The Senate’s Legal and Constitutional Committee into Senator Sarah Hanson-Young’s Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2010 has published the first submissions it received from the general public and opponents are out in front.

Twenty-five of the 46 submissions published on the federal Parliament website oppose marriage equality while 21 support it.

Many of those opposing marriage equality did so because they believed it would result in more same-sex couples having children, because they believed homosexuality to be dangerous, or because they believed homosexuality would create a slippery slope to the legalisation of paedophilia, bestiality, incest or child-parent marriage.

Opponent WP Gadsby said Hanson-Young’s bill fell short of its stated goal of removing all discrimination in the Marriage Act.

“The proposed amendment purports to remove all discriminatory references, but apparently has a very limited view of discrimination, namely to remove any restriction of people, regardless of sex, sexuality and gender identity, the opportunity to marry,” Gadsby wrote.

“If I love my dog, and she loves me, why should we not marry? Because she’s a bitch? That is no answer, because ‘speciesism’ is also discriminatory — against me, and against my dog. It denies us the ‘right’ to express our love in a married relationship.

“Furthermore, why limit marriage to a partnership between two people …? Is that not also ‘discriminatory’? Why not authorise polyamory, with multiple partners in all kinds of mixes? On what moral basis should such groups be denied the opportunity to marry?

“And why limit all this to adults? … Should not children also have the right to marry? Should we legitimise paedophilia? And if not, why not?”

Opponent Warwick Poole wrote that homosexual marriage should not be tolerated.

“Homosexual marriage is and should never be aspired to,” Poole wrote. “It is a lustful exercise designed for self-gratification, which if the condom breaks, could be deadly.

“The portrayal of the sweet, kind, humorous, monogamous homosexual couple on television is a lie.

“Tolerance is a wonderful thing, but we do not tolerate some activities; why don’t we allow copulation, masturbation, urination, defecation in public? The list of unacceptable behaviours is endless. We simply do not tolerate some behaviours, and homosexual marriage is one that we should not tolerate.”

Kristy Adams said same-sex marriage should not be legalised because homosexuality was a “high risk lifestyle”.

“HIV/AIDS remains an overwhelmingly homosexual disease in Australia, with the overwhelming number of cases due to male homosexual activity, or intravenous drug use,” Adams wrote.

“Countless studies have documented the high-risk and unhealthy nature of the homosexual lifestyle. So why should governments be endorsing and promoting such activity?”

Alan Weatherall compared same-sex marriage to theft.

“Should we consider changing the definition of other words just because some don’t like the established definition?” Weatherall wrote.

“Some might not like the definition of ‘thief’. This definition when applied causes all sorts of problems for the people identified as a thief. They are discriminated against in our society, they can’t get the employment they seek, they can’t get a loan and they have their details recorded and used against them should they be a suspect again.”

James Gall warned that same-sex marriage could lead to parents marrying their children.

“If this bill is passed, where do we go to next?” Gall wrote. “I love living with my daughter/son – we love each other — it is plain to see — he/she gives me no grief, accepts what I do, etc.

“I would like to marry my son/daughter and change our constitution so this is acceptable to everyone as non-discriminatory.”

The Life Centre argued that changing the Marriage Act would violate the Oxford Dictionary.

“To define marriage as between something other than a man and a woman is to define another act; It is our belief that to do this would strike at the very roots of the fabric of our society and the heart and soul of our families that make up this society,” the Centre wrote.

“Our Pastor could not have said it better. If they (homosexuals) want to make a commitment to each other, let them. But like you would not call AFL football, soccer, without an outrage, do not call a commitment between same-sex relationships, marriage,” Helene Cohen wrote.

“Are then the terms husband and wife to be redefined? What would I call myself if it were to change? It just spirals to where those who are truly opposing the family, and seeking self first, wish it to go.”

Australian Marriage Equality (AME) national convenor Alex Greenwich encouraged marriage equality supporters who had not made submissions to do so.

“The committee will base its report on both the quality of submissions and the volume,” Greenwich said.

Greenwich noted that a number of the published submissions were from people who were Australian residents but not citizens.

“It is our understanding that the committee will look at submissions from any person who has something of value to add to this debate, so we would encourage anyone who feels they can add something to do so,” he said.

Greenwich was appalled by the tone of some of the submissions from opponents.

“We’ve seen repeated calls from the other side to have a respectful debate but whenever we’ve asked for a similar commitment from them it has gone unanswered,” he said.

AME has created a dedicated web page to enable people to make a submission to the inquiry.


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