Flat White

The same-sex marriage brigade need to be humbled

28 August 2017

7:26 AM

28 August 2017

7:26 AM

The LGBTI liberation movement needs to be humbled, and the best way to do it is to vote ‘No’ to same-sex marriage.

Up until now the same-sex marriage campaign and its supporters have relied heavily on the demonisation of their opponents as bigots and haters. They have carried on as though their slogans of equality and rights are sufficient arguments that trump thousands of years of tradition, all the while shrilly accusing traditionalists of having blood on their hands for gay suicides.

Prominent traditionalists have continuously pleaded that they don’t hate gays, but prominent same-sex marriage activists have continued to assure gay Australians that they are very much objects of hate.

If gay teens feel hated after watching Q&A it is not because the Australian Christian Lobby has said that it hates gays but because gay lobbyists assure teens that they are hated.

For years same-sex marriage advocates called for a referendum while parliament kept rejecting their same-sex marriage bills, never once showing any concern that the debate might be toxic to gays around Australia. Then, once parliamentary numbers were on their side, they started saying that the parliament should be the institution that settles this and that a referendum would obviously be a health hazard to already mentally vulnerable gay Australians.

Of course, we are meant to just accept this.

And yet thousands of same-sex marriage advocates (and their media enablers) had no qualms in posting on Facebook and Twitter photos of what now appear to have been just a single poster, copied from the United States, placed anonymously in a minor Melbourne laneway with the revolting words “Stop the Fags”. In fact, they couldn’t post the image fast enough. Lesson? Advocates of same-sex marriage are apparently happy to plaster potentially traumatic images for all to see, regardless of the mental fragility of members of the LGBTQ community, as long as it could score a point against opponents to same-sex marriage.

Many same-sex marriage advocates have noisily disrupted conservative meetings around Australia on marriage over the past two years, attempted to intimidate conference venues into cancelling bookings, encouraged advocates to send obnoxious letters and substances to the Australian Christian Lobby, published the home addresses of traditional marriage advocates to intimidate them, called for the censoring of the ‘No’ case in the postal vote, suppressed scientific evidence against their case (see the critique of the AMA), and basically shown little to no respect for the ability of their opponents to enjoy their right to freedom of association and expression.

Working in a university and knowing many people in other universities I know for a fact that pro-traditional marriage meetings have had to be organised in secret for fear that they would be shouted down, not to mention because student unions will often do what they can to ensure that such meetings cannot take place.

The lack of desire among many same-sex marriage advocates to engage in friendly debate was nicely displayed with the Coopers beer fiasco, which indicated that many advocates feel that even discussing the issue is an act of bigotry and aggression.

The mentality of many same-sex marriage advocates is perfectly embodied in the ABC’s arrogance on the issue. After being told a fortnight ago to be impartial in regards to the debate it changed its tactic from near outright campaigning for same-sex marriage to promoting “news” that was in favour of the campaign, culminating in publicizing and screening part of Tim Minchin’s abusive song against traditionalists, whom he called “bigoted c—s”.

At the same time, neither the noisy disruption of an anti-Safe Schools forum in Canberra a fortnight ago nor the revelation that the ACL bomber was a gay rights campaigner were deemed particularly news worthy by the ABC. Apparently terrorist attacks on the ACL are of little interest to the ABC, as opposed to Ian Thorpe’s recent decision to join the same-sex marriage movement, which was covered all day long about the same time.

Also telling was the discovery around a fortnight ago of Safe Schools material reposted on NSW education websites for grades 1-10 by activist public servants after the NSW government had banned the programme.

Most worrying is the lacklustre concern for religious freedom by same-sex marriage advocates, especially those in the Coalition. The recent draft bills of Senator Brandis and Dean Smith, supposed to protect religious freedom from rainbow lobbyists, seem oblivious or indifferent to the way religious freedom is actually being attacked around the world. These bills merely protect clergy and marriage celebrants from performing same-sex marriage ceremonies. But for the most part, it is not the clergy and marriage celebrants who have been targeted by rainbow lobbyists around the world. The cases of business owners in the US, charities in the UK, and individuals in Australia who have been targeted for rejecting the rainbow agenda seem to have made no impression on Brandis and Smith.

This is not to mention the shameful pursuing of Bishop Porteous in Tasmania by transgender and gay activists, as well as other cases of religious freedom violations currently being investigated by the Human Rights Law Alliance – for example, that of a Christian student suspended from an Australian University for a semester for praying for another student and answering a question about his views on homosexuality. The HULA has many cases just like this.

Advocates of same-sex marriage and rainbow identity politics need to be given a dose of reality. Rainbow lobbyists cannot just ride roughshod over the rights and freedoms of those who hold to a definition of marriage that has been around for thousands of years and which is currently embodied in Australian law.

Happily, there are many advocates of same-sex marriage who are deeply uncomfortable with the illiberal trajectory of the movement, here and overseas. They would much rather a same-sex marriage movement that was more mature and humble in its approach to legislative change.

But the same-sex marriage movement and the more general LGBTI liberation movement will not become more measured and respectful of liberal rights if they are successful at the postal survey. They will become even more emboldened to carry through with a comprehensive programme of public opinion cleansing, much as they have been doing for the past year.

The LGBTI liberation movement needs a dose of what the remarkably arrogant and obnoxious Australian republican movement got nearly twenty years ago. It needs to be humbled by defeat. It needs to be shown that the desire to marry is not a desire that overrides all other rights. It needs to see that other people’s rights and opinions are important and need to be respected. It needs to learn the art of compromise in a deeply fractured society, rather than be encouraged in its zealous programme to recreate society in its own rainbow image.

Let the same-sex marriage movement experience defeat. Let the movement lick its wounds and reflect on the failings of its own approach. Let the movement return in years to come, matured and humbled, to offer a platform that is both faithful to its own principles and respectful of those with whom they disagree.

To those sympathetic with same-sex marriage but scandalized by the spoiled-brat behaviour of its most vocal advocates, don’t worry, a ‘No’ vote will not kill the same-sex marriage movement. It could, however, end its arrogance and toxicity.

Stephen Chavura lectures in politics and history at Macquarie University, Campion College, and the Lachlan Macquarie Institute

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