You can tell the argument for equal marriage has been won. Opponents have been reduced to futile rearguard actions. From here on in it’s all a matter of timing and tactics.

You can tell by the squawking and flapping of columnists like Miranda Devine, who raved incoherently last weekend about being ‘crucified as an evil homophobe . . . . guilty of hounding youngsters to suicide’.

Well Miranda, if the cap fits, wear it. As Headspace chief executive Chris Tanti said “marriage equality is primarily about ending social exclusion …. Headspace knows this lack of equality has strong links to mental health issues, depression and suicide among same sex attracted young people.”

And as head of the organisation charged by both state and federal government with tackling youth suicide and depression, he ought to know.

Equally hysterical is the homophobes’ favourite Christopher Pearson in The Australian, who blames it all on the Greens wanting ‘to reduce the population and drive down national fertility.’  I think there might be simpler and easier way of doing that, Chris, especially as so many of us want to get married for the sake of our children.

Even shopworkers union president-for-life Joe de Bruyn, who does not normally venture out in daylight, was forced to forsake the back rooms of Pell’s Palace and publicly order Julia Gillard to shut down the debate.

The desperation is palpable. And desperate people are apt to try desperate measures. We can expect a lot of shouting in the months to come. From here on in the opposition is going to become even more strident and extreme.

Worse, events in the US and UK, where anti-gay attacks escalate each time the GLBTIQ  community achieves another step towards equality, indicate that some frustrated losers will use the extreme rhetoric of people like Devine and the rest as an excuse for violence.

The overwhelming mood — in our own community, in the Labor Party, the government, and in the majority of the country — is one of, ‘For Pete’s sake, what’s all the fuss about? Let’s get this done now and move on. No big deal’.

And it seems that Gillard agrees. She has already brought the Labor Party conference forward to December 2011 to change the current untenable policy well ahead of the next election. She wants the issue off the agenda before she has to face another poll.

It must by now be dawning on her, as it has on Labor’s key powerbrokers, that the only way to do that is to pass the Equal Marriage Bill as soon as possible. It will be interesting to see how she manages it.

In the meantime, take care. It’s going to get dangerous out there.

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