All the usual, nonsensical arguments are starting to arise following the government’s announcement Australia will go ahead with the non-compulsory, non-binding postal plebiscite for marriage equality.
Organisations such as the Coalition for Marriage are scared for freedom of religion. Worried that the “removal of gender from marriage will lead to the removal of gender from society”.
Former MP Bronwyn Bishop, and current One Nation party leader Pauline Hanson, are trotting out the argument that marriage equality will lead to polygamy and bestiality.
A message for Malcolm Turnbull about the same-sex marriage plebiscite. Post continues below.
There’s much talk about ‘freedom of speech’ and the ‘safety of schools’ on behalf of the people who wish to deny others the liberty to marry whomever they wish.
But I wonder what we will think about this is 50 years time? Twenty years, even?
What we will think that the Australian government could not follow the rest of the western world – New Zealand, the UK, all of the US – in legalising marriage equality in parliament or in the courts. Instead, that they funded a hate campaign in order to let “the people decide” and not back down on an election promise.
A similar realisation can be seen when looking at other movements throughout history. Take women’s suffrage, for example. Today, more than 100 years after women were permitted to vote in Australia, we question how there was ever a time such equality was considered harmful.
A 1910s flyer from the US (where women were given the vote in 1920) is circulating social media to remind us how ridiculous and harmful ‘no’ messages can be.
The pamphlet is titled 'Vote NO on Women's Suffrage' and it lists six reasons for doing so:
- Because 90 per cent of the women do not want it or do not care
- Because it means competition for women with men, instead of co-operation
- Because 80 per cent of the women eligible to vote are married and can only double or annul their husband's votes
- Because it can be of no benefit commensurate with the additional expense involved
- Because in some states more voting women than voting men will place the government under petticoat rue
- Because it is unwise to risk the good we already have for the evil which may occur
How utterly outrageous, yet eerily familiar, right?
100 years on, and yet here we still are.