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Home » Australian Politics » Brendan O’Neill speaks sense on Gay marriage in the OZ

Brendan O’Neill speaks sense on Gay marriage in the OZ

A great piece today in the Oz from my favourite Marxist Brendan O’Neil  where he succinctly explains why some otherwise sensible conservatives are taking the plunge to support this seemingly innocuous  err, cough, splutter, “reform”.

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Of course I expect that our learned friend will be onto this piece like a starving hound would be onto the fox, with a great deal sound a fury (signifying nothing) but we only have to look to Canada to see just how bad the repercussions will be if this so called reform is ever to be made manifest if  the activists and fag hags ever  get their way.
So lets leave the marriage   well enough alone and if homosexual relationships need any sort of legal recognition and social acknowledgement then lets do it through other legal and social instruments like some sort of civil union or relationship register.

Cheers Comrades

Update:

I have just read the revelation in the Oz that Tony Abbott’s sister is herself both Gay and in a committed relationship and more importantly that this has not meant that she has become persona non grata at the Abbott household where she has been welcome with her partner on numerous occasions.

Isn’t this a perfect example of just how wrong it is to insist that those who oppose the concept of gay marriage do so because they hate or fear homosexuals?

Cheers again Comrades

Update the second

As predicted our learned friend has produced a rant about Brendan’s piece in the OZ and also as predicted he is very hound like in his he desire to attack and maul the fox here but I think that he has just ended up with a mouth full of straw and dead air:

click for source

Now I am actually a student of our learned friend’s rhetoric and usually he tries to at least find something in the text which he can twist and turn to his purposes but on this occasion he goes one step further and totality invents and argument that O’Neill is not even making:

O’Neill actually argues that – get this – the government stopping trying to encourage gay people to marry straight people (which seems cruel to the straight people who marry them, to be honest) is “an invitation to yet more state interference” in our lives.

Yes, there’s less state control of our lives when the government arbitrarily tells us whether we can marry that man or that woman, purely on the grounds of our gender.

It’s the most bizarre black-is-white up-is-down argument I can remember ever seeing.

I may be wrong, but after reading the O’Neill  piece in question five times I can’t find where he argues this at all. of course Our leaned friends fans uncritically accept his argument without question

Worse still our learned friend totally misrepresents O’Neill’s actual argument as well by a mixture of selective misquoting and derision:

Brendan goes on to give us some even sillier stereotyping and false assertions (“A gay relationship is fundamentally one of romantic love, far more so than traditional marriage is”), absurd claims (“In Canada… the words husband and wife, even mother and father, have been airbrushed from official life”) and dishonest strawmen (“Collapsing together every human relationship under a mushy and meaningless redefinition of ‘marriage’”), but that backwards freedom-is-slavery line appears to be his main point, and, unlike the above common furphies, a line I’ve never seen before.

If our learned friend had actaully done some research about the situation in Canada he would discover that there is nothing  made of straw or dishonest about the way that official nomenclature has been altered in reference to family and parental roles in the wake of gay marriage there. Unlike our learned friend  Brendan O’Neill actaully knows what he is talking about when it comes to the situation in Canada.

The rest of Sear’s rant is just his typical foaming at the mouth wild hound dog  raving he is desperately trying to get a mouthful of that O’Neill fox  but all he has managed to get is teeth around is a few handfuls of rather rank  straw. In typical totalitarian style he declares himself winner as if asserting something will make it so and all the while the fox is sitting there doing a bit of indifferent grooming and leading the chorus of laughter at our learned friend’s foolishness. What a lovely way to wake up to a beautiful day!

      Cheers times three Comrades

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14 Comments

  1. Ian Gardner says:

    Quite so! It is also a perfect example of an individual prostituting himself
    at the altar of politics.

  2. Iain, the last time I looked Canada hadn’t gone to hell in a handbasket because of its pro-gay-marriage stance. What do you know that I don’t?

    Brendon O’Neill’s argument is disingenious. Is my long-term gay marriage only about romance? No, it’s about companionship, intimacy, sex, love, connection to family and community – in short, it’s exactly the same as the relationships of my straight friends.

    So why should I be turned away by the Births, Deaths, and Marriages office? Why shouldn’t the State (i.e. not the church) accept my relationship as being exactly the same as anyone else’s?

