Australia where the bloody hell are you on gay marriage?

Written By: - Date published: 8:00 am, June 28th, 2015 - 55 comments
Categories: australian politics, human rights, identity, International, law, Politics, us politics - Tags: , , ,

US Supreme Court gay marriage cartoon statute of liberty

The United States Supreme Court has ruled that a state ban on gay marriage is a breach of the 14th amendment to the US Constitution.  This amendment says no state shall “deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”  The majority held that dignity was an integral part of this provision and prohibitions on same sex marriage were in breach of the protection afforded.

Justice Kennedy said, with language that was more passionate than legal judgments usually contain:

No longer may this liberty be denied. No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were.”

The conservative Justices did not like the decision.  Chief Justice Roberts said:

If you are among the many Americans — of whatever sexual orientation — who favor expanding same-sex marriage, by all means celebrate today’s decision. Celebrate the achievement of a desired goal. Celebrate the opportunity for a new expression of commitment to a partner. Celebrate the availability of new benefits. But do not celebrate the Constitution. It had nothing to do with it.”

It looks like the Supreme Court christmas party this year will be a difficult occasion judging by the hyper critical language used by the conservatives.  In as bitter a judgment as I have read Justice Scalila said this:

The opinion is couched in a style that is as pretentious as its content is egotistic. Of course the opinion’s showy profundities are often profoundly incoherent.”

But the decision is historic and clearly will be celebrated.

Which makes Australia’s stance even more of an outlier.  It is hard to imagine the home of Oxford Street should have leadership that is so homophobic.

Tony Abbott is clearly opposed to any change.  He thwarted the Labor leader Bill Shorten’s attempt to introduce an amending bill saying that a bill has to have bipartisan support.  Elements within the Liberal Party have announced they will oppose a conscience vote.

From the Sydney Morning Herald:

Conservative government MPs say same-sex marriage is not inevitable and have warned Tony Abbott that he faces a savage internal backlash over the issue, likening it to the devastating split over the ETS which cost Malcolm Turnbull the Liberal leadership in 2009.

Several right wing Parliamentarians have told Fairfax Media they believe they have the numbers to oppose a free vote, a move that if successful  would greatly decrease the chances of the bill passing the lower house.  “If you put this to a ballot in the party room, this does not get up,” confided one MP.

It makes you wonder what they are worried about.  If New Zealand, Ireland, the United States and many other nations can realise the importance of same sex couples formally celebrating their love then why can’t Australia.

55 comments on “Australia where the bloody hell are you on gay marriage?”

  1. Tigger 1

    Watch US right wing money pour into Australia to ensure it remains marriage unequal. Abbott and his friends will likely see themselves anointed by God to save the world from this scourge. Expect him to harden his stance rather than soften.

    Poor Oz, the U.S. beats them to gay marriage, we shut them out of the rugby, they’ve had a bad week.

    • Lanthanide 1.1

      Why would US right-wing money care about what happens in Australia?

      They’ve already lost the war in the US, it’s highly unlikely they’ll ever overturn the Supreme Court’s decision.

      If anything they’d pour their money into measures that obey the letter of the law while denying the spirit, such as setting up networks for church’s that deny same-sex marriage, and go in to other areas of repression like further limiting the availability of abortions and persecuting transgenders.

    • tc 1.2

      Whatever rupert says to sell of few more of his papers out of his loss bleeding newspaper empire. Play it out, go hard, u turn whatever news corp wants.

      He’s using channel 10’s perilous financial state (step up lachlan, well done son) to slide back onto oz TV holding via foxtel.

  2. Sanctuary 2

    I think it also shows just how bigoted, reactionary and racist large sections of society in Australia has grown to be since the Howard government used xenophobia as an electoral tool.

    • miravox 2.1

      “I think it also shows just how bigoted, reactionary and racist large sections of society”

      These ideas are in every society. Australia has just provided space for them to be voiced.

      • Sanctuary 2.1.1

        That was my point?

        The thing about Australia is that by enabling the fearful xenophobes Howard enabled a wider reactionary element to gain legitimacy in the Australian national conversation. In my time, I believe white Australia’s frightful racism has actually got worse. History will harshly judge Howard and his manufactured Tampa crisis.

        • miravox 2.1.1.1

          Thanks for clarifying. The first time around I read is as suggesting that Australians had more bigots than other similar places. Not simply that those voices had gained legitimacy.

          I also don’t thing Aust has racism that is worse than NZ. It’s just that racism is still frowned upon a bit more in some sectors in NZ (for now) – in reference to your point about legitimacy.

          Agree re Howard (and Abbott) and their manufactured crises. The NZ PM has been almost as bad with boats to New Zealand, he simply hasn’t had the opportunity to expand on that imo..

