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Putting Pandora back in the marriage equality box

By Jim Wallaceposted Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Slogans such as ‘marriage equality’ and ‘equal love’ have dominated the gay marriage debate so far. But as the federal parliament inches closer to dealing with the three ‘marriage equality’ bills that are before it, we are finally beginning to see their consequences.

During the recent Senate Hearings into one of the bills, the Green’s Marriage Equality Amendment Bill, former High Court Justice Michael Kirby was asked what logical reason could be given for not extending ‘marriage equality’ to other configurations of love such as consenting polygamous and polyamorous ones.

“The question that is before the parliament at the moment is the question of equality for homosexual people,” he told the Senate.“There may be, in some future time, some other question.

The lesson in courts and in the parliament, I suggest, is that you take matters step by step.”

And it is clear by recent events that there are those who are very interested in seeing those next steps.

Last week, leaders of Australia’s polyamorous community expressed disappointment with Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young for rejecting equality for their relationships.

Hanson-Young is yet to respond to the specific question of whether the Greens will drop their support of ‘marriage for all’ and the clear expectation the bi-sexual community in particular has in their policy.

This week The Punch and SBS featured a polygamous relationship in which the participants complained of discrimination from authorities and said if it were legal they would marry.

Of course such talk is dangerous indeed for gay activists, and Rodney Croome, the campaign director for Australian Marriage Equality, felt it necessary to explain why ‘marriage equality’ did not apply to the poly communities, so as not to unhinge his own campaign.

Ironically, many of his arguments mirrored those used against same-sex marriage.

Croome says that same-sex attraction is ‘immutable’ but then tells the poly community their sexual attraction is a choice, which seems strangely at odds with his allies the Greens, who must surely treat all these sexualities equally.

Or do they now suddenly believe that we shouldn’t treat everyone’s love equally?

Certainly such intolerance from gay activists seems less than acceptable to Nikko Antalffy who recently gave a rambling defence of polyamory in a national newspaper, claiming it takes us back to our pre medieval natural desires.

But let’s be honest, they are in reality pagan desires, customs rightly long rejected, and now only contemplated by a parliament that is perhaps less esteemed than any in the country’s history. A parliament forced to consider the intolerable due only to the artificial power of the Greens.

Marriage was institutionalised to protect not only society from the nonsense of things like multiple unions, but specifically children. Unless children were involved, government would have no interest in marriage.

Neither gay nor polyamorous “marriages” could serve the interests of children. Gay marriage by definition denies a child either a mother or a father. Mother love and father love that no amount of gay-activist-dominated studies can tell a parent doesn’t matter to a child.

Croome says another reason for not extending marriage equality to polyamorous people is that it would complicate the family law system.

But in some states gay activism has already erased fathers from birth certificates and led to the nonsense of even a single man being able to get a child through surrogacy.

In Croome’s mind this level of complication to family law, not to mention to the child, is OK.

How insulting it must be to polyamorous people to be told by Croome that their love is less equal and that the ‘group dynamics’ of their relationships means they can’t have ‘marriage equality’.

He argues their relationships are less stable. So too are same-sex relationships, when compared to marriage, but try using this as an argument for man-woman marriage without being demonised.

Again, more breathtaking double standards.

Comments by polyamorous activists such as James Dominguez and his wife Rebecca, show they are deadly serious about rights for their community.

They live with Mr Dominguez’s boyfriend and Mrs Dominguez’s boyfriend and went to the trouble of lodging a submission to the Senate inquiry.

In blog comments last week, Mr Dominguez expects that the Greens will champion any future popular move to legalise poly marriage.

He says no-where in the world where same-sex marriage has been legalised has there been a push for poly marriage.

This is simply untrue. The first country to legalise same-sex marriage, Holland, now allows civil law contracts for polygamists.

In seeking to allay society’s concern of a slippery slope, activists assure us that same-sex marriage is a natural stopping point, but if nature can be brought into this argument, then surely biological marriage is the natural stopping point.

It is time to move past the slogans and consider the consequences for society and children of redefining marriage. Because clearly there is an agenda well beyond the current claim on it.

Re posted under the terms of its Creative Commons licence from Online Opinion


  1. benbourke says:

    It can be a very slippery slope, no doubt about it. In the course of my studies at university, we were made to research statistical evidence that showed children did not suffer from gender identity confusion, or any other social/emotional/psychological effects.

