The Good. The Bad. The Asinine.

‘Free Kim Davis’ Is The Worst Voucher Ever

kim-davis-meme-410x220

For those of you who don’t know, Kim Davis is the County Clerk from Rowan County, Kentucky, who has been refusing to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples. Recently, the Supreme Court quite reasonably ordered her to “do her damn job” (not a quote, but it should be) and, when she still refused to do so, Davis was jailed for contempt. Of court, that is. Unfortunately, contempt of gays and lesbians isn’t yet a criminal offence.

Davis, who we should remember is a tiny functionary in a very small county, has become unreasonably famous for her continued failure to fulfil her functions as a County Clerk. She has repeatedly cited her religious beliefs as grounds for refusal, being apparently unbothered about breaking the oath she swore to her God to fulfil her duty as a County Clerk. Despite her flagrant breach of promise with The Lord, American Christians of the conservative, fundamentalist and batshit crazy variety have flocked to her banner, starting the hashtag #FreeKimDavis. In one of Twitter’s few moments of joy, the hashtag was quickly inundated with trolls. Some Twitterzens commented that a coupon for a free Kim Davis was possibly the worst deal ever. Others worried that she might turn gay in jail, thus making a highly unwelcome addition to the community. There’s a whole hilarious list of them here.

Davis and her supporters clearly think that she’s a prisoner of conscience, a martyr for Jesus and a shining beacon of rectitude for the rectally retentive. I, however, think that she’s a grandstanding idiot. I mean, let’s unpack this ‘prisoner of conscience’ thing. Generally, if you swear an oath to do a job and then find that the job requires you to do stuff you don’t like, you resign. What you don’t do is paralyse a branch of local government by refusing to issue gay marriage licenses, and then any marriage licenses at all. Especially not when you’re on the government payroll and the people’s lives you’re disrupting are paying you to mess up what should be one of the happiest moments of their lives. And, incidentally, also paying for you to employ your son to do the same.

Okay, so maybe she’s trying to change the law. In the States, some fundamental changes to the law can be made by taking the government to court. Thing is, though, she’s been to every conceivable level of court in the land and each and every one of them has come back with an answer that would have been obvious to anybody possessing enough brain cells to power an amoeba. The answer was that government functionaries, and especially elected ones, are required to act in accordance with the law. Duh. Double duh, because not only has she failed in her duty as an official, a public servant and a human being, she has failed to make a legal argument that had any chance whatsoever of succeeding. If an interpretation of the constitution produces a ruling you don’t like, you challenge that interpretation. What you don’t do is launch a dozen legal actions that can be summed up with the words, “But I don’t wanna!”.

So her continued refusal to do her duty is simply churlish. She’s not Daniel in the lion’s den. She’s a moron in a holding cell. And while I don’t really want anybody to rot in jail for their beliefs, I agree with Twitter. A free Kim Davis would be the worst coupon ever.

The Arguments Against (and why they’re invalid)

This is a long and not particularly funny post. Lately, a battery of arguments (of sorts) has emerged within the narrative of the anti-equality movement. The intention here is to isolate 5 of the most prominent (meaning the 5 most frequently encountered within a single 24 hour news cycle) and subject them to forensic examination. Whether you read, skim or cherry pick, I hope to show fairly conclusively that these arguments, despite their varying degrees of speciousness, are uniformly, laughably invalid. They rest variously on faulty or bigoted reasoning, egregious ignorance or a breathtaking circularity of logic. The point being, there don’t seem to be any valid arguments against. So what does the ‘anti’ position consist of? With no logical basis, what can it possibly consist of?

In the text below you will find 5 arguments and responses. The responses are not intended to be exhaustive, but attempt to cover the main grounds for objection arising from each argument. Additions, comments, dissent or abuse are all welcomed. Cheques and money orders are preferred…


 

Argument the 1st:

Same sex marriage jeopardises the safety and normal development of children raised by same sex partners.

Response:

This is a specious argument, made initially credible by some quite nasty bigotry and some garden variety legal ignorance. Basically, the reasoning on which this claim rests relies on a belief in the abnormality of same-sex couples and accepting that homosexuals are somehow inherently more dangerous to children than heterosexuals. Both ideas are, of course, bollocks.

