Australian law defines marriage as “the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.” There’s even a bit at the back that says foreign marriages between a “man and a man” or a “woman and a woman” are not recognised, so you can forget about that loophole. Oh, and if you don’t identify as a man or a woman? Well, we have a strategy for that.
This definition was passed in to law by the Howard Coalition Government in 2004.
The tide of public opinion has changed in the last decade, but the Government is still fighting for old prejudices. The current Coalition Government, led by
Tony Abbott Malcolm Turnbull finally seems to be recognising this, but they still won’t commit to making a change. The best they will do is agree to hold a plebiscite about the issue if they win the next election.
The question is:
Government ministers are not idiots. Sure, it’s easy to believe they are, but the fact is you don’t get to a senior position in the government without having the ability to negotiate the slippery twists and turns of alliances and backstabbing and compromises with one’s party, the voters, and the media. Maybe one or two drongos will slip in, but an entire government? Unlikely. So it is not stupidity.
Polls show clear support from the Australian public for marriage equality. Politicians look at polls. They say they don’t, but you just know they do. You can’t spell “politician” without “poll”. Well, most of it anyway. The current government are already on shaky ground because people are starting to realise that apart from fewer gaffes and less misogyny there is not a whole lot of difference between an Abbott Government and a Turnbull Government. So it’s not that the government is unaware of what the people want.
Let’s look at some statistics. The government knows that “there are much higher numbers of attempted suicide and self harm across the LGBTI community when compared with the general community.” That’s a link taken from an actual Australian Government agency, so the government has no excuse for not knowing. The government also knows, through a Senate report, that the plebiscite will be “potentially harmful to children and other vulnerable people in the gay and lesbian community.”
So why do the government want a plebiscite? If it’s not stupidity, and it’s not for votes, there is only one reason I can think of: the government has resigned itself to the fact that it can’t stop marriage equality, so it is hoping to drive as many LGBTI people to suicide as it can in the process. If you can’t stop “gay marriage”, I guess you can at least reduce the number of people to whom it applies.
What do you think? Are they really that evil? Or are they just a bunch of old bigots? Comment below!