The prime minister hasn’t indicated either way whether she plans to launch a High Court challenge if Tasmania’s pioneering marriage equality bill gets through. I rather suspect that she’s grateful for the issue to be taken out of her hands and is happy to accept that the states are going to step in and succeed on an issue where she’s failed. Fingers crossed.
So with Tasmania leading the state-based approach to marriage equality in Australia, and with the Senate in Canberra to debate marriage equality next week (email your Senators now, y’all), there’s some really good news for those of us who are frankly bored of putting up well-reasoned, cogent arguments and getting smeared in public by cretins like Jim Wallace and Peter Jensen and David van Gend (who, let’s remember, are the real victims in all of this).
Speaking of false Christians, I was sent a link this morning to this video from the anti-marriage equality side. It features personal comments from a group of Tasmanian church leaders (straight white men, the kind Jesus likes best) explaining why they think the gay marriage bill is the worstest thing in the state right now. I always find these kinds of ‘personal statements’ videos funny when they come from the anti-gay side. It’s so much easier for the good side to talk from personal experience about why they believe in gay marriage because the stories are honest and highlight the positive effect it would have for couples, families and friends. But when the other side does it, it’s never uplifting or positive – it’s never anything nice.
Anyway, here it is.
I’m sorry, I have to call bullshit on a few of these quotes. The first guy, Andrew Corbett, says:
“Whenever we step into the public arena and we offer an opinion on public policy, some people say that’s not the place of Christians because there should be a separation of church and state. We’re not asking to take over.”
He doesn’t want to take over – he only wants to impose the rules of his religion on people outside his church. Why do people get so uppity when you ask them to live according to the superstitious fantasies of other people? Seriously though, guy, nobody has ever said that Christians – or Muslims or Jews or Buddhists – can’t affect public policy or have an opinion. They just need something a bit better than “because my ancient book of fairy tales says homosexuality is wrong” to justify discriminating against one group in the community.
The great irony in arguing that religious people’s freedom is being infringed upon is that, yes, religious freedom is eroded, and they’re the ones doing all the eroding. Many church groups want to officiate same sex marriages, but cannot because an increasingly hysterical minority believe it is against their religion. It’s not enough that they won’t have to officiate, perform or approve any marriage they disagree with, they have to force those rules on everyone.
This is getting slightly off topic, but it’s the same story when the anti-equality activists push claims that business owners will be persecuted for not providing services for same sex weddings (florists, dress makers, hotels, photographers, etc). Which is dumb because there are many, many more businesses that would love to cater for gay weddings, because they support gay marriage and because it’s good for business, who aren’t getting that business right now. That’s just self-evidently unfair.
Then there’s this argument from Bishop John Harrower:
“Gay marriage will “reshape the social fabric of our state.”
How? How exactly will that happen? What is ‘social fabric’ anyway? These are nonsense words with no meaning at all, and serves no other purpose than to fill in space where an actual argument should go.
The wild-eyed David Morse puts the same argument, only in more ridiculous terms:
“As Christians we’re concerned about these things because it’s going to change the way that our whole society operates.”
Again. How will it change the way society operates? What the hell are you talking about? Do you actually believe that or are you just waffling while you scramble for a single, coherent thought? When gay marriage becomes law, straight people won’t decide to get divorced and marry someone of the same sex just because they now can. There will be the same number of gay people and straight people as there were the day before. You could make the argument that marriage equality will lessen the stigma associated with homosexuality, and that’s a good thing, because nobody benefits from that, least of all gay teenagers struggling to find acceptance for who they are. If gay marriage is going to change the way society operates, it will be entirely for the better.
Richard Holloway appears to suggest that being gay is a choice, and says:
“If you want to live that way, that’s your choice, but marriage should be between a man and a woman. Simply because of that identity, for children, for the sake of the future, for the betterment of family values. I think it’s a matter of value.”
So blocking gay couples from marriage is a “family value” (not in my family it’s not). And if “it’s a matter of value” what does that mean exactly? That straight marriages become value-less when gay couples are treated the same? It’s hard to discern an actual point or argument here, because there simply isn’t one. It’s just nonsense.
Youth pastor Sam Thiele (who seems really fabulous, if you get my drift) had this to say:
“Christians should be concerned about these things because it does affect them. It’s no longer good enough to sit on the fence and say it’s not going to affect my family or my lifestyle. Sitting on the fence is actually giving in to an unrighteous state of living, and we’re called to be righteous.”
Gay marriage will affect Christians in the same way that secular marriages that have no references to religion affect Christians. It doesn’t. How does Sam think gay marriage is going to change his lifestyle? I guess if you’ve constructed a lifestyle around the idea that it’s a good thing that your gay neighbours are being treated as second-rate citizens, then you really need to reassess your stupid lifestyle. And just FYI, calling gay people “unrighteous” doesn’t help your cause, it just makes you look like a dick.
But the money-quote, for me, is this one from Dermot Cottuli:
“I think the most current concern that Christians have in our state at the moment is the same sex marriage bill.”
The biggest concern for Christians isn’t poverty, homelessness, asylum seekers, drug abuse, domestic violence – none of the stuff Jesus might have wanted you to care about. The biggest concern for Christians is the idea that gay people might be treated equally under the law. What an incredibly sad bunch.
Finally, the video ends with a plea to contact politicians to let them know how much gay marriage personally hurts their feelings, followed by a link to makeastand.org.au, a website run by… do I even need to say who it’s run by?