The stupid, childish arguments against equality are coming
By James Branson
IT’S SIX A.M ON THE MORNING AFTER MARDI GRAS and I’m sitting on the side of the road with my best dyke friends. We’re on the tail end of a really big night, so of course we’re talking utter garbage.
As we ramble on, a guy sidles up and starts a conversation that turns bad very, very quickly.
“I’ve got nothing against gay and lesbian people,” he says, “but…”
It’s a word that, when prefaced by “I’ve got nothing against (insert minority here)”, can be used to justify saying something that makes far less sense than anything three munted space-cadets sitting outside a club after a massive night can muster.
WHAT FOLLOWED MR ASSHOLE’S “BUT” was a short but maddeningly common argument against gay marriage.
“I grew up with a mother and a father,” he said. “And I’m a doctor now, so…”
And that’s where he left it.
Not only did he infer that the same-sex couples aren’t capable of raising children as well adjusted as himself (please God, no), Douchey McGee also didn’t have the balls to straight-up say what he meant and declare that gay and lesbian people shouldn’t be parents.
Of course, it didn’t work.
A little more effective was my companion’s strategy of standing up and screaming “get the fuck away from us” repeatedly.
THE WHOLE INCIDENT was an unfortunate ending to a fun night. And a stark reminder that shitty, ill-informed opinions aren’t as rare as you’d like to think – and that all those horrible things people say about us will be getting a big old-fashioned megaphone during the (supposedly) upcoming plebiscite on same sex marriage.
Our airwaves are going to be peppered with them, and it’s going to be really, really annoying and awful.
Speaking to news.com.au, Prof Karen Phelps who was the first LGBT person to be elected as the president of the Australian Medical Association, said there was powerful evidence to support the view that a plebiscite will expose unprecedented levels of hate.
“We have already seen a hint of the type of vitriol we have seen come out of the No camp,” she said.
“It is exposing people to a hate campaign and hateful views.”
“A small vocal minority are using the proposal to change the Marriage Act as an excuse to put forward an unfortunate and extreme view to get attention and unfortunately that doesn’t reflect the views of the majority of Australians.”
Damn straight. The plebiscite will undoubtedly drum up a series of misguided attempts to demonise same sex couples. We’ve even seen some before – remember this one?
That monstrosity was published by the Australian Marriage Forum (AMF), one of the organisations planning to bomb our television sets with advertisements opposing same-sex marriage. They’ve got some reasonably whacky views. Let’s round them up, shall we?
They claim marriage is a long-standing traditional institution going back to the beginnings of humanity that has always been reserved for men and women.
That one is almost too easy to dismantle. Marriage only came about in post-agrarian times and back then it was almost purely transactional – it represented a business deal between two families. Women were often considered to be property in such arrangements. This argument also ignores a long standing tradition of polygamy in all cultures.
Marriage came to be defined in Western culture as the union of a loving couple relatively recently.
David Van Gend (he runs the AMF) and his acolytes have also put forward the absurd argument that marriage equality some how infringes on religious freedom.
“Laws normalising gay marriage are the big stick needed for ‘queer rights’ to beat religious freedom into legal submission,” the AMF states on their site.
This makes no sense whatsoever, and anybody who tells you otherwise is a liar.
If my two gay guys want to get hitched, that in no way effects anybody’s ability to practise their own religion.
Legalising gay marriage does, however, take away a “right” that religion has illegitimately claimed for centuries: the right to create laws according to mystical beliefs.
Part of me thinks legislating for marriage equality would be a body blow to organised religion’s never ending battle to make laws for people who aren’t themselves religious.
David Van Gend has even gone so far as to compare children raised by same-sex parents to the stolen generation:
“Homosexual marriage heralds an authentic ‘gay stolen generation’, destined to the same disorientation and pain as children conceived by anonymous sperm-donor fathers or removed at birth from single mothers,” he said in a speech in 2013.
That would be laughable if it wasn’t so offensive to both homosexuals and Indigenous Australians.
It’s also wilfully ignorant.
There is extensive research on the welfare of children raised by gay parents. In 2013 an exhaustive study published by the Official Journal of the American Academy of Paediatrics came to the following conclusion:
Extensive data available from more than 30 years of research reveal that children raised by gay and lesbian parents have demonstrated resilience with regard to social, psychological, and sexual health despite economic and legal disparities and social stigma.
UNFORTUNATELY, EVEN THE MOST COMPREHENSIVE RESEARCH cannot convince people who follow the AMF or the wanker who tried to tell my friends they’d never make good parents that they’re wrong.
So perhaps we can just take comfort in some statistics:
“An overwhelming majority of Australians now believe that marriage equality… should be allowed in Australia,” said Mark Crosby of Crosby-Textor, the company that conducted the poll.
With that level of support, even the stupidly expensive and totally unnecessary plebiscite is almost certain to pass. It’s just so unfortunate that we’re going to be confronted with Australia’s bigoted underbelly in the process.