Flat White

Whatever happened to that same-sex marriage boom?

5 July 2018

9:55 AM

5 July 2018

9:55 AM

Now that all the glitter has settled after last year’s non-binding voluntary postal survey—remember, we couldn’t be trusted to have a plebiscite, let alone a fair dinkum referendum—just exactly how many of the LGBTIQ community have tied the knot? Well, rather than being the over-whelming flood, it has turned out to be nothing more than a trickle. In short, we were conned.

Never one to let the facts—or in this case, statistics—get in the way of a good story, the ABC has presented the figures with some quite ingenious accounting.

The 2016 Census revealed that there are 46,800 same-sex couples living together in Australia. Of these couples, 3,142 reported they were the husband or wife of someone of the same sex (presumably because they were married overseas). If we combine this figure with the number of same-sex marriages registered in the last six months, it appears that over 10 per cent of same-sex couples who live together are now married.

Now, while even the figure of ten per cent is not exactly a sign of overwhelming support if we take away the 3,142 previously married couples (“presumably because they were married overseas”) from the total of 46,800 same-sex couples we have a figure of 43,658. According to Junkee, there have been “just shy of 2,500 same-sex marriages” registered in Australia since marriage was redefined. And this brings the actual percentage down to a more realistic 5.7 per cent. All of which means that 94.3 per cent of same-sex couples within the ‘rainbow spectrum’ have decided to stay exactly as they are, thank you very much.

Now, if the figure of 5.7 per cent seems like something less than a ringing endorsement, you’re right. But then just consider this. According to the 2016 census, those 46,800 same-sex couples comprised a measly 0.4 per cent of the entire population. What we can see now, though, is that far less than the confidently predicted 50 per cent of same-sex couples have jumped at the chance to get married. Instead, the figure is more like 5 per cent. It makes you almost want to ask, “And why did they want to change this, again?”

According to the ABC ‘marriage equality’ was supposed to create a veritable economic boom. Their financial forecast was that it would inject a billion dollars into the Australian economy. However, not only was that figure highly speculative, but it was also predicated on the assumption that over half of same-sex couples would decide to get hitched within the first year of marriage being redefined.


Not to be outdone, the Courier Mail pontificated that marriage redefinition would bring in $650 million and create 8,000 jobs. But rather than rely on any hard-statistical data or scientific research, they based their projected figure entirely on a Workplace diversity expert…need we say more?

But it was the SMH who went further than everyone else and said that redefining marriage would bring in a whopping three billion dollars! But again, this was on the basis that every same-sex couple decided to be married and that they each spent $65,482—they based this total on a 2015 survey from Bride to Be magazine—on their weddings. Interestingly, the article also went on to quote from the same ANZ financial report that the ABC article referred too and concluded that ‘marriage equality’ would only generate not one billion, but only half a billion. But then again, economic accuracy has not been one of the ABC’s strong points, especially of late.

So, it turns out that when you factor in how much money was spent campaigning to change—and defend—the institution of marriage it’s probably ended up costing the Australian economy more than it actually made. It seems then that Peter Martin, Fairfax economics correspondence, was absolutely right when he warned:

Almost always whenever someone claims something will benefit the economy they are wrong. Look at a graph of GDP either side of the Sydney Olympics and you won’t see anything other than a drop in GDP during the Games. Tourism flatlined then fell after the Games. It didn’t start growing strongly again until 2004. Even the Olympic Stadium, which we were told would be a lasting legacy, is, according to the premier, so clapped out it ought to be torn down.

When it comes to debunking the myth that redefining marriage would create this incredible economic prosperity, Michael Potter provides the best and most succinct analysis. What he says about the argument is that:

It is wrong. It is basically magic pudding economics; those running this line don’t understand how the economy works.

In short, what they miss is that the money for gay weddings doesn’t come out of thin air: it comes from somewhere else in the economy. In order to spend money on a wedding, the money comes either from reduced spending elsewhere, or from reduced saving.

Obviously, spending on a wedding that is offset by reduced spending elsewhere doesn’t provide an economic stimulus…

Basically, gay weddings do not create money; and their absence does not destroy money. People arguing for gay weddings should be looking elsewhere for their justification.

It’s probably apt at this point to recall that there were a number of LGBTIQ people who were publicly outspoken in their opposition to the ‘heteronormative’ institution of marriage fro the very beginning. For instance, the feminist, lesbian academic from RMIT in Melbourne, Dr Caroline Norma wrote:

A “no” vote in the postal plebiscite by all right-minded citizens is crucial for turning this ship around, and bringing back to Australian public life the sparky radicalism of lesbians and gays not so eager to reflect back to heterosexuals their own image tediously magnified.

So, there you have it, folks. The vast majority of the Australian public has been conned. The LGBTIQ community never really wanted to get married. At least, that’s what 94.3 per cent of them actually think. But that shouldn’t really surprise us, because as Marsha Gessen, the lesbian political activist, told the 2012 Sydney Writer’s Festival: “Fighting for gay marriage generally involves lying about what we are going to do with marriage when we get there. Because we lie that the institution of marriage is not going to change. And that is a lie.”

Mark Powell is the Associate Pastor of Cornerstone Presbyterian Church, Strathfield.

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