Furthermore, all of this is essentially irrelevant in the case of same sex marriage. The adoption of children by same sex couples is a completely separate issue and, incidentally, already legal. The idea that marriage will somehow ease or facilitate adoption is untenable. The idea that it somehow increases risks to children is simply offensive, as well as being demonstrably untrue.

But what about the children? I guess it’s still relevant in the broader context of the question as  a social issue. Is there any evidence available on the impact of same-sex parenting on children and their development? Well, sort of – it is still very early days and sufficient statistical data simply do not exist to prove anything one way or the other. Early data does, however, seem to suggest that children with 2 gay parents are materially, developmentally and emotionally better off than children with only 1 parent of any orientation.

In addition, a recent US study aimed at consolidating a large number of recently completed, smaller scale studies, was unable to determine any kind of difference or gap in the upbringing, education or mental health of children raised by same sex couples. Similar research conducted in Australia actually points to benefits (cognitive) without any serious accompanying deficits.

 

Citations below:

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1741-3737.2009.00678.x/full

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/06/23/us-usa-gaymarriage-study-idUSKBN0P32AM20150623

https://aifs.gov.au/cfca/publications/same-sex-parented-families-australia/childrens-wellbeing-same-sex-parented-families

 

Argument the 2nd:

Our economic region being Asia, we should probably attempt to conform with the norms of Asian cultures around us.

Response:

This is ridiculous. Asian nations don’t expect us to be like them. This is largely because they don’t really care what we believe or how we choose to live. They expect us to trade, to avoid insulting or confronting them where possible, and to focus our economic, diplomatic and military efforts in the region. Beyond that, they couldn’t care less how weird we are. Indonesians, for example, already think we’re crazy. This is because of the widespread practice of celebrating dog birthdays. The legalisation of same-sex marriage would have as much impact on our neighbours as the habitual practice of inter-species marriage in rural South India has on us: none, once we’ve finished giggling. And as for Asia not redefining marriage in the last hundred years? Demonstrably untrue – every former colony of anyone has had Western matrimonial conventions thrust upon them, usually followed in quick succession by Stalinist or Maoist interpretations, both of which struggled to integrate with traditional modes and practices and all of which have had to be swept away and/or re-calibrated in the post-colonial, post cold war world.

Further to this, our spiritual, intellectual and cultural heritage is emphatically not from Asia. We are a Western nation, espousing Western values and practising Western culture. Our neighbours and trading partners are aware of this and do not expect it to change, largely because they are not quite as stupid as some members of our Upper House.

 

Argument the 3rd:

Asia will think we’re decadent.

Response:

They already do and, unsurprisingly they don’t particularly care. Our cultures agree on practically nothing. Strangely, we still seem capable of sustaining complex, multi-faceted relationships with the Asian nations around us. This is probably because international relations has more to do with geopolitics, trade, military doctrines and regional policy priorities than it does with minor points of public morality. Most Asian nations currently see the West in general as questionably sane. The feeling appears to be mutual. The impact on our regional relationships is negligible.

 

Argument the 4th:

Legalising same sex marriages will initiate an uncontrollable spiral of permissiveness that will eventually lead to people marrying animals, cows, children, trees and iPhones.

Response:

Marrying more than one spouse,  your dog or a twelve year old are all illegal in this country. I’m not sure, but I think marrying your phone is a no-no too. Changing the provisions of the marriage act is not going to effect the legality of pederasty, bestiality or polygamy in any way whatsoever. As for the ‘slippery slope’ argument, the progression presented in this argument is logically unsound. Homosexuality is not a disease, is not illegal and is not innately harmful to anybody. Homosexuality is neither subversive nor inherently lawless by nature. The idea, therefore, that granting homosexual Australians a single legal right will lead to a general unravelling of the institution of marriage is a ludicrous one. We will not suddenly decide that all kinds of deviance in marriage are acceptable just because we’ve allowed same sex marriage. This is because same sex relationships are not deviant behaviour. Approving of them cannot then lead to approving of deviant forms of behaviour. Bestiality, polygamy, child marriage – all of these have been tested by courts and custom over many years. As a result, these practices were found to be harmful and unacceptable. So much so, in fact, that their prohibition is not something that is ever seriously questioned. There is no good reason to believe that this will change.

 

 Argument the 5th:

Marriage is defined as between a man and a woman and has been for some time.

