Like many people, I was appalled by what Joe Hockey said on Monday night on ABC’s Q&A about same-sex marriage and parenting, so I wrote to him to express my concern. What struck me most about the events of the last five minutes of the show was how disappointed in himself Joe looked when his own words were spoken back to him. If you missed that, take a look at the episode and have a look at the reaction on his face when the man in the audience speaks to him. I don’t think it was his proudest moment:
I wrote to Mr Hockey to highlight this. I told him that I think he is a reasonable man, only trying to do what is right, however much I disagree with his perspective. I asked him if, in 18 years time when Alexandra (Penny Wong’s daughter) is a bright, healthy and happy young woman, he will admit that what he said last night was wrong. I explained to Mr Hockey that I will be an in-service primary school teacher at the end of this year and asked if I will be somehow less qualified to teach and care for 30 children each day because of my sexuality. I told him if he truly believed that the best circumstances for children are for them to grow up with a mother and a father, then I look forward to seeing him introduce legislation to ban single-parent adoption and foster care, and to begin a program that removed children from their family if their parents separate or one of them pass away.
I told Mr Hockey that if he opposes same-sex marriage because he finds homosexuality irksome, he should just say so and that I believe he is reasonable enough to not comment on the subject again unless he can provide a logical explanation for his opinion.
I continued by telling Mr Hockey that I truly hope his position can “evolve” like President Obama’s has and that I look forward to hearing his public apology to all the same-sex attracted children across the country who heard his words last night and took them into their hearts, wrongly believing them to be true.
I ended my email “thank you for your time and kind regards, Andrew Clifton”.
Naturally I did not expect to hear back from Mr Hockey, however he did reply to me. Whether it was Mr Hockey personally, I do not know. Although, I truly hope it was, because this was the response:= display_ad('x18', 'hidden-xs hidden-md mm_incontent', 'MM In Content'); ?>= display_ad('x20', 'visible-xs mm_mob_incontent', 'MM In Content (Mobile)'); ?>
“I appreciate the heartfelt email Andrew.
Of all the feedback I have got, much of it malicious, this is the most powerful.
I was touched. I replied to the email and expressed my regret that people were attacking him and told him that I believe we can only hope to present different perspectives rationally and logically and from the heart. I asked him to please give some consideration to my words.
I would like to end this trail of my thoughts by pleading with my fellow socially liberal, same-sex marriage/family supporters to not attack those opposed. We must hold ourselves to a higher standard. We (accurately) believe ourselves to be on a higher moral ground for knowing exactly why legislating in favour of same-sex marriage is important, but we should not judge those who disagree with us, we should only try to help them understand as well.
We must proceed in our fight with respect and with dignity, much like Penny Wong, and present our arguments with calm conviction. Yes, let’s not stand idly by when people say something hurtful like Mr Hockey did that night, but let’s not attack them for it. Let’s try to make them see why they are wrong and help their opinion “evolve”.
Something I always say, and I hope you will give some thought to, is:
“Don’t try to close the mouth of an open conservative, try to open their closed mind.”
Let’s move forward with logic, reason and love on our side, not maliciousness, anger and hate because they won’t get us anywhere.
Andrew is 24 years old and has always had a passion for writing. He believes the power of the written word is limitless. Andrew is from the Hunter Valley and currently lives in the Illawarra region where he is completing his final year of study in an education degree at the University of Wollongong.