  3. Iain Hall says:

    Hi Nigel

    Is my long-term gay marriage only about romance? No, it’s about companionship, intimacy, sex, love, connection to family and community – in short, it’s exactly the same as the relationships of my straight friends.

    The thing is most straight couples do one thing together that no Gay couple can do without the intervention of either a third party or medical science and that is to make and raise the next generation of people as O’Neill points out that is the primary purpose of marriage.

    So why should I be turned away by the Births, Deaths, and Marriages office? Why shouldn’t the State (i.e. not the church) accept my relationship as being exactly the same as anyone else’s?

    I agree that you shouldn’t be turned away Nigel but I would argue that another separate legal instrument other than the marriage act should be created to cover relationships like yours.

  4. Iain,

    A few things:
    – it’s a pedantic point, but most straight couples rely on medical sciene to give birth, too; sure many don’t have to do, but they do, regardless. Also, many straight couples require science to aid procreation.
    – if we take a purely legal definition of marriage, as in the Marriage Act, where does it say that the primary purpose is to raise childern? That is a religious definition, which is fine, but religion shouldn’t apply to matters of the state.
    – if we did a straw-poll of the average person in the street, the vast majority would say that they got married/or want to get married to beat lonelineness.
    – if we take religion away from matters of the state, why should there be a need for a separate document to cover homosexual relationships? There is only one honest answer: some people aren’t comfortable with seeing two men or two women getting married; they see it as an afront to their own lives, no doubt the same way that some peope decades ago didn’t want black people to swim at the same beaches as white people.

    Let’s look at the maths for a moment: between 2 and 5% of the population are gay (and the science tells us that it’s genetic). Of those, perhaps only half are in long-term relationships (but that figure would rise if they had an appropriate legal avenue to recognise their unions), and not all those would want to get married, as not all straight couples want to get married. So let’s just give this group of people the respect they deserve, acknowledge their relationships in the Act, give them – and their children – the protection they beed, and then we can all get back to living our lives.

  5. Iain Hall says:

    Nigel

    – it’s a pedantic point, but most straight couples rely on medical science to give birth, too; sure many don’t have to do, but they do, regardless. Also, many straight couples require science to aid procreation.

    Its not the giving birth part I was referring to, rather I was pointing out the obvious that a same sex couple can not produce offspring that are the fruits of their union.

    – if we take a purely legal definition of marriage, as in the Marriage Act, where does it say that the primary purpose is to raise children? That is a religious definition, which is fine, but religion shouldn’t apply to matters of the state.

    I’m not making my argument on nor is it inspired by a faith position. While I tend to agree with you that the state should not be imposing any sort of religious notions on its people I don’t see the definition of marriage as being something between one man and one women entered into for life as at all religiously based, rather is is a recognition of the commonly understood meaning of marriage.

    – if we did a straw-poll of the average person in the street, the vast majority would say that they got married/or want to get married to beat likeliness(loneliness?).

    As I see it the urge to form a pair bond is both visceral and not something that is always honestly described I don’t don’t think that your straw poll would really get to the heart of the matter.

    – if we take religion away from matters of the state, why should there be a need for a separate document to cover homosexual relationships? There is only one honest answer: some people aren’t comfortable with seeing two men or two women getting married; they see it as an affront to their own lives, no doubt the same way that some people decades ago didn’t want black people to swim at the same beaches as white people.

    You answer your own question to some extent here Nigel, there are a lot of people who are very uncomfortable that very small group of heterodox individuals want to change an institution and its legal instruments to suit their particular desires. And they are also rather unhappy that for merely objecting to the notion of Gay marriage they are subject to vilification on the basis of a hatred that they don’t feel or intend towards homosexuals. Creating some form of civil union can address all of the relationship recognition that is desired without pissing off people who would otherwise be very supportive of anyone who is gay.

    Let’s look at the maths for a moment: between 2 and 5% of the population are gay (and the science tells us that it’s genetic). Of those, perhaps only half are in long-term relationships (but that figure would rise if they had an appropriate legal avenue to recognise their unions), and not all those would want to get married, as not all straight couples want to get married. So let’s just give this group of people the respect they deserve, acknowledge their relationships in the Act, give them – and their children – the protection they need, and then we can all get back to living our lives.

