The anti-gay lobby has a wealth of rhetoric, but nothing to back it up.

Arguing for marriage equality is a tedious indignity. Gay marriage proponents need to turn the debate around and demand the anti-gay brigade mount a decent argument against it.

For the entire time we’ve been together, I’ve worn out my boyfriend’s patience and understanding, letting fly an angry polemic every time an anti-marriage campaigner gets given column inches to make an arse of himself.

The knowledge that these dire warnings about same-sex marriage will exist online for years after they’re all proved baseless gives me small satisfaction. What’s most frustrating is that there are no real arguments being made, and certainly nothing that hasn’t been said and then refuted exactly nine bazillion times before. It feels like the more common the argument, the more vacuous it is.

Always it seems the onus is on gay marriage advocates to prove our worth, to convince politicians why we qualify for equality, to shoulder the burden of having to win the majority’s support.

Yes, it’s great when people, gay and straight, stand up for their relationships and for the people they love, and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t buoyed by recent Galaxy polls showing support for same sex marriage at 62 percent.

Parenthetically, it was monumentally amusing when the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) “dismissed” the poll finding 53 percent of self-declared Christians support equality. Have no doubt, they will claim all the people who marked ‘Christian’ on the Census, but the ACL reserves the right to veto the faiths of others.

The Marriage Act should be amended to include gay and lesbians because there are no sound legal arguments for why it should continue to exclude them.

Being opposed to same-sex marriage for your own reasons, whether religious or otherwise, is absolutely okay with me. Holding an honest opinion certainly doesn’t mean you’re a bigot or a homophobe.

But I don’t buy into the anti-equality crowd’s absurd persecution complex when they complain they’re being unfairly maligned.

“Labels and slurs are being used too often to shut down legitimate debate,” the chief of staff of the ACL, Lyle Sheltonsaid earlier this year.

“Yes it’s true that ACL does not support homosexual marriage, but neither do many Australians, including the prime minister. That doesn’t make us homophobic, bigoted or f***ing idiots.”

I’ve exchanged words with Lyle and I think he’s a decent person, even if I think his version of Christianity bears no resemblance to anything Christ actually did or said. But the ACL and their ilk are not just expressing a personal view about marriage.

The ACL has privileged access to the highest office in the land, the churches enjoy
tax-free status and, for now, seem to have unbridled power over who gets to be married and who doesn’t.

Here’s the thing —I’m not interested in having anyone’s approval, making anyone comfortable or gaining anyone’s acceptance.

Gayness is a reality of life and another part of the spectrum of human sexuality, but there isn’t a unit of time small enough for me to adequately explain how little time I want to devote to making them understand that.

Having a problem with gays does not mean they are bigots. Actively campaigning to ensure I have fewer rights than them, however, does.

All of the paranoid arguments against gay marriage crumble to dust when a bit of logic is applied. Gay marriage is not a slippery slope to polygamy and paedophilia, as was suggested by Rebecca Hagelin, a guest speaker at the hatefest that was the “Don’t Meddle With Marriage” event in Canberra last month, organised by the ACL and a group calling itself the Australian Family Association.

To say nothing of the highly offensive homosexuality = paedophilia undertones there, in the jurisdictions where same-sex marriages are recognised, none of the dystopian scenarios of men taking a child as their lover have been realised.

Ironically, in places where polygamous marriages, incestuous marriages and marriages with children are culturally accepted, in many strict Islamic countries for example, you’d be more likely to swing from a noose in the breeze if you are gay than sign a marriage
certificate.

Marriage throughout history has undergone more changes than Bristol Palin’s face. Granting same-sex marriage rights is not, as Barnaby Joyce declared, the same as calling a horse a camel. And Barnaby’s daughters will still be allowed to marry who they please — in fact they’ll have more freedom to marry how they see fit.

Same-sex marriage will not detract from people’s sincerely-held religious beliefs. Churches that only want to marry straight people who aren’t divorced and know all the moves to the nutbush can carry on marrying people as they see fit.

The reality is, marriage is a secular institution recognised by the government and can be as religious or non-religious as people want to make it. Religion does not have a monopoly on marriage.The law should demand a compelling set of reasons if it is going to discriminate.

I sorely want to shut up about gay marriage. I never want to watch another woeful television ‘debate’ where some anti-marriage numpty gets to talk down the thousands of terrific families headed by gays and lesbians.

As much as I want to suspend my cynicism and believe that the prime minister can redeem herself on this issue, I am not optimistic about the Labor conference this December.

The opponents of gay marriage need to present a convincing argument, or come right out and admit they just aren’t so big on gay people being treated equally.
In any event, we’ll get there eventually.

INFO: Jacob Leigh appears on JOY94.9’s youth program Generation Next.

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