the great lawyer Margaret Somerville pointed out when Canada brought in gay marriage. They changed all of the legal reference to natural parents and made it legal parents. Now, a natural parent is a fundamental, natural relationship which government has to respect, has to stand back and let natural parenthood prevail but once you abolish natural parents because you got rid of natural marriage. All parents and all children are related by a government definition which the government can damn well change whenever it likes. It’s a legal fiction and no parents and children any longer have a natural relationship. They have a legal fiction for a relationship. Be like profound, you’re playing into the hands of big government. People have no idea …
Adoption. That’s where the old parents have their rights removed and have them assigned to another parent(s) You know, the government damn well changed the legal fiction. The relationship is established by law. Has nothing to do with nature really. If want you are saying, Davo, is that every child has a mother and a father, then you are right. What happens after that, nature doesn’t give a rats arse about.
Doctor David Van Gend: …It was an article in Courier Mail and they had for and against forum. I was asked to write the case against gay marriage and someone else wrote the other one. … this is what I’d said, I’d said, yes, yes, it is discrimination to prohibit the marriage of two men but it is a far worse case of discrimination to allow this and thereby abolish a mother from the life of any child created within that marriage or words that effect….Of course we discriminate against two men by saying they can’t marry because they can’t.
Remember, they told us that there is no discrimination. Remember that they have no animus towards gay people. Remember, Michael and I are married, even though he says we can’t. We have a marriage certificate with both our names on it.
It’s not possible because marriage is by definition a natural institution of male and female
It is possible, nature doesn’t define marriage, humans do.
but more importantly they can’t because that would impose a far worse injustice on children who will be created by surrogacy or adoption or whatever under this new institution not by tragic circumstance law but this kids won’t miss out on their mum because their mum’s died or there’s a divorce. These kids in the future will miss out on their mother because an act of parliament today decreed that they will miss out.
I have two children, neither of them have missed out on their mother or father. Michael and I will not have children, therefore we can get married. Or wait, nobody else can have children because Michael and I are married, but if a straight couple do have children one of them must leave so the other can marry a person of the same-sex. And this is ok, because it’s not tragic. At least that’s what I think he is saying.
Doctor David Van Gend: Actually Lyle, from a wide reading into the activist literature on gay marriage and gay issue.
He reads widely apparently, he reads activist literature on gay marriage. Excellent, it’s good to have a well-rounded view.
That’s actually the main objective. Gay thinkers, gay activist don’t really care about gay marriage, they actually despise it.
This is right, however, reading as widely as you do Davey, you surely understand that this is but one of many, many views.
They always have despised marriage. It’s a bourgeois, hetero normative, slightly religious patriarchal repressive thing that cramps your gay style.
I have never despised marriage, I’m gay, I’m an activist. However, I understand that Julia Gillard, who is a woman, not gay and probably not an activist had some thoughts about marriage and it being repressive. Perhaps I’m not reading widely enough.
They despise it, they always have but in the mid ‘90s, they realize that there’s this new thing in town called antidiscrimination law
Well no, I think you need to wind it back about 20 years when gay people starting saying stop beating us up, stop putting us in jail. Stop telling us who to have sex with.
and if you normalise homosexual marriage in law, you have normalise homosexual behaviour in all its manifestations with the force of the law and that gives you two things.
Homosexuality has been normalised as you say. It’s actually not considered abnormal for people to be not straight. Remember that he has no animus towards gay people.
It gives you control of the curriculum so that all children with gay marriage bought in. All children must be taught the homosexual behavior is no different to the relationship of their mum and dad. That it is normal and natural and right and if parents disagree to bad it’s the law of the land.
Children must be taught? The sub-text of this is that he still considers homosexuality unnatural, and something to be ashamed of. Just below the surface here is that vague notion that gay people are recruiting children to be gay.
You’ve missed your chance, it’s gone and the second thing is they the big stick of antidiscrimination law to beat the churches and other conscientiousness objectors into submission and that is what they are trying to do now but we can resist it now. We will not be able to resist it when gay marriage is the law of the land and they know that and this is why they want it.
And here in lies the real reason, at the end of the interview. He really doesn’t want gay people telling him what to believe. He really wants to maintain his right to discriminate against whomever he wants. He sincerely believes that once gay people are allowed to get married that they will set about dismantling society and force him to get gay married, or something. While he admits that marriage equality is inevitable, he is attempting to frighten people into thinking that their world will change so much that civilisation itself will come crushing down, and the people who are not currently being discriminated against and those that he bares no animus towards will be fully responsible.
Despite what these two white men with their wealth and privilege say, this is about power and control. This is about their rank as men, head of the household, rulers of the world. It’s bad enough that women want to do things other than be mothers and dedicated wives, now they have to contend with same-sex couples wanting to get married. And when they go back to the basis of this power and privilege – the bible – it says that homosexuality is an abomination, that those that participate in it are worthy of death, women should not be heard, that there is no divorce and children should be seen only. This is the world they want, where they are the centre of the power, so the small town doctor and the pretend high priest are treated as demi-gods.
Doug Pollard at The Stirrer has some good back ground on Marriage Alliance who say that they’re an independent alliance, despite the fact that the key stakeholders are all catholic.
The Alliance has just four questions it would seem:
Should children have the right to know their biological history?
Do we know the impacts of raising our children in a changed society?