Response:

Marriage in this country is defined by an act of parliament. It is worth noting that this definition, often quoted as if it were an ancient dictum written deep in the bedrock of our society, was actually introduced in 2004 by no less a personage than Mr Philip Ruddock. This was in response to events in England, where ambiguities in their equivalent statute had allowed same sex marriage to be legitimised in a manner that circumvented proper or due process. The definition amendment was proposed in order to prevent the same sort of ‘loophole’ situation arising here, and seems to have received significant support from both sides of the house. The definition is therefore suspect in the context of this issue – it was made, in part, with the deliberate intent to invalidate same sex marriage. It lacks independence and authority as evidence for the ‘no’ case, being little more than a repetition of it that happens to have found its way into a law. It would be like interpolating a verse into the bible requiring horses to wear beanies and then quoting that bible passage as proof that beanies are essential equine apparel. Why is it proof? It’s in the bible. Why is marriage between a man and a woman? Because it’s defined as such in the Marriage Act (1961). Bollocks. It was changed to ‘man and a woman’, so it can just as easily be changed back.

Prior to 2004, as far as the law was concerned, marriage was a process involving property, tax and shared responsibility, among other things, which was made actual by the involvement of two competent adults, a license and a contract. The idea that the two adults should be differently gendered has its basis not in law, but in religion and, by extension, convention. It is a part of marriage as a sacrament of the church, which is something totally distinct from marriage as a process of law. The law quite rightly lacked the ‘man and woman’ requirement prior to 2004 because the law has no business regulating for the whims and preferences of gods. The fact that one of these preferences has been crow-barred into law by religious conservatives on the pretext of ‘procedural robustness’, does not make this faith-based definition any more or less valid, or even relevant. Liberal politicians, including the PM, are citing the definition of marriage as if it possessed some kind of definitive authority. It has nothing of the sort. The law lacked a definition of marriage because there was no functional need for one. The only purpose it serves now is to exclude same-sex marriage from the definition of marriage, a view that is at odds with the majority of Australians. The exclusion of same-sex marriage is based on the beliefs, religious and otherwise, held by senior members of the LNP, reflected in their frankly loopy Christian Right support base and, most importantly, entirely unrepresentative of and irrelevant to the beliefs of a clear majority of the Australian population. What Mr Abbott is actually saying when he quotes the definition is:

“Marriage was defined by the Conservative religious right, otherwise known as me and my colleagues. Marriage is between a man and a woman because we say so and God agrees.”

 


 

 

A media release from the Australian Christian Lobby

MEDIA RELEASE
For immediate release
_____

The Australian Christian Lobby has questioned the wisdom of a campaign by some Australian corporations supporting a change to the definition of marriage.

“I just wonder if they have thought about how legislating a family structure which causes children to miss out on one of their parents is fair,” ACL Managing Director Lyle Shelton said.

In order to keep his position internally consistent, Mr Shelton then also called for legislation to force married couples to have children, and to ban marriage for couples who don’t want children or who have children from previous marriages, and to ban unmarried couples from having children, and to force married couples without children to get divorced, and to ban divorce. When asked how he would both ban and require divorce, Mr Shelton shouted “OMG THAT TREE LOOKS LIKE JESUS!”, and ran from the room.

When he returned, Mr Shelton went on to say, “This debate needs to move beyond politically correct ideology to a mature and open debate. Men have pee-pees and women have hoo-has, and that’s all there is to it. Furthermore, you’re all poopy-heads, and I will now close my eyes and stick my fingers in my ears until you leave”.

Noting that the Football Federal of Australia had also backed the campaign, Mr Shelton wondered where this left the tens of thousands of Australians who play soccer but also believe a child should be raised by their mother and father. “I wonder where this leaves the tens of thousands of Australians who play soccer but also believe a child should be raised by their mother and father,” he wondered. “Mexico? Aruba? That place where all the refugees come from? Even if it leaves them exactly where they were before, playing soccer and believing a child should be raised by their mother and father, I’m pretty sure they all stand around during games thinking about children not being raised by their mothers and fathers instead of thinking about whether they’re in an off-side position, and it will make them sad to think that the governing body wants to change the definition of marriage, and much sadder than the thousands of gay, trans and intersex players who stay in the closet because they think the governing body and society in general won’t accept them. I just really feel for them.”

