Labor Senator wants religious “mumbo jumbo” kept out of marriage debate

Labor Senator wants religious “mumbo jumbo” kept out of marriage debate

Labor senator Doug Cameron has called for the debate over marriage equality legislation to remain secular.

Addressing the Senate yesterday, he said that as an atheist he was offended by people who considered only religious marriage to be valid.

“I was offended when I heard Senator Brandis and others talking about the sanctity of marriage, that you can only have a decent marriage if it is sanctified by God or if it is done in the eyes of religion,” Cameron said.

“I’ve been married for a long time, and my marriage is as good and as strong as any religious marriage in this country… I object to it being treated as second-class because I was not married in a church or under some sanctified mumbo jumbo, as far as I am concerned.”

Cameron said that pushing religion “should be unacceptable in this parliament”, and that he was concerned about discrimination against LGBTI people under the proposed “religious freedom” provisions around marriage.

“Religion is privileged in all areas of society in this country,” he said.

“The people who have not been privileged in this country, and who have certainly been placed in a position of deficient rights in this country, are the LGBTIQ community.

“I say it will now be a problem for some of the atheists in this country if we get more so-called religious freedoms, which is simply code to be able to discriminate against the LGBTIQ community.

“It should not be about religious freedoms but about rights for everybody in this country.”

Cameron said marriage equality should have happened years ago without the expense of the postal survey.

“We should not be here now debating this. It should have been law in this country some years ago,” he said.

“Politicians should simply have done their job and dealt with the matter, without wasting over $120 million of public money on a divisive and unnecessary postal survey—$120 million of public money wasted on a survey that told us exactly what everyone knew: that the Australian public supports marriage equality.”

Cameron thanked the MPs and community activists who have been instrumental in fighting for marriage equality, including Penny Wong, Tanya Plibersek, Anthony Albanese and Louise Pratt, Rainbow Labor, and Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG).

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9 responses to “Labor Senator wants religious “mumbo jumbo” kept out of marriage debate”

  1. Yes, Doug, Marriage Equality should have been in place years ago BUT please don’t forget that you and the ALP were on Power in Canberra from 2007-1013. Under Kevin Rudd (2007-2010 ) you had an 18-seat Majority in the House of Representatives and with the help of the Greens you also had control of the Senate so you could have made that happen then but you did Nothing.
    Then after the 2010 Federal Election, though with a vastly reduced Majority under Julia Gillard the ALP still, with the support of the Greens, still had the numbers in both Houses. You did NOTHING.
    Yes, it has been widely agreed that Tony Abbott’s non-binding Plebiscite was a waste of money – he wanted that rather than a Referendum because he knew he could simply ignore the result of the Plebiscite and being what he is he would have done so.
    Yes it was widely agreed that Turnbull’s Survey was seen as a waste of money. It was vociferously condemned by Bill Shorten and the ALP.
    and the GLTBIQ Community should never forget this, It was Turnbull’s Survey which turned the tide. As soon as the result was in Turnbull acted immediately to have the Equality Legislation brought on and supported it.
    To see the ALP’s Bill Shorten – who had been a very long-time Opponent of our having Equality – dancing around, waving his arms and trying to claim credit for the result of that Survey was sickening and totally hypocritical.
    To see Penny Wong pretending to be crying in joy at the result was every bit as sickening and hypocritical. She was probably hiding her face in Shame and Shock. Shame that she and her precious ALP did NOTHING whilst in Power and Shock that the oh-so-hated Liberals had actually achieved something which she and the ALP had refused to even consider.

    • Robert, be realistic. To say the Liberals “achieved” marriage equality is an extreme mischaracterisation of what has happened these past few months. The ALP absolutely deserves criticism for squandering their chance to pass marriage equality in favour of political opportunism, but giving Turnbull any credit whatsoever despite his attempt to waylay and devalue this process at every turn is sycophantic at best and extremely disingenuous at worst. They do not deserve credit for this.

    • It was not Turnbull’s survey and the tide had turned long before it. Turnbull quite rightly opposed the plebiscite in the coalition party room that fateful day when Abbott convinced a group of people collectively being paid about $10 million per year that they couldn’t make a decision about marriage equality and a $200 million plebiscite (with a publicly funded No campaign) was the solution.

      Turnbull famously had to eat the shit sandwich of sticking with the plebiscite policy when he took over as PM because the Nats forced him to.

      The ALP under Rudd and Gillard moved to having a conscience position on marriage equality, but you are correct that they didn’t take a strong leadership position, however if the famously non-binding Liberals had done the same marriage equality would have happened in 2013. Penny Wong and others pushed for the party to make marriage equality party policy but did not have the numbers. The suggestion she did nothing is one you keep making and I keep pointing out is total bullshit. The ALP doesn’t magically change its mind, it relies on a hell of a lot of behind the scenes work.

      There are days when Shorten and Wong would have had to announce their commitment to ALP policy back in the days when ALP policy didn’t include marriage equality, that’s how the ALP (and for that matter the Liberal Party) works (eg Turnbull was forced to state even quite recently that marriage equality would not even be debated in Parliament unless the survey result came in over 50% Yes, yet you’re trying to claim Turnbull is the gay community’s mate). That doesn’t mean they were speaking from the heart. Your complete incapacity to comprehend this despite it frequently being pointed out to you is absolutely astonishing.

  2. He spoke well – just a pity he couldn’t bring himself to also acknowledge the members from the other side who contributed enormously.

  3. Good on you Doug. Millions of Australians agree wholeheartedly with you.
    About time we heard an atheist viewpoint in politics. Sick of the sanctimonious religious lot.

  4. It’s so close! And the Senate has knocked off a bunch of the conservative amendments. Think of them crying into their cups of Twinings.

    The narrative of this whole issue from a conservative perspective is a pretty amazing story. I’ve got no experience in script writing but I’m thinking it could be an amazing comedy.

  5. Now, this is a senator that I will support! I am Wiccan and my fiance and I would love to have a marriage where our belief rather than those of the church is the focus. Religion should not have a place when it comes to the person you love. If you believe in God or Allah or even Mother Earth, then that is fine. But do not make religion the prerequisite for marriage, please.