Leading article Australia

The conservative case for SSM

9 September 2017

9:00 AM

9 September 2017

9:00 AM

Is there a credible conservative case for voting Yes to same-sex marriage? This critical question has been addressed by, among others, the Liberal party ‘bed-wetters’, the most shrilly vocal of whom is Christopher Pyne. Mr Pyne, when he’s not shooting his mouth off in Sydney’s gawdy Cherry Bar, has offered the opinion that ‘because I’m conservative… I think that [same sex couples] should be allowed to be married because I’m in favour of more marriage, more commitment, rather than less.’ It’s a fairly simplistic and fatuous argument that fails to address the primary concerns of those opposed to same-sex marriage: namely, what are the long-term consequences for society? And what is the purpose of marriage? Remove ‘procreation’ from the equation and you are left with the often hollow shell of Pyne’s ‘commitment’ which is about as meaningful and long-lasting as the average Valentine’s Day flowers and chocolate truffles.

A more credible twist on the same idea has been put by Speccie columnist Parnell Palme McGuinness, who argued in the Daily Telegraph that ‘It has been a very, very long time since part of society last clamoured for access to a conservative institution rather than freedom from one.’ This is a good point, but only if it is true. Unfortunately, the evidence from overseas suggests that rather than strengthening the conservative nature of marriage, ‘marriage equality’ will irrevocably weaken it, if not destroy it altogether. The ferocious determination of the more extreme ends of the endless LGBTIQetc community is clearly to remake marriage in their own fashion; an infinitely flexible and malleable concept based on ‘love’ and ‘identity’ gratification.


Last week three gay men finally had their tri-union legalised in Columbia, only 12 months after same sex marriage laws came in. Originally there were four men in this ‘family’, but sadly one died, leaving a polyamorous ‘throuple’. Recently a London Jewish school was threatened with closure for refusing to kowtow to LGBTIQ demands and teach same-sex ideology. Kindergarten kids in California are being traumatised by transgender threats and bullying. A Canadian judge recently deemed that bestiality is legal if no penetration is involved. Even here in Australia we already see same-sex activists hounding Fathers Day ads off TV. McGuinness’s fantasy of conservative marriage being strengthened by SSM is hard to support.

Another conservative voice who always deserves to be heard is Janet Albrechtsen. Writing in the Australian, she puts forward a strange argument based on a fairly loose interpretation of ‘libertarianism’, suggesting that ‘voting Yes is entirely consistent with anti-statist, libertarian and indeed conservative beliefs that the state should stay out of our personal lives.’ Er – precisely. A true libertarian does not need the state to ‘legalise’ and ‘authorise’ their particular individual sexual, domestic or companionship lifestyle choices. Adding a new legal complexity to the word ‘marriage’ is hardly the state ‘staying out of our personal lives’. Ms Albrechtsen then compounds this confusion by quoting John Stuart Mills On Liberty: ‘The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilised community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.’ Again – precisely. The law as it stands does not exercise any power over homosexuals ‘against their will’. Quite the opposite. Homosexuals are already free in our society to enjoy all the rights of married heterosexual couples. No new ‘rights’ will come their way via same-sex marriage, other than the superfluous right to change the meaning of a word. What the introduction of same-sex laws will do, however – and has already been shown to do – is to remove other existing freedoms of choice from many individuals, religious or otherwise, and force them ‘against their will’ to teach, promote or support a lifestyle that they would otherwise be opposed to on the not unreasonable grounds that they believe certain aspects of that lifestyle cause harm. Ms Albrechstsen hopes ‘libertarian conservatives’ who believe ‘individual dignity flourishes with greater freedom’ will support same-sex marriage. But denying individuals the right to dissent from harmful LGBTIQ dogma isn’t liberty or freedom. It’s totalitarianism.

Depressingly, the bulk of Ms Albrechtsen’s ‘conservative case for voting Yes’ boils down to a meek acceptance of the relentless forces of political correctness. Ms Albrechtsen appears to argue that because young people all want same-sex marriage, we may as well let them have it. (Just like the latest iPhone, or Playstation, presumably). Or that the ABC will always be bullies, so there’s no point in standing up to them on this particular issue. Or that the neo-Marxists will carry on storming our institutions regardless of whether SSM is legalised or not. Etc.

Perhaps she is right. However, her most accurate comment is: ‘That said, I’d prefer to vote “Yes, but…”’ That is the true position of most conservatives. Of course we would ‘like’ to vote Yes. But the inevitable long-term consequences are so concerning, and real, that it is now impossible to.

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