“The corporates involved in this latest campaign really are not showing very much tolerance to those in the community who have a different view about marriage and the rights of children,” Mr Shelton said. “Of course, if the FFA came out in support of my own personal view of marriage, that would be fine.”

When asked whether he understood the meaning of irony, and whether it was intolerant to be intolerant of intolerance, Mr Shelton yelled “POOPY-HEADS!” and ran from the room.

END OF MESSAGE

Whatever it’s about, it ain’t about the children

There are a lot of arguments floating around in the continuing marriage equality debate, but there is one argument that just… won’t… die. Which I guess makes it (a) a little bit like Jesus, and (b) a little ironic given that the vast majority of its proponents are big fans (of Jesus, I mean, not marriage equality). It’s a textbook case of post-hoc reasoning, and the religious argument you use when you don’t want to look religious. And it annoys the crap out of me.

In its simplest form, it consists of a middle-aged white man wearing a brown cardigan and corduroy pants, running around in circles screaming “WON’T SOMEONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN?!”. The slightly more academic version, however, goes something like this:

    Same-sex1 couples shouldn’t be allowed to marry because:

  1. Every child has a right to be raised by their mother and father; and
  2. Other things being equal, children raised by same-sex couples fare worse than the children of heterosexual parents.

Let’s have a look at these in turn.

1
This statement is obviously predicated on the assumption that the very purpose of marriage is children. And yes, traditionally almost every couple that traditionally walked down the aisle did so because traditionally that’s what you did when you traditionally wanted children. Traditionally that kind of made sense at the time, because traditionally no one really liked bastards. But tradition can take a hike, because not only are most of my good friends absolute bastards, but nowadays lots and lots and lots of couples get married with no intention of ever having children. Some couples even get married knowing that they can’t have children, even if they wanted to (say hello, Fred Nile!). Which is perfectly fine, and in some cases, probably for the best (say hello again, Fred Nile!).

The corollary to this argument is that, because marriage is all about children, any same-sex couple who is allowed to wed will make their marriage about children as well. Because that’s what marred couples do, see? That will of course involve at least three people out of biological necessity (or in the language of the bigot, “Poofs gotta get eggs from somewhere”), and there is a risk that the resultant child will never get to know the owner of the ovary (or nut) from whence they came. The consequences of allowing same-sex marriage, therefore, are very, very bad.

But let’s break that down.

There are, right now in Australia, lots of gay couples that want children. And do you know what they do? They have children. Which makes them a lot like straight couples who want children and then have children, except they can’t get married. There are also lots of gay couples who don’t want children. And do you know what they do? They don’t have children. Which makes them a lot like straight couples who don’t want children and don’t have children, except they don’t get abortions. Straight singles go out and have children, too. So do gay singles. And intersex and trans couples and singles. All of this is going on right now, with or without marriage equality. And there isn’t anything you or I or Fred Nile or the ACL or Bill Meuhlenberg can do about it.

What this argument is basically saying, then, is this: “The purpose of marriage is children, but you can have children without getting married, and you can get married if you don’t want children, and you can get married if you can’t have children, and there are thousands of gay couples out there who want children and could have children if they wanted to but aren’t having children because they can’t get married, because marriage is all about children, apart from all the married couples without children”.

Or, put another way, “I don’t like gays, and, furthermore, I don’t like gays”.

The only way this argument could possibly make sense is if people only get married to have children, and non-hetero couples aren’t having children because they can’t get married. And since neither of those things is true, the argument doesn’t make any sense whatsoever.

It makes even less sense if you follow it one step further: If you truly believe that stopping same-sex marriage will prevent non-hetero couples having children, you are essentially saying that, rather than having non-traditional parents, it is better that those children don’t exist at all. Which is odd, given that almost everyone against same-sex marriage also follows that whole “right to life” thing. Think about it.

2
The second half of the “won’t someone think of the children” argument says that the children of gay parents fare worse than the children of hetero parents.

They don’t.

That should be the end of it, of course, but for some reason same-sex marriage opponents aren’t too impressed with “science”. Unless of course it’s bogus, discredited science that supports their established prejudice.

Even if we’re being incredibly generous, and concede that non-traditional families aren’t ideal, no reasonable person should be able to argue that the outcomes of such families are catastrophic enough to warrant their complete abolition. We know this because, if the outcomes were catastrophic, marriage equality opponents would be telling us about that, instead of mindlessly appealing to a specious defense of an outdated tradition.

