The real reason for the “gay marriage” plebiscite in Australia.

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:

Why?

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!

 

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Islam: Religion of violence or religion of peace? The definitive answer

Islam is a  hot topic right now, and with the rise of extremists and islamophobes who claim that the religion is all about violence (and for practically the same reasons), I decided to do a little bit of research and find out the answer for myself.

So, is Islam violent or peaceful? I picked out in a selection of three verses from the Qur’an which appear to support violence:

  1. Surah 2, verse 191: “And slay them wherever ye catch them, and turn them out from where they have Turned you out; for tumult and oppression are worse than slaughter; but fight them not at the Sacred Mosque, unless they (first) fight you there; but if they fight you, slay them. Such is the reward of those who suppress faith.”
  2. Surah 4, verse 74: “Therefore let those fight in the way of Allah, who sell this world’s life for the hereafter; and whoever fights in the way of Allah, then be he slain or be he victorious, We shall grant him a mighty reward.”
  3. Surah 61, verse 4: “Truly Allah loves those who fight in His Cause in battle array, as if they were a solid cemented structure.”

Some pretty solid stuff there. But it isn’t fair and balanced reporting if I don’t also mention three verses that refer to Islam as a religion of peace:

  1. Surah 2, verse 256: “Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error: whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks. And Allah heareth and knoweth all things.”
  2. Surah 9, verse 6: “And if anyone of the idolaters seeketh thy protection (O Muhammad), then protect him so that he may hear the Word of Allah, and afterward convey him to his place of safety. That is because they are a folk who know not.”
  3. Surah 41, verse 33: “The good deed and the evil deed are not alike. Repel the evil deed with one which is better, then lo! he, between whom and thee there was enmity (will become) as though he was a bosom friend”

There’s probably a whole lot more, but I decided to limit my search to three of each because I’m not a religious scholar and I write this blog in my spare time. This was enough to prove that this approach will not provide a definitive answer, especially since the verses were all cherry-picked and taken completely out of context.

This got me thinking that maybe Islam is not a religion that promotes violence or peace. Maybe, just like other 1,000+ year old religions based on a text filled with archaic and often contradictory verses, it is just a religion followed by a large number of people and open to their individual interpretations. Some of those people want to kill every non-Muslim and put the world to fire and sword, and some of those people want to live in peace and harmony with all mankind, and probably most fit somewhere in the middle.

And so it comes to pass that the people who want to kill every non-Muslim and put the world to fire and sword read the Qur’an and look for the verses that can be interpreted as saying “kill every non-Muslim and put the world to fire and sword”. And the people who want to live in peace and harmony with all mankind read the Qur’an and look for verses that can be interpreted as saying “live in peace and harmony with all mankind”. And each do their thing while claiming the Qur’an as their authority to do so.

I guess the real message here is that we shouldn’t lump all Muslims together as a homogenous group (i.e., the basic definition of bigotry), the same way we don’t lump all Christians together as a homogenous group.

Those whacky bisexuals!

I discovered this article (NSFW – there is a picture with half a nipple showing) by the Daily Mail about an incident in which part of artist/songwriter/musician Amanda Palmer’s breast was accidentally visible during a recent show.

The article is a pathetic piece of rubbish, and I’m not surprised the author hid behind the nom de honte “DAILY MAIL REPORTER”. For one thing, Ms Palmer has never been ashamed of her body and is more than happy to flaunt it to whomever is interested. I’m not sure she would be any more embarrassed by a brief nipple slip than I would be by an untied shoelace (for example, see her NSFW response to the article).

But I’m going to ignore on that, and focus on this little nugget printed towards the end of the text portion of the article. The pre-ante-penultimate sentence begins, “The bi-sexual singer also wore a pair of…”

So, why mention that she is bisexual? I looked at a bunch of other articles from the US Showbiz section of their website, and none of them mentioned the sexuality of the person being written about (note: although that last one about Jillian Michaels mentions her same-sex partner, they don’t go to the trouble of enlightening us as to whether she is lesbian or bisexual). Even this article, which refers to the fact that Darren Criss is playing an openly gay character (in which mention of Mr Criss’ sexuality may at least be justified in the context of the acting challenge involved in a straight person playing a gay person), doesn’t say word one about his sexuality.

So why this bolt from the blue, bearing such a burning bulletin of ballsy bisexuality?

Bigotry.

Look at those crazy bisexuals and the whacky things they do!

Their customs are different from us!

We should mock them and revel with glee at their embarrassment when their silliness backfires!

They didn’t mention where she gew up. They didn’t mention where she went to college. They didn’t mention what her parents were like. They didn’t even mention the fact that she is married. Amanda’s sexuality does not define her. Like all of these things, and more, it is just one part of who she is. Yet when pointing out all of her crazy antics and hi-jinks, the authore chose to remind everyone of that particular fact. Way to encourage bigotry and reinforce negative stereotypes, Daily Mail!