8 Thoughts on the Marriage Equality “Debate”

It has been a while between blogs but I’ve been thinking about dusting off the keyboard for a while so without further ado, here is my $0.02 on everything that has been going on:

  1. Any issue that has the word equality in it should not be a matter of public debate. Regardless of popular opinion, equal rights should be beyond question. As a society we no longer tolerate discrimination based on gender, race or religion* so how / why can anyone justify discrimination based on sexual orientation? This is actually a serious question for anyone who is thinking about voting NO — I would honestly be really interested to hear your rationale.
  2. On this point and regardless of how cathartic it may be, calling everyone who plans to vote NO a homophobic bigot is not helpful. Undoubtedly, there are some in the NO camp who have deep prejudices against gay people but assuming this applies to everyone who is inclined to vote NO and taking an aggressive tone (ala Tim Minchin) only drives the sides further apart. There must be a significant group of people who are leaning NO who could be convinced by a sensible discussion. Instead of wasting our collective breath and assuming that the lunatic fringe are representative of the whole, let’s try to find these persuadable people and engage with them respectfully. Leading with “you’re a bigot” does nothing but play into the victim-mentality being pushed by Lyle Shelton and others and give them cover to sling more mud.
  3. Irrespective of the highly dubious logic that they have rolled out over the past week, it’s hard to work out what Tony Abbott and co. are thinking in terms of the bigger picture. Surely even the most rusted-on conservatives know that marriage equality is going to happen sooner or later. What do they have to gain by delaying the inevitable? Surely their energy is better spent on some other issue which represents a more winnable fight?
  4. Reading the Murdoch press over the past week, there has been a lot of complaining about identity-politics and virtue-signaling. Can someone explain to me what any of this means?
  5. One silver lining out of this whole debacle is that it might encourage young people to register to vote. Something like 15% of 18–24 year-olds aren’t on the electoral roll and it’s possible that an issue like marriage equality (which they are more likely to be engaged with) will act as a spur. It would be a glorious irony if an increase in turnout among young people ended up being what brought down the Coalition at the next election.
  6. Using snail mail as the platform for the plebiscite is really illogical. I have had the same phone number and the same email address for over a decade and use both of them every single day. Over that same stretch I’ve changed postal addresses at least 5 times and I currently get things in the mail maybe once a week. Why is postal address still considered the permanent / official one? The only way a postal plebiscite makes sense is if you are trying to swing the supposedly representative vote towards older more conservative voters and no-one would ever think of doing that. Right?
  7. This might sound weird but Boris Johnson and Donald Trump could be the saviours of the YES vote. If this plebiscite had been held 18 months ago, given the clear leaning of the opinion polls there would have been a real risk of complacency on the YES side. Voting is going to be a pain in the ass and so in the absence of any contrary evidence from elsewhere in the world, it’s likely that many would have not bothered. Having seen how this played out in the UK and US, you’d hope that the same won’t happen here.
  8. Please vote and please vote YES.

Let me know what you think


Note: * To be clear, I’m not trying to say that we have succeeded in creating a truly level playing field in society. Various groups still face a range of inequalities. We have however, largely removed these from the law.

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