    I really don’t think that there is any reason to believe that the ability to marry is going to alter the number of gay people who are in long term stable relationships, it certainly does little to keep people together in straight ones!( I have been with the same woman for thirty years whereas all around me friends an family have had a every changing serries of differing patetneships. But I agree with you about giving people the respect they deserve when they make a long term go of their relationships I just don’t think taht changeing the definition of marrige is going to do it for Gay couples unless they can actaully do the hard yards of sticking together through thick and thin.

  6. Ray Dixon says:

    some people aren’t comfortable with seeing two men or two women getting married; they see it as an afront to their own lives, no doubt the same way that some peope decades ago didn’t want black people to swim at the same beaches as white people.

    There it is … the “bigot argument”. If you are in any way opposed to the current heterosexual Marriage Act being changed to include same-sex relationships, you are somehow as much a bigot as those who refused to mix with blacks, according to Nigel et al.

    That’s a poor argument, Nigel, and one that won’t get you anywhere in your quest for so-called equality.

    The fact is that the existing ‘Marriage Act’ was framed specifically to cover the marriage of men & women, to each other. It does not deal with homosexual couples and was never intended to. So, if same sex couples want a law passed to allow them to be formally married too then why the necessity to change the existing hetero Act when a separate Act would cover that? QED.

  7. GD says:

    Nigel said:

    give them – and their children – the protection they need

    Oh really? Are gay couples endangered now by current laws? Don’t they already have the same rights as heterosexual couples in law?

    BTW good comment, Ray and as Nigel states:

    between 2 and 5% of the population are gay… Of those, perhaps only half are in long-term relationships

    So on that basis, we should overturn the institution of marriage, which for thousands of years has been between a man and a woman and always had the propensity to procreate, and instead replace it with a ‘one on one’ relationship which subjugates procreation to secondary status. After all, you can always buy eggs, sperm and injections. That’s what parenting is really about isn’t it?

    This is a minuscule portion of the population demanding that we change the marriage law so they can pretend to be parents, pretend to be, husband and…husband, or wife and wife. Given that this minuscule portion aren’t actually asking for this, but that activists, mostly heterosexual, are the ones demanding it, it seems odd that this issue is taking prime position in the media, rather than the issues that concern the general populace.

    Less than 5% of Australians are gay. It stands to reason that a smaller percentile desperately need to call themselves ‘married’.

    At the minute, over 60% of Australians disagree with the Carbon Tax. A larger percentile are disgruntled with Labor, and most people would prefer that Julia wasn’t in charge of our nation.

    Is gay marriage really an issue at this time? Yes, we can walk and chew gum at the same time, but gay marriage really is an afterthought for most people.

  8. Iain et al,

    The cold harsh reality is that the Marriage Act in Australia does NOT reflect the reality. It has never been and will never be a ticket to procreate.

    As to the ‘bigot argument’. If a bigot is someone who is ‘strongly partial to one’s own group, religion, race, or politics and is intolerant of those who differ’, then I completely and utterly suggest that this is what this argument is about for many people.

    As to numbers: I am simply suggesting that allowing same-sex couples to marry will never undermine marriage as the ‘bedrock’ (as John Howard ludicrously but hilariously put it) of society.

    And just because the Indiginous population is so small – roughly about the same size as the gay community – we shouldn’t have had the ’68 referendum?

    A mature, honourable society would abolish the Marriage Act and have a Civil Union Act, which would be the only legal instrument to recognise adult relationships. Then, if people want to have their celebration in a church and call it marriage, they could do so. Yes, that’s what a mature, hobourable society should do.

    Do you want to keep sending a message to gay and lesbian youth that their relationships are second-class?

  9. Iain Hall says:

    Nigel
    Firstly good on you for the civil debate you have been offering here.

    The cold harsh reality is that the Marriage Act in Australia does NOT reflect the reality. It has never been and will never be a ticket to procreate.

    Sure people have children all the time without the benefit of wedlock, but that does not change the fact that the underlying intention of the institution of marriage is all about protecting the interests of the children of that union rather than endorsing the relationship of its participants. The essential thrust of the Gay marriage advocacy is all about wanting society to endorse and validate same sex unions. Well I think that this can be achieved through an legal instrument other than the marriage act.

    As to the ‘bigot argument’. If a bigot is someone who is ‘strongly partial to one’s own group, religion, race, or politics and is intolerant of those who differ’, then I completely and utterly suggest that this is what this argument is about for many people.

