On Sunday, Herald Sun columnist Miranda Devine accused the “militant arm of the gay lobby” of “intolerance and standover tactics”.

Firstly, I would love to meet this brawly band of queers. If they existed, I’m certain we wouldn’t be having the same frustrating conversation every week.

By the “militant gay lobby”, I assume Devine means ordinary people who dare to speak up and ask for equal rights. Not more rights than straight people — equal rights.

In the case of same-sex marriage, the same rights our friends and family have to marry the person we love.

But it’s the how that seems to have bothered Devine.

“The vitriol and vile abuse heaped on anyone who speaks up for traditional marriage is no way to win hearts and minds,” she said.

Can the LGBTI community debate around gay marriage sound a bit shrill? Sure it can and, frankly, it does at times veer into unnecessary hostility, often manifest sexism.

If comments under stories on the Star Observer website are anything to go by, sometimes those in our own community have some of the most intolerant views.

But I don’t believe these few exceptions represent the majority. At the end of the day, everyone is entitled to their view.

Earlier this year the Australian Christian Lobby announced it would not take part in a debate about same-sex marriage at the University of Tasmania for fear of “personal attack and vitriol”.

I believe restraint is required when opponents of same-sex marriage are automatically labelled homophobic. But those who oppose same-sex marriage need to know, when they get up and denounce it, that there are people who cannot marry their loved one, who will passionately disagree. That’s all part of the debate.

In playing the victim card, I think Devine exposes her underlying fear that the war against same-sex marriage is being being lost.

Not in the squabbles between the gay community and the Australian Christian Lobby. But outside of that, ordinary people really don’t care if gay couples marry, and they’re not really sure why Devine does with such venom.

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