Editors note: The news that the Coalition is pushing ahead with a postal vote on the issue of marriage equality has sparked debate at water coolers and breakfast tables across the country. If you need some ammo to fire back at your bigoted great uncle, look no further than this – our favourite article on the topic, written by former Mamamia writer, current journo at The Australian and all-round great human being, Rick Morton.
There has been a lot of talk about this gay marriage business bringing about the end of the world. Something about The Gays unhinging their collective maws and swallowing villages whole. It’s a compelling argument if you’ve ever been to Mardi Gras and mistaken it for the world’s most fabulous army invading the streets.
Listen: C’mon Malcolm. This is what we really want to hear. (Post continues after audio.)
We’re here, we’re queer and we’re annexing your collection of interior design manuals. However, contrary to popular belief, The Gays aren’t trying to take over the streets. Urban gentrification is about as militant as we get, believe me.
So to help those who feel like they need to keep peddling the marriage-go-round of mistruths, I have compiled this Stupendous Compendium of Anti-Gay Marriage Arguments (and why they’re wrong).
1. It’s about religion.
No, it isn’t. Going to church is about religion. Loving thy neighbour is about religion. Marriage is a secular contract presided over by Government. Like taxes. Atheists get married. Religious people get married. Some churches won’t marry inter-racial couples, or previously divorced couples. They’re welcome to. That’s their right. But that doesn’t preclude these people from marriage altogether. Because it’s secular.
2. Legalising gay marriage only affects a small number of people, why bother?
There are two flaws with this. If we’d followed this logic then we would have had no black civil rights movement. And asking ‘why bother’ about a human rights imbalance is a little like ignoring the service station when your car is on fire and your face is melting. Tis merely a flesh wound, come back and I’ll bite your knee caps off! The ‘only them’ argument has consistently been shown, throughout history, to be reprehensible. We cannot afford to stand by while ‘only them’ becomes a chorus of our own inability to act. One day, and this is the lesson we still haven’t learned, ‘only them’ could become ‘only you’. It’s a lonely outpost. Would they care to make the same argument about disability funding?
3. It’s about procreation.
Then you might also want to ban marriages that take place later in life, beyond a couple’s child bearing years. Or you might consider banning marriage for heterosexual couples who don’t want children. Families are about procreation or adoption or surrogacy. Marriage is about love between two individuals. The idea that we must procreate to protect the human race was spawned, forgive the pun, during a time when sabre toothed tigers were an actual health threat and actual health care consisted of medicinal screaming. So yes, prolific bonking used to be a shared duty. The times have changed, somewhat.