It was sobering listening to last week’s parliamentary report-back on same-sex marriage.
While there were a few hopeful shuffles forward, it was deflating to hear such resounding opposition from the few MPs brave enough to front the public with a response to the issue.
I’m sure a certain Greens MP was shifting uncomfortably in his seat and musing over his earlier enthusiasm for a conscience vote.
It’s hard not to feel disappointed with the result, however likely success was to be,but same-sex marriage advocates must bravely battle on. The real battle ground is Labor’s December conference.
The message from those MPs who spoke — despite what polls have been saying time after time — is the electorate is not ready for change.
This response proves two things. We need the Labor Party to change its policy platform and, more than ever, the LGBTI community needs to reach out to straight allies to help push this issue over the line.
If we want to win this right, it’s going to be the Graham Perretts (Queensland MP), the Shelley Argents (PFLAG national president) and Geoff Thomases (who spoke up on the issue during the ABC’s Q&A program) of this world who will capture MPs’ attention.
Parents and friends and siblings also need to make a stand for their loved ones by telling their MP why this is important.
And while we see debate slowly creep forward, so it retreats in the other direction with a blunderingly offensive opinion piece in The Sunday Age by the Institute of Public Affairs’ Ted Lapkin.
Lapkin argues that if Australia allows same-sex marriage, the “floodgates will inevitably open to a further slide down the slippery slope of social disintegration”.
Apparently, if we’re allowed to marry our loved ones, this automatically means we’ll be forced to bestow the same rights on polygamous marriages and — wait for it — incestuous relationships.
Really? I haven’t seen Australian Marriage Equality advocates entertain any such notion. Nor do I know of any serious movement in this country to do so.
Lapkin needs look no further than other countries who’ve seen fit to extend marriage rights to their LGBTI citizens, to extinguish this unfounded fearmongering.
And as to his claim that gay marriage will sanction same-sex parented families — the horse has well and truly bolted. Same-sex couples are having children, the government is already “sanctioning” our relationships with access to IVF and the same legal and financial rights as heterosexual de facto couples.
Denying same-sex marriage is, purely and simply, inequitable.
The silver lining in Lapkin’s piece is when the argument against same-sex marriage resorts to likening it to allowing incest, people who love and know gay couples reel and the debate lumbers forward again.