When a consultation on civil unions was held in the Queensland Parliament this month, a cornucopia of religious ‘family values’ groups turned out to put their opposition on the record.

Representatives from the Family Council of Queensland spoke, as did the National Marriage Coalition, the Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane, Family Voice Australia, the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) and the Australian Family Association (AFA).

And who sits on the Family Council of Queensland? Who else but Family Voice Australia, the AFA and the Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane!

And who makes up the National Marriage Coalition? Why, who else but the ACL and the AFA!

Like intolerant nesting Russian dolls, these groups show up to speak with one hat on before shedding it to appear and speak again.

In this way the ACL got its views heard twice at the forum, as did the Catholic Church and Family Voice Australia — while the Australian Family Association got its two cents in a whopping three times.

It’s an effective tactic for exaggerating the degree of opposition in the community and manufacturing dissent.

The other tactic the opposition camp increasing likes to employ is playing at being the victim.

On December 3, the National Marriage Coalition and failed Christian Democrats candidate for Sydney, Peter Madden, will hold a rally in Martin Place to oppose same-sex marriage in the hope of influencing the ALP National Conference.

Explaining the need for the rally, Madden told supporters, “If we don’t make a stand now and fight to protect our children and our grandchildren from the forces that seek to destroy them, then we will lose them to perversion, despair, AIDS and ultimately hellfire”.

Madden has made assurances that he will stay away from events scheduled by marriage equality advocates for the same day.

It is vital we stay away from him as well because, I believe, through such offensive comments he is hoping to provoke confrontation that he can use to claim victim status — but it is entirely unnecessary for anyone to counter-protest Madden’s rally.

His last effort during Mardi Gras was a dismal failure that attracted fewer than 100 hundred people, while offending the general public to the point that disinterested strangers found themselves compelled to heckle.

Wasting energy on Madden will only distract from the issue at hand when we are so close to the finishing line.

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