I’ve known that it was more likely than not I might be gay since I first learned the words to the songs in High School Musical. So you can imagine my shock when I opened The Australian on Saturday to discover that opponents of same sex marriage hold their positions because they are secretly disgusted by homosexuality.
Like many gay people, I don’t support same sex marriage and will be voting to stick to the status quo. Frankly, that in itself should dispel the kind of nonsense constantly pushed by the lefty lynch mob.
While there are many principled people who hold a different view to my own that have made thoughtful and considered contributions to the debate, the kinds of dribble pushed by the extreme left are pushing many decent people who don’t support change into a rainbow protection racket.
We’ve now landed in a pretty bizarre space in our public discourse where it now appears to be accepted amongst some that the great unwashed who don’t support change must have that view founded from a nasty place. This not only lacks intellectual robustness, it’s actually quite offensive.
There are many reasons to vote no – be it the consequences for freedom of speech and freedom of religion or the fact we’d most likely see a nationwide ‘Safe Schools’ programme where primary school kids were being taught about gay sex and partaking in transgender role plays instead of learning about our national symbols or the fact that marriage has served us well as a societal institution and the evidence for change is lacking. The sad thing is that even I am labelled as a homophobe (funnily enough – by straight people) for daring to have these concerns and to state them publicly.
All I simply ask is that just as I respect those who support change, I ask that those on the other side respect my reasons for voting no because, in Australia of all places, we shouldn’t need a rainbow protection scheme to stop the vitriolic left from attacking those with a different public policy point of view.
Given that I’m uniquely placed, it would be remiss of me not to comment specifically on the claim in The Australian that Tony Abbott and his fellow travellers oppose change because they are ‘disgusted by homosexuality’. This is patently false. I’ve worked for Eric Abetz for the best part of seven years now and, as a consequence have worked relatively closely with Abbott.
Since they became aware of my sexuality I’ve received nothing but support and encouragement – in a professional sense I’ve received several promotions, in a political sense I was strongly encouraged to run for the position I now hold on the Liberal Party’s Federal Executive and from a personal sense they have been a great source of advice and mentorship, including leaping to my defence when Mia Freedman disgustingly claimed I suffer a mental illness (because how else could a gay guy oppose same sex marriage). Plainly and simply if – as suggested – Tony Abbott, Eric Abetz et al were ‘disgusted’ by homosexuality then frankly I’d be amongst the first to know because I’d be not only out of a job pretty quickly, but I wouldn’t have had the encouragement to take on the roles I have.
For my part, I hope that the extreme left — so well versed in victimhood politics — get their heads in the game and engage on the policy issues at hand rather than continuing to see how many people they can call homophobes each day.
Josh Manuatu is the Federal Vice President of the Young Liberal Movement of Australia.
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