If last week cracks were beginning to form in the marriage dam, this week leaks are well and truly showing.
It began with a double header on July 14, when the Sydney Morning Herald reported on a push within the Labor Party to change the Government’s policy on same-sex relationships, with a number of proposals to be voted on at the ALP’s national conference. This should lay bare the level of support within the party.
On the same day, an influential conservative came out as a same-sex marriage supporter – former Daily Telegraph editor David Penberthy – now editor at News Ltd’s online opinion hub, The Punch.
At Punch the article was titled, In defence of gay marriages, and ending bad straight ones, while at the Telegraph it ran under the less cuddly A deadlock over unholy wedlock and twined Tony Abbott’s idea of getting rid of no-fault divorce with the gay marriage debate.
Penberthy doesn’t have an honourable record as an ally, so his speaking out may be all the more important. During his time in the editor’s chair at the Telegraph, the paper ran a slew of notorious beat ups on gay issues – for example, 2006’s Gay Care -˜scandal’ (Marrickville Council providing gay inclusive material to childcare centres), and 2008’s claim the gay community was trying to have the words mum and dad banned from schools.
Whatever the reason, Penberthy is now singing a different tune, concluding, there are plenty of gay people who are more together, more balanced and more loving than a lot of heterosexual parents and -¦ a law based on outdated notions can only serve to entrench unhappiness, on both the gay and straight sides of the marital divide, in what is probably one of the most insightful articles by a heterosexual writer on the subject.
Penberthy ran another pro-marriage column two days later by performer Rob Mills – in fact, The Punch is yet to run a single gay critical column.
Conservative commentators like Penberthy coming on side will embolden same-sex marriage supporters in the Coalition – remember all the Liberals who came out as climate change believers once the consensus at the News Ltd camp shifted away from the denialist perspective?
With all this momentum we cant afford to drop the ball – we need every pair of feet on the streets we can muster for the August 1 NDA .