Besides which, as we’ve already established, the marriage equality debate isn’t about children anyway. If you want to argue against same-sex parenting, go do it someplace else.
_____

I mentioned at the beginning of this post that this argument is a classic case of post-hoc reasoning, and the religious argument you use when you don’t want to look religious.

There’s no denying that there is a strong correlation between religious beliefs and opposition to marriage quality. And there’s no denying that the generally accepted position of all three Abrahamic religions is that marriage should be reserved for one man and one woman. Statistically speaking, the chance that this is due to pure coincidence is infinitesimally small. That alone should be enough to convince you that any time someone says “Won’t someone think of the children”, what they are really saying is “Won’t someone think of Baby Jebus”.

If you happen to be one of those people, however, and you genuinely believe that your opposition to marriage equality isn’t religiously motivated, ask yourself this.

If we, as a society, could somehow address all your concerns, would you still oppose it?

What if we could guarantee that all children raised by same-sex couples got to know their biological parents? Or if all those useless, horrible same-sex parents undertook a year-long course on how to be as good at parenting as heterosexuals? Or, perhaps better still, all married same-sex couples were forbidden from having any children at all?

Granted, those seem a little far-fetched. What about this, then: what if a multitude of independent scientific studies were published that proved that the children of same-sex couples actually do better than their heterosexual equivalents? If it’s all about the children, surely you wouldn’t object then, would you?

Perhaps I’m being presumptuous, but… yes, yes you would.

And if that’s the case, then you should wait for your cognitive dissonance to subside a little, grab your bible, and see yourself out. Because you’re simply not qualified for meaningful debate.

_____

1. I use “same-sex couple” here, for the sake of brevity, to mean any non-heterosexual couple.

Another open letter to Fred Nile

Dear the Honourable Reverend Mr Fred,

People are always picking on politicians. Take Tony, for example. No please, take him. I think you two would get along great. He thinks women sit around ironing all day dreaming up new ways to withhold sex from the men. There must be tens of bigots who agree with him, but you knight one racist monarch and everyone has a hissy fit. I don’t think that’s fair the Honourable Reverend Mr Fred.

People have been picking on you a bit lately, too. Like when you recently re-married, and everyone went nuts. Sure, you lost your wife, which was bad, but four hours later you found a new wife, which was good. She’s also a lot younger than you, which is good, but she’s too old to have children, which is bad. But it means you won’t have any more children, which is probably good. Now I’m not saying that it was too soon to re-marry, or that she’s too young for you, or that biologically-childless marriages should be illegal, but I found the whole thing repulsive. What a stroke of luck, then, that my opinion on your relationships is completely irrelevant, and you could just do what you wanted. Isn’t that nice?

Then you said that the only man in the Lindt cafe siege was the man with the gun, and everyone went nuts again. Which is just silly. Sure, it hurt a little to know that I wasn’t actually a man. But on the plus side all I need to do is be charged with murdering my partner and sexually assaulting six women and then take a whole bunch of people hostage with a gun, and my manly manliness with be restored. So it’s not all bad.

Finally, you’ve started your political campaigning. And some genius, who is probably you, since I can’t imagine there is more than one genius in your party, came up with this, and posted it to your Facebook page:

In nature...1

I’m tempted to think there might be more than one genius at your party, however, since someone else has since taken it down. Which is a shame, because reading between the lines, I think it was a really good message:

In nature...2

You are absolutely right, the Honourable Revered Mr Fred – equality is a social construct. Being a genius, you would have also noticed that the society you live in is not only itself a social construct, but is filled with lots and lots of other social constructs. Things like parliaments, and preferential voting, and scamming your way into a lifetime pension with only 2% of the vote, and religion, and marrying a much younger post-menopausal woman four hours after your last wife died. You know, all the things that don’t exist in nature, but have been maliciously thrust upon you against your will. It’s just not fair.

Well that’s all from me, the Honourable Reverend Mr Fred. I have to go and eat someone a lot smaller than me. Not eating people a lot smaller than me is a social construct. And I know how you hate those kind of things.

Yours sincerely,

Tim

What Are We All Talking About?

