I have been making a sort of trial balance on the same-sex marriage campaign; not the nitty gritty of the arguments, but a few aspects of the debate that have particularly struck me. Here are some of them.
What is it all about? I have already voted and I voted No, so I am not unbiased or uncommitted. I voted No because I am convinced we are facing a campaign to undermine and destroy some of our basic institutions that are the foundations of our civilisation. Marriage is one that stands in the way. And it is a good prize; if you can get rid of traditional marriage, at the same time you weaken the role of the churches and the traditional family and establish a beach head in schools.
Mass hysteria. The overwhelming impression I have had of the campaign is how easy it has been to get the public in the grip of mass hysteria. The miniscule activist section of the community who want this change has got it going from virtually no public demand to the point where any view to the contrary is now simply unacceptable and those who dare hold any such opinion are branded as outcasts and pariahs.
The Left. Once again, it shows how organised the Left can be when it gets the bit between its teeth. It is not as if they start with committee meetings, plan a campaign, call for volunteers and distribute the work, No, when the Left take up a cause, everyone knows what their role will be and they slip into it automatically; the letter writing squad automatically starts writing, the arts mafia instantly sing the same song, petitions are already set in stone, the ABC knows who to promote and the rest just follows. If conservative forces do not learn from this maelstrom, they are doomed.
The Labor party. Two things have struck me about the ALP in this campaign. First, most of its activists have remained silent, which makes me wonder if the party really supports SSM. As we learn from Senator Polley in Tasmania, the ALP hierarchy is telling opponents of SSM in its ranks to ‘vote No, but talk Yes’, i.e. to lie. But, secondly, ‘No’ is its official line. It is therefore amazing that the party should so lightly abandon traditional marriage as part of its titanic struggle with the Greens as the Greens make their long march through the inner suburbs. So the ALP has foolishly alienated its loyal base in pursuit of the chimera of Green votes which it can never win.
The Liberal party, Mr Pyne and the ‘bed-wetters’. It should not be forgotten that we are an inch away from SSM thanks to a handful of Liberal party MPs hanging out at Sydney’s Cherry Bar apparently besotted by this issue and little else. They reactivated an issue that was dormant, exposed a very real split in the party, diverted the public’s attention from all other issues, gave a major headache to the prime minister who cannot control his party and have surely cemented in the public mind that this is a party capable of being aroused only by the latest fad. Is it any wonder that so many of its traditional voters, like me, are looking elsewhere?
The ABC. It must be obvious that the so-called independent ABC is a vigorous axe-grinder for the Yes case, using every subterfuge to get favourable exposure for that side and where the only references to the No case are snide innuendos and the denigration of anyone who speaks on its behalf. More importantly, it is a foretaste of what is in store for the coalition parties at the next election. Frankly, they deserve everything they get, by their persistent refusal to enforce impartiality on the organisation, their continued force- feeding of money into the colossus, and by ever-expanding its ambit.
Courage. An atmosphere like the current one, with the herd instinct and mass hysteria in full flight, nevertheless produces a few heroes who will stick to principle. John Howard and Tony Abbott have been exemplary, as you would expect. One not so well known who has come to the fore is Mark LoGiudice, the president of the Carlton Football team. When the AFL went political and decided to support only one side of this contentious issue, he refused to join in and declared that football was for football and not propaganda. Truly he kept his head when all around him were losing theirs. Now, that’s courage.
Naivety. It is touching to see the naivety of those who accept from the Yes protagonists that SSM is the only thing they want and that it will not lead to more demands of a similar kind. If this were true, it would be the first such experience since the Greeks got their famous horse into Troy. Campaigns for so-called social reforms cannot survive unless there is a new instalment to move onto and SSM will provide plenty. Demands for an apology, a public education campaign and the promotion of some form of state policy on marriage will be virtually guaranteed. Moreover, if marriage is given its new definition, it will obviously be legitimate for schools to teach the wonders and attractions of that form of marriage.
The gay community. One of the myths about changing this most basic principle of our society is that the entire gay community want it done. The apparatchiks obviously do. But many others do not and they have told me so, as it goes too far and will produce a backlash. After all, the whole basis of the gay community and the vibrant culture it has created is freedom from such restrictions. The gay community would be the first to assert that their relationships, although there are many that are commendably long term, are singularly inappropriate to what we have known for thousands of years as marriage.
Subscribe to The Spectator Australia today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator Australia for less – just $20 for 10 issues