Are you happy to have your family redefined as a social unit?
Are we asking the right questions about the proposals to redefine marriage?
Let me get those for you:
Should children have the right to know their biological history?
Yes. Of course. Who is saying that they shouldn’t?
Do we know the impacts of raising our children in a changed society?
Do you mean to ask if we know what happens to kids raised by gay parents? Yes we do. They turn out well-adjusted just like other kids.
Are you happy to have your family redefined as a social unit?
Nobody is redefining your family. As a social unit it will still be there a guess what, families will be just as diverse as they are now.
Are we asking the right questions about the proposals to redefine marriage?
Well yes, I think so. Do you have any real questions?
Until these questions and more are debated and answered, we are not ready to have same sex marriage in Australia.
Actually, these questions have been asked, and more, and answered. We’re ready for marriage equality. So close your website and go back to your normal business, whatever that is for catholics these days. (Perhaps start a support group for abused children?)
Just putting this out there for you to think about.
The Australian Christian Lobby and other religious people are always telling us that allowing same-sex couples to get married will mean that they will want to have children. They tell us that this is unnatural as it deprives the child of either a mother or father. The argument is that it doesn’t matter about children who find themselves without one of their biological parents from desertion, accident or some other misadventure, from their recent media release:
“Every time a child loses their mother or their father, whether by family breakdown, death, desertion, it is a profound tragedy.”
But why doesn’t it matter? Why don’t they agitate to fix what they must surely see as a huge social issue.
In June 2012 there were 641,000 single parent families with dependents in Australia1. Of those families 84% where single mothers.
In the 2011 Census there where around 33,700 same-sex couples. Of those couples, 6,300 children live with them2
I would think that since the ACL is so worried about thinking about the children that they would be much more concerned with the amount of single parent families. After all, it’s clear that they see a child’s right to be raised by their biological mother and father. Where is their campaign to either restore both parents or prevent them from having children in the first place?
This seems like a much bigger issue from their moral ‘christian values‘ and one that they seem happy to overlook.
Instead we find their focus on the children of gay couples, children that have two parents and live in really happy circumstances, children that are wanted, loved, nurtured and doing really well.
The only reason I can think of is that the ACL is determined to victimise gay people as evil.
Society’s focus should be on the children, and we should look after all of the kids, regardless of their family situations. Families need our support, if they are struggling then lets help them.
Just so we’re clear, plenty of single parents raise really good kids.
It seems like only yesterday that I wrote about the ACL trying to force their opinion on the rest of the world. Oh, wait it was. I just can’t help myself when they release another ill-thought out media release.
For release: 24 May 2015
The Australian people should have a say on same-sex marriage through a national plebiscite, according to the Australian Christian Lobby.
Why? There was no plebiscite when the government amended the marriage act to exclude same-sex couples from getting married. We don’t have plebiscites on any other issues.
ACL Managing Director Lyle Shelton said he respected Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten’s view that marriage was probably not an issue for a constitutional referendum.
“Probably not” – I don’t think it’s probable at all. There is no constitutional change, unless you’re trying to insert something into it?
“However, changing the definition of marriage in law is a monumental and very divisive issue with big consequences.
How? Allowing same-sex couples to marry won’t fundamentally change anything, it will just allow adults to marry whomever they wish. How is that divisive? And what are the big consequences? Has New Zealand disappeared up its own long white cloud? Has Canada stopped exporting maple syrup? Has the UK stopped ruling the waves? Has Ireland disappeared overnight? No. Let’s just say some whacky things and hope nobody notices what a monumental cock-up this media release is.
“The people should have a say through a plebiscite before it goes back to the Parliament,” Mr Shelton said.
It’s still not clear why you would advocate for such a thing Lyle.
“Those seeking to change the definition of marriage always seem confident of public support. Let them put it to the test by asking for the peoples’ endorsement.
And then what? If we get 70% as the polls indicate what happens then? If we get 40% what happens then? Since when should the rights of people be dictated by others?
“A plebiscite would allow parliamentarians to then cast their votes in Parliament guided by the will of the Australian community.”
Strange as this may sound, our parliamentarians seem quite able to cast their votes now without a plebiscite, that’s how it works. We elected one of our community to represent our views in the parliament so that we don’t have to keep telling them what to do every time a vote comes up. I suspect, more to the point, a plebiscite would allow the christian right to put their case. Can you imagine the rhetoric? It’d be about crazy things like “natural marriage” “think of the children” and something about gay people not being able to breed.
In designing the conduct of a plebiscite, Mr Shelton said two conditions should be laid out.
Modest but equal public funding for the ‘yes’ and ‘no’ case.
A prohibition on international donations.
Oh, so now he wants conditions least the big gay lobby should find big gay supporters to support their big gay weddings.
Plebiscites are non-binding but can help settle matters of great national importance, Mr Shelton said.
Hmmm… plebiscites help settle matters of great national importance do they? Wow. The power of the people! Since Federation we’ve had 3. The first two about 100 years ago were about military conscription and the last one in 1977 was about which song we should sing at football grand finals (and other times). Yes, I can see why Lyle thinks that they are useful for settling matters of great national importance.
It’s actually time that we got this off the table and simply amended the marriage act to remove the discriminatory language placed in there in 2004. To continue to treat part of our society as second class citizens is wrong and divisive. Trying to suggest it needs everyone to have a say is just playing for time.