          • Mark 2.1.1.1.1

            I use to love visiting Australia so much I moved there.
            I lived in Melbourne and Perth and the difference between the two is profound. Perth is like South Carolina with all the bells and whistles.
            A lot of the locals I knew were homophobic in the extreme, sexist beyond belief and as racist as any southern american good old boy.
            I had a hotel 50kms west of Perth and I was just staggered by the views of a lot of my regulars.
            In the main they were nice people and I always found it hard to reconcile their homophobic, racist and sexist views with how kind and understanding they could be at times.
            I think they were just a product of their environment but some of the things that went on there in the 2000s would just stun you.
            So don’t come the no difference with Australian line.
            The Australian west and the American south have so much in common.

  3. Ad 3

    Great smoochy cartoon.

    • mickysavage 3.1

      It is beautiful isn’t it. Captures a feeling of liberty perfectly.

      • Sanctuary 3.1.1

        In that ghastly pleasure of pressing your bruises mode I’ve been cruising around a few of the ultra-right tea party sites. Safe to say that having been routed on gay marriage, Obamacare, and by a resurgent Obama on race relations they are in complete meltdown. ‘Tis beautiful to read, even if they are too scary to be funny.

        • Ad 3.1.1.1

          Fox News is a particular schadenfreude pleasure right now.

          • Ad 3.1.1.2.1

            If I were the Presidential security detail I would be doubling the threat-watch.

            The conspiracy networks and literature will seriously explode, as they did before the assassinations of President Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Bobby Kennedy, etc.

            When the United States’ entrenched hard-right cultures of race, sexual preference, gun control, and public health are combined, the opposition is real, deep and fanatically conspiratorial.

          • mickysavage 3.1.1.2.2

            Ha one poor fellow reckons that Obama is going to make homosexuality compulsory!

        • NickS 3.1.1.3

          Delicious tears of impotent rage are delicious /Omnomnomnom

          Also delicious is watching the Republican presidential candidates flail about over this.

  4. Chooky 4

    Here is your problem…Abbott is an ex Jesuit Catholic

    …to blame all Australians for bigotry is both ignorant and unfair!

    …the problem as always is the Catholic Church when it comes to power and control over intimate relations and sexuality …and power and control interfering in secular State laws and human rights ( ironic because this Church is full of wooly woofters and has a terrible reputation for child abuse)…the Catholic Church wants all sexual acts legitimised for procreation only (no contraception… and sex only between males and females)….so it has an endless supply of children in an already over populated world…makes a mockery of the Pope’s ‘environmental concern’ for Mother Earth and poverty in the third world.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-06-24/catholic-church-attacks-businesses-over-gay-marriage-support/6570082

    http://www.australianmarriageequality.org/2012/09/23/pope-says-france-gay-marriage-threatens-family-and-society/

    • Colonial Rawshark 4.1

      Promoting prejudice against religious groups is a pretty sucky thing to do. Further, if Abbott were a true Catholic, he would back the Pope’s latest encyclical on caring for the Earth and preventing climate change.

      • Chooky 4.1.1

        I am not “sucky” …lol….I think you have your referent wrong

        ….amongst the Protestant and/or agnostic/ atheist Australians i know there is absolutely no problem with gay marriage….they happily endorse gay marriage

        …. and most of them have gay friends and they realise how important this legitimacy of their sexuality and love is to them

        ….it is a humanitarian issue ….and as usual the Catholic Church comes out with the bigotry and interferring in secular people’s lives

        • tinfoilhat 4.1.1.1

          You do seem to have some sort personal crusade against the catholic church chooky.

          Despite there many historic and existing shortcomings there are surely more important things in the world to concern oneself with, in the greater scheme of things I wouldn’t even consider the catholic churhc in it’s current form amongst the most odious of the world’s current religious institutions.

          • Chooky 4.1.1.1.1

            ” a personal crusade” ?….why ever not ?….tell that to my Jewish friend who had his aunt die in a botched backstreet abortion when she couldnt get a safe legal medical abortion in New Zealand…because the Catholic Church pulled out all stops to oppose not only safe legal abortion for secular non Catholic New Zealand women but contraception!

            …just because women dont speak a out about these things and gays….and unmarried mothers in Ireland …and abused children at the hands of the Catholic priesthood …. does not mean that they are under any illusions about what the Catholic Church stands for

            …are you are one of the ones who expects the oppressed to remain silent?

      • Sanctuary 4.1.2

        Oh bullsh*t everyone knows Abbot is a right wing Catholic bigot with strong links to Opus Dei. it has been known since he entered politics –

        http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/04/11/1081621834807.html

        “…A bigger mystery, however, is the movement of God into the NSW Young Liberals. In this case, however, God wears not the toothy smile of a Pentecostal “happy clapper” but the dour face of the arch-conservative Catholic organisation, Opus Dei.

        Warrane College was established in 1971. It is a residential college affiliated to the University of NSW and owned by the not-for-profit Educational Development Association. Pastoral care for its 125 young men (women are not permitted past the ground floor) is “entrusted” to Opus Dei, a prelature of the Catholic Church.

        Warrane College is also the “home” address of about one-quarter of the membership of the Randwick/Coogee branch of the Young Liberals. Of 88 members enrolled in the Young Libs branch, 21 list the college or its post-office box as their address, according to a membership list seen by the Herald.