    I think that you miss the point that we are making here that to play the “bigot card” essentially ends up alienating those who would otherwise be very supportive of homosexuals and their right to live and love as they please.

    As to numbers: I am simply suggesting that allowing same-sex couples to marry will never undermine marriage as the ‘bedrock’ (as John Howard ludicrously but hilariously put it) of society.

    Lets go back a step here and consider what is being sought here. I think that the underlying desire here is for social validation and acceptance of homosexual unions, which I agree is a desirable thing, where I disagree is that the notion of the small tail wagging the rather large dog will not achieve that end.

    And just because the Indigenous population is so small – roughly about the same size as the gay community – we shouldn’t have had the ’68 referendum?

    The referendum of 68 had an amazingly positive response of more than 90% for the proposition to include indigenous people in the Census. If a plebiscite on Gay marriage were to get a similar result I would consider changing my position but I suspect that the result would be far less decisive.

    A mature, honourable society would abolish the Marriage Act and have a Civil Union Act, which would be the only legal instrument to recognise adult relationships. Then, if people want to have their celebration in a church and call it marriage, they could do so. Yes, that’s what a mature, honourable society should do.

    This is the tail wagging the dog territory once again Nigel a mature society would meet the needs and desires of homosexual couple with legislation that create civil unions for them. As it stands now there is no reason that a gay couple can’t have a big party and declare their intentions and commitment to those who matter (their friends and family)

    Do you want to keep sending a message to gay and lesbian youth that their relationships are second-class?

    Its not a matter of first or second class its a matter of two good things having some fundamental differences rather like the differences between driving a car and a motorcycle, each will get you to your destination but each requires a different skill set to drive and a different licence.

  10. Ray Dixon says:

    A mature, honourable society would abolish the Marriage Act and have a Civil Union Act, which would be the only legal instrument to recognise adult relationships. Then, if people want to have their celebration in a church and call it marriage, they could do so. Yes, that’s what a mature, hobourable society should do.

    That’s a very confused perspective, Nigel. Firstly, the Marriage Act has nothing to do with religion and churches. People can be married in a registry office or by civil celebrant if they choose, and many do. The church service with a Minister pronouncing ‘man & wife’ is merely ceremonial and not part of the legal process of marriage. Secondly, saying that the existing Marriage Act should be “abolished” seems to suggest this is as much about envy and a desire to tear down established institutions than actually reform them.

  11. I just think that people who oppose same-sex marriage should reflect on why they have issues with this, and be honest with themselves. Covering up bigotry by overlaying complex but ultimately vacuous arguments isn’t the way to go. Obviously there are people out there who have harsher views on this matter than you express, or Ray expresses.

    And the gay community, too, or those who are pro same-sex marriage, should also reflect on why this matters so much.

    To me it comes down to this scenario:

    Two couples go to the Birth, Deaths and Marriages office. Both couples have been together five years. Both couples have children: Couple A has a child through artificial insemintation; Couple B has two children from a previous relationship. Both couples want to get married so they can have their relationship – and their respective children – to have the full protection and acknowledgment of the law, and to stand up in front of their community and say, We’re serious about this, and we want everyone to know that, and to have your support if and when we need it. However, the Birth, Deaths and Marriages office turns away Couple B, because it is a union comprised of two men. The office is turning them away because of gender – that one of them isn’t a woman. Why should the office, which is an instrument of the state, make judgements based on gender in the context of adult and committed relationships?

    One solution – the one I advocate – is for both couples to be not turned away, that there is one Act which applies to both couples. The solution that many soft progressives advocate is for Couple A to have access to the Marriage Act but Couple B has access to a Civil Union Act (which, in a related sub-option, could also be available to Couple A, as it would be for all relationships regardless of gender).

    There is some pragmatic sense in Australia moving to a Civil Union Act as a first step. Everyone will see that it does no harm to anyone; they will get used to going to same-sex marriages, perhaps even seeing them reported on the TV. It will become a normal part of society, and a new generation will see it simply as not a big deal. And that generation will then move to strike out one of the Acts, and have it open to all.

    But why should we wait a generation or two for full equality when we could achieve it now, and then focus our attention on other important matters?

    PS Iain, the tail-wagging-the-dog argument can never wash with the politics of social reform, because otherwise there’d be no reforms for any minority!