I read Tim’s post ‘Keeping it Simple’ recently. It was about marriage equality and it was compassionate, heartfelt, sensible and correct. What in part made it so sensible was that it simply ignored almost every aspect of the marriage equality debate. The fact that I agreed with his proposition and his approach made me wonder: am I some kind of bigot? Why am I so ready to immediately dismiss so much argument and so many complex positions? Why am I so convinced that I am right? Well, it’s because I am. It’s really very simple.

Firstly, we live in a society that not only champions liberty and equality, it’s one that claims to have achieved equal rights for all sorts of people, including homosexuals. The simple fact of the matter is that if there are legal statuses not available to gay couples, this claim to have achieved equality is false. It really is just a matter of civil and legal equality. Does it exist in this case? No. Should it? Yes. There really isn’t much more to say about that.

Secondly, there’s the religious objections. Let’s leave aside all this ‘natural’ and ‘unnatural’ business as it’s plainly ridiculous. As I often like to say – if homosexuality is unnatural, then why do penguins do it? The fundamental objection from the major Christian churches seems to boil down to ownership of the institution of marriage. Which is a little bit stupid. Marriage certainly exists as a sacrament in the major churches, but anyone who’s been to a wedding is probably going to have a vague memory of the bride and groom filling out and signing some forms. Government forms, in fact. Because marriage also exists as a legal state. If a church doesn’t want to deliver a sacrament to a gay couple, that’s totally fine with me. I suspect that the 90 odd percent of the population that fails to interface with the church on any kind of regular basis doesn’t give a shit either. This does not constitute a rational or valid reason to attempt to block a government from granting legal married status to whomsoever it pleases. So that side of things is pretty simple too.

So what, in actual fact, are we all talking about? What is with all the ludicrous posturing, toxic prejudice and irrelevant hysteria? It boils down to two very, very simple questions:

  1. Should gay people have equal rights?
  2. If gay people have equal rights, should they be allowed to do all the stuff that straight people do?

The answer to both questions is ‘yes’.

 

Keeping it simple

I’ve been to a lot of weddings. And I went to another one on Friday. It was pretty much like all the others – the beer was cold, the canapés were warm, and the guests were hot. But as I stood chatting to new friends, waiting for the bride to arrive, a nervous tension suddenly filled the room. What’s that sound? Are people whispering? Why yes, Tim, yes they are. And the whispering is getting louder… spreading through the room like Vegemite. Which is to say, pretty quickly, but not as quickly as mayonnaise. Eventually, the whispers made their way to me, and my eyes, once bright with anticipation, were now glistening with shock and sadness – the bride wasn’t coming.

Which is just as well, because the grooms didn’t really need one.

Yes, grooms. For this wasn’t just any wedding. It was a same-sex wedding. So there wasn’t really any nervous tension. And there was no whispering, or shock, or sadness. There wasn’t even any Vegemite, but it wasn’t my party, so I shouldn’t complain. There was, however, a large group of very happy people, gathered together to celebrate with Michael and Gregory.

And as I stood there, one smiling face amongst many, I was struck by a sudden thought. This wedding was remarkable, but only for the fact that it shouldn’t be remarkable. And then I had another thought, which was also remarkable, because I rarely have two thoughts so close together.

The whole same-sex marriage ‘debate’ is really quite simple. It’s not a battle between competing ideologies. It’s not about political point-scoring. It’s not about trying to reach a middle ground that we can all be happy with. It’s not about gay and straight, left and right, liberals and conservatives, or compassionate realists and Bill Muehlenberg. It’s not about tradition, slippery slopes, or flawed science. And it sure as shït aint about Jesus.

When you strip away all the theories and theology, you’re left with just one thing.

A couple.

Two people who have had the good fortune to find a partner, but the apparent misfortune of being gay. Who tell us they’ve found love, only to be told that it’s not the right kind. Who want to stand up before their family, their friends and their country, and proclaim their love without shame or fear. That’s all it’s ever been about. Two people, in love, who want the same chance at happiness that the rest of us take for granted.

I don’t think that’s a lot to ask. Do you?

Children Need a Mother and a Father – The Sequel

Same-sex marriage is a bad, bad thing, because children need a mother and a father. We’ve all heard the argument, and we all know it’s stupid. Or at least, we should.

As I’ve pointed out before:

  • Same-sex marriage and same-sex parenting are two completely separate issues; and
  • Even if we accept that the two issues are inextricably linked, if you’re going to start preventing people becoming parents there are plenty of better places to start; and
  • The whole argument crumbles when you look at how the children of same-sex couples actually fare against their heterosexual equivalents.