    When I tried to direct my lecturer to an example of a pre-pubescent boy living with 2 lesbian mothers requesting to have his penis removed and become a girl, I was silenced. If anyone finds that to be a spurious example, you can find the detailed story here http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2043345/The-California-boy-11-undergoing-hormone-blocking-treatment.html

    Note to the administrator: I also liked one of your previous posts on the lunatic Bob Brown. I pinched your image for my own blog which can be viewed here http://benbourke.wordpress.com/2012/06/06/alien-in-our-midst/

    Please let me know if this is ok. If not, I will replace it.

  2. alan says:

    so you’re an expert statistician are you ben?
    so how about detailing some of those stats please.
    one article in a paper tells you exactly sfa about the stats.
    i can’t be bothered reading the article, but if the lesos were fruit loops would not surprise me.
    fruit loops can be found anywhere, although it’s amazing how many you find on the blogs of conservatives…..don’t you reckon?

    did the stats tell you brown was a lunatic too?
    what did they say about abbott?

    i would estimate the probability that you know anything about stats as zero.

    and if your lecturer really did try to silence you, he was pretty dumb i would think.
    maybe he wanted to save you from looking silly?

    anyway, i know a lesbian couple with 3 kids(including twins),2 boys and a girl.
    the twins go to secondary college.
    they’re just like other kids, but the very best part about them is that they won’t grow up to be bigoted dick heads.
    the only problem i have is that one of them attends church!
    although nobody actually tries to dissuade him from doing so.
    hopefully he will grow out of it.

  3. GD says:

    When I tried to direct my lecturer to an example of a pre-pubescent boy living with 2 lesbian mothers requesting to have his penis removed and become a girl, I was silenced.

    Ben, isn’t it wonderful that in the halls of academia you were silenced for wanting to discuss a different point of view on a subject? 😦

    At least you weren’t abused for daring to suggest an alternative example, unlike here with the previous commenter.

    On behalf of Iain, welcome to the Sandpit 🙂

  4. alan says:

    you can call me by my name gd….it’s ok, i won’t be offended.
    read any books by booker lately???

    anyway, show me exactly where it was that i abused HIM(benbourke)??
    i just said his stats ability is zilch, and it is, if he thinks one example of something demonstrates anything whatsoever, but that’s not abuse.
    it’s just you showing distaste your of me, and that’s fine, the feeling is mutual.

  5. Simon says:

    Not so inconceivable seeing as polygamous marriage is already recognized in many more countries than those that currently allow same sex unions. Of course there is a strong religious aspect to those sorts of marriages, and while there is the strong push towards a multicultural Australia it has yet to extend to full recognition of those relationships when the family moves from Africa or the Middle East to the Land Down Under; not counting applications for welfare assistance.

    Western-style marriage has never been static concept, notably fulfilling different roles depending on your social standing or class throughout the ages. Its current use by the great unwashed is that of a union between a man and a woman in love and wanting to share the rest of their lives together, and being bothered enough to go through the process of organizing a celebration and completing the paperwork. It no longer stands as the prerequisite for bringing children into the world, or as the unbreakable bond that apparently it once was. I can see that a same sex couple might think they want that too – and it being unfair that they can’t because they have the same bits as their partner in the pants department.

    I don’t think allowing gay marriage is a slippery slope to stranger combinations, but neither do I think the argument of a pressing need for such change has been made.

  6. GD says:

    a multicultural Australia…has yet to extend to full recognition of those relationships when the family moves from Africa or the Middle East to the Land Down Under; not counting applications for welfare assistance.

    So for all intents and purposes, the government recognises polygamous marriages, albeit not socially.

    The general manager of Centrelink, Hank Jongen, admitted the agency was making payments to people in multiple-couple relationships.

    “There’s nothing preventing them from being in more than one ‘member of a couple’ relationship at a time,” he said. “In these cases, Centrelink pays each person the relevant income-tested payment at the partnered rate.”

    Is this a slippery slope or just a wedge with a thin end?

    I’d be surprised if any of these ‘wives’ were required to undertake the ‘look for work’ activities that the average unemployed Australian is required to do.

  7. […] Putting Pandora back in the marriage equality box […]

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