  12. Iain Hall says:

    Nigel

    I just think that people who oppose same-sex marriage should reflect on why they have issues with this, and be honest with themselves. Covering up bigotry by overlaying complex but ultimately vacuous arguments isn’t the way to go. Obviously there are people out there who have harsher views on this matter than you express, or Ray expresses.

    I have, as you suggest, reflected long and hard on this issue and I sincerely believe that my reasons for opposing any changes to the way that we, as a society, define marriage are not in any way vacuous. It boils down to a couple of things, firstly the “if it ain’t broke then don’t fix it” principle. marriage may not be perfect as an institution but on the whole the traditional view that it is a one woman one man partnership works to the benefit of society and (more importantly) to the benefit of the children that we need to continue the species and if we are to change this then we had better do our darnedest to make sure that there are not adverse unintended consequences. Secondly I think that homosexual relationships will not get the desired social acceptance by forcing a change to the marriage act and there may in fact be much more to lose for “gay rights” than will be gained. Thirdly I think that since the changes to remove discrimination against same sex couples wrought by the Rudd government there is no practical need for such changes.

    And the gay community, too, or those who are pro same-sex marriage, should also reflect on why this matters so much.

    I agree with this Nigel 😉

    To me it comes down to this scenario:

    Two couples go to the Birth, Deaths and Marriages office. Both couples have been together five years. Both couples have children: Couple A has a child through artificial insemintation; Couple B has two children from a previous relationship. Both couples want to get married so they can have their relationship – and their respective children – to have the full protection and acknowledgment of the law, and to stand up in front of their community and say, We’re serious about this, and we want everyone to know that, and to have your support if and when we need it. However, the Birth, Deaths and Marriages office turns away Couple B, because it is a union comprised of two men. The office is turning them away because of gender – that one of them isn’t a woman. Why should the office, which is an instrument of the state, make judgements based on gender in the context of adult and committed relationships?

    The Birth, Deaths and Marriages office already administer and supply different legal instruments and there is no reason that they would be unable or excessively burdened by also doing the same for civil partnerships. Further with the very common circumstance of blended families any new relationship does not need or imply that a parent’s new partner will take on any parental responsibility with their union.

    One solution – the one I advocate – is for both couples to be not turned away, that there is one Act which applies to both couples. The solution that many soft progressives advocate is for Couple A to have access to the Marriage Act but Couple B has access to a Civil Union Act (which, in a related sub-option, could also be available to Couple A, as it would be for all relationships regardless of gender).

    Yep the Birth, Deaths and Marriages office could do all of that.

    There is some pragmatic sense in Australia moving to a Civil Union Act as a first step. Everyone will see that it does no harm to anyone; they will get used to going to same-sex marriages, perhaps even seeing them reported on the TV. It will become a normal part of society, and a new generation will see it simply as not a big deal. And that generation will then move to strike out one of the Acts, and have it open to all.

    But why should we wait a generation or two for full equality when we could achieve it now, and then focus our attention on other important matters?

    The longest journey begins with one small step Nigel and it never pays to jump too far ahead. You see as I have got older (and I’m nearer to sixty than to fifty) I have become far more keen to hasten slowly lest I make a misstep and stumble than I was in my youth and I cling to aphorisms such as “softly softly, catchie monkey” above urgings to “go for it”with out due thought to what could possibly go wrong.

    PS Iain, the tail-wagging-the-dog argument can never wash with the politics of social reform, because otherwise there’d be no reforms for any minority!

    No, of course I disagree with that because the tail has to convince the dog that wagging is a great idea rather than just shaking the hound before it is ready to oscillate. 😉

  13. Iain, about long journeys and due thought: there have been numerous parliamentary inquiries about this issue over the last decade. Enough’s enough. We shouldn’t ruin another generation of young people just because we can’t see that legalising same-sex marriage is a healthy and respectful action to take.

  14. Iain Hall says:

    Nigel
    As I have pointed out before I am rather sure that one way or another the issue of Gay marriage has very little to do with the acceptance homosexuality per se.
    If you want to achieve that then it will take time for people to see that there is nothing to fear from Gay people living and loving openly.Evolution rather than revolution if you like. I suspect that you and your partner are doing more good in your day to day life in the community than all of the angry activists who confront and intimidate those of us who disagree with Gay marriage

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