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The sceptical observer
Every so often I come across something that makes me wish I’d written it. Tim Dunlop’s ‘There Is No Excuse’ http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/stories/s2866395 is one, and I urge you to read it.
His message is simple. Opposition to equal marriage is plain prejudice, “and it is not mitigated by pious yelps of ‘we’ll come up with other laws’ to deliver equality in other ways. . . . It is the last socially acceptable way of saying you are not like us, you do not count, you matter less”.
Hear, hear! There are no excuses. We are either equal or we are not, and if we are, then marriage — whether you personally want it or not — must be equally available to all.
To say otherwise is to side with people who would plant burning crosses on our lawns rather than see us exchange vows in public. But that is what both Labor and the Liberals do. It’s a massive and shameful failure of leadership.
A majority of the Australian public supports same-sex marriage. A majority of members of the Australian Parliament do, in their heart of hearts. Why else would their leaderships be so scared of a conscience vote?
Make no mistake. This callous political game fuels hatred and violence. It validates the bigots who treat us as less than fully human. It tells them it’s OK to throw us on the streets, out of jobs, to bully, vilify, bash and murder us. It fuels the hopelessness that causes so many of our young gays and lesbians to kill themselves.
As the general election approaches, politicians come courting. We must play hard to get. Constituency by constituency, we must demand a public personal pledge to vote for same-sex marriage from every candidate, regardless of party policy. And we must vote only for candidates who make that pledge, regardless of their position on any other issues.
This will mean sacrificing some who claim to be our friends. We must make it very clear — if they refuse to publicly support same-sex equality in full, including marriage, they are better friends to gay-haters, bashers and bullies than they are to us, regardless of any protests to the contrary.
And as for ‘equality by other means’, well, that is just a cynical play for both sides of the street. You cannot run with the hare and hunt with the hounds. You must choose — us, or the bigots. Not both. If you do not take active steps to face down, disown and expel those who insist we are less than equal, then you are not fit for office.
Let others concern themselves with the handling of the economy, global warming, saving whales, or whatever other issue you may think is more important. It’s not.
If you are anything other than straight, this is a thousand times more important. It is our very lives.