How anyone can still persist with the “won’t someone think of the children?!” hysteria is beyond me – and yet there are plenty of people who do. If you happen to be one of those people, and you’ve somehow contrived to find my arguments above unconvincing, perhaps you should consider this.

According to your logic, the introduction of same-sex marriage will lead to this:

With Marriage Equality

But if you manage to prevent same-sex marriage, and maintain your bigotry and stereotyping, things will continue to look like this:

Without Marriage Equality

Well that’s interesting. It looks like those poor little babies have been replaced with Harleys and pink poodles. But that’s OK, because they really needed a mother and a father.

Although, when you think about it, a bit of existence would also come in handy.

The enemy of my enemy can’t write media releases

The world has many religions, and despite all of them being completely true, they somehow seem to find a lot to disagree about. Whether it’s the primacy of the Pope, the divinity of Baby Jebus (or the virginity of his mother), who gets to interpret the bible, whose revelation was last, or whether a thin, tasteless wafer is actually human meat – starting a fight with another religion is as easy as yelling “TRANSUBSTANTIATION”. Which, once you learn how to say it, is actually pretty easy.

Thankfully, however, there are a few things they can all agree on. Masturbation, for example, appears to be universally considered a bad thing. Although I suspect this may just mean they’re not doing it right (and by “it” I mean themselves). And nipples. Nipples seem to be naughty, as long as they’re attached to a woman (and they usually are). But the one thing that really intrigues me is that, even though they can’t agree on who god actually is, somehow they all know that he hates queers, and wants them to be miserable.

Which of course is why an imam, two pastors, a rabbi, a bishop, a monsignor and some kind of Mormom get together to write a media release condemning the ACT’s Marriage Equality Bill. And boy, is it good. And when I say it’s good, I mean it’s a specious, lazy, disingenuous, self-serving, dishonest pile of crap.

Specious because it appeals to the fact that 70% of people identify as religious, while ignoring the fact that an equal number support marriage equality.

Lazy because it talks of marriage equality’s long term risks, without mentioning any of them.

Disingenuous because it says they recognise the “inherent dignity of all human beings”, even while they seek to deny some people the very thing that makes them human.

Self-serving because it admits that their view of marriage is a “faith tradition”, which by definition means the rest of us are free to ignore it.

And dishonest because all it asks is for the bill “to be subject to community consultation”, implying they will cease their objections if the community approves.

All of which goes to show, whenever a diverse group of people get together to compose a religious document, the result is illogical, contradictory, inconsistent and, I have to say, a little boring.

I can’t imagine where they get that from.

A prediction

Sometime in the near future, marriage equality will come to Australia. It might be during the next parliament, or the one after that, or maybe even the one after that. But it will come.

But that’s not the prediction.

Until that time, the opponents of marriage equality will continue to fight it, tooth and nail. Neither of which is effective against logic.

But that’s not the prediction.

As they have done so many times already, they will paint marriage equality as the worst thing that could possibly happen to us. It will lead to the inevitable and rampant acceptance of incest, pedophilia, bestiality and Alf re-runs. A whole generation of children will grow up in unnatural, mentally-abusive families, and then be forced into hairdressing. That’s if they manage to exist in the first place, since gay people can’t have children, didn’t you know. They’ll tell us it’s the single biggest calamity that will ever befall our little patch of the earth. Seriously.

But that’s not the prediction.

This is the prediction.

Once marriage equality comes in, the objections will stop. The bigoted fear-merchants who fought for so long, and warned of such dire consequences, will put down their tooth and nail, pack up their placards, and fade into obscurity.

If you think about, this seems rather odd, given what they tell us is at stake. If they really believed in their cause, you’d think they’d continue the fight until they won. That’s what we’re doing, after all. But you can bet your gay bottom dollar that they won’t do that at all.

Which, although odd, isn’t really surprising. It seems to happen with every movement for social change. Why is no one out there campaigning against female suffrage? Where are the people who want to deny citizenship to Indigenous Australians? What happened to all the people who thought racial integration sounded the death knell of the New World?

They’re gone.

Or possibly at home, listening to Alan Jones.

Either way, perhaps they don’t believe in their cause as much they think they do.