        One Young Liberal member, who described himself as a practising Christian and asked not to be named, said “significant numbers” of Opus Dei members had been signed up to the Randwick-Coogee branch in the lead-up to the June 30 cut-off last year. He describes the changes as a “takeover by the religious right of the Liberal Party”, whose “fundamentalism frightens me”.

        Their key issues, he says are abortion, stem-cell research, homosexuality and the age of consent.

        The Randwick-Coogee and Hills branches of the Young Liberals were described as Opus Dei branches, where many would be members.

        David John Clarke, who is described by some as the “titular head of the NSW right”, become an upper house MP in NSW in March last year. He is reportedly a member of Opus Dei.

        Says another former Young Liberal, prominent in the moderate faction of the party: “I think there is quite a serious threat to the NSW division, similar to the threat of Lyenko Urbancic [who led a far-right group dubbed the uglies] in the 1980s. It’s mainly due to Clarke,” he says, but adds that a number of conservative NSW MPs have assisted by “hothousing” young right-wingers on their staffs. He names Tony Abbott, Ross Cameron, Helen Coonan and Bronwyn Bishop.

        “You see it manifested in a very narrow agenda. They have real hang-ups about abortion and homosexuality and they have a mistaken view that Howard won the election because of their views….”

        • Ad 4.1.2.1

          So does this great Australian Federal Catholic conspiracy get a hotline from the Pope? According to the article you cite:

          “What do they do? Usually the host for the night selects a passage or message from the Bible, and they discuss how the message is relevant to their lives in politics. For many, it is a kind of spiritual self-help group in a pretty soul-destroying workplace. For others, it’s a chance to evangelise, and for others simply a chance to debate the kind of core issues politics seldom gets around to. “It certainly doesn’t try to get anything done as a group,” says one attendee.”

        • Colonial Rawshark 4.1.2.2

          Oh bullsh*t everyone knows Abbot is a right wing Catholic bigot with strong links to Opus Dei. it has been known since he entered politics –

          Yeah and the electorate still voted him in, despite.

          • dukeofurl 4.1.2.2.1

            Its not only Abbot.
            The very large 220,000 members Shop Assistants Union ( SDA) is catholic social conservative aligned.

            Long time leader Joe De Bruyn is a catholic. Recently stepped down but still influential.
            eg submissions to parliament opposing in vitro fertilisation.

            “De Bruyn has come under scrutiny for voicing his socially conservative views while being secretary of a trade union and holding a position on the National Executive of Labor, a centre-left political party.[5] He has repeatedly voiced opposition to abortion, and to legalising same sex marriage.” Wikipedia.

          • RedLogix 4.1.2.2.2

            Abbott was voted in because of the Rudd/Gillard debacle. Everything about him screams retrogressive thug. And initially when the Australian public saw him in office they hated what they saw.

            But here is the odd thing. This past few months have seen him pull back in the polls. Several things are happening fast:

            1. The IS terrorism issue was always going to play to Abbott’s strengths. People are starting to come down off the fence and take sides on this. Freedom of speech and nuanced debate is going to take a back seat to more primal concerns.

            2. The Commission into Union corruption is working for Abbott. It’s an ideal platform to smear the left and it’s hurting Bill Shorten in particular. Personally I cannot see Shorten winning an election.

            3. Abbott himself is changing. He’s slowly taking back the political initiative and looking less vulnerable as the months go by. In my book he’s looking more like settling in for another long-haul like John Howard.

            4. In the face of economic and global uncertainty I’m reading a predictable conservative swing in the mood here.

            When it comes to same-sex marriage it falls into the ‘don’t really care too much either way’ category. For instance Turnbull has come out and stated that it should be opened up to a ‘free vote’ in the Senate and that he’d happily vote for it. But ultimately Abbott doesn’t have to respond to this until he judges it’s in his interests to do so.

            • Colonial Rawshark 4.1.2.2.2.1

              Have you seen the ABC doco on the Rudd/Gillard saga? The Killing Fields? That is a must watch.

      • Lanthanide 4.1.3

        “if Abbott were a true Catholic,”

        And if he were a true scotsman, what would he do then?

    • Ad 4.2

      The Catholic position on gay marriage is indefensible. Worse by some mortal measure in Islam and Hinduism, lest we forget.

      But Australia – and New Zealand – are two of the most atheistic and non-churchgoing developed countries in the world. Catholic leadership have almost zero direct influence in state politics.

      Marriage is such a peculiar, unstable and declining sport both here and in Australia that the symbolic victory in Washington can be a teensy bit overplayed.

      • Lanthanide 4.2.1

        The state should stop recognising marriage all together and only give legal recognition to Civil Unions.

        • McFlock 4.2.1.1

          Why should the majority change its labels for the minority who want to deny those things from other minorities?

          • Lanthanide 4.2.1.1.1

            Why is the state legally recognising a religious tradition?

            “the minority who want to deny those things from other minorities?”

            I honestly have no idea what you’re talking about.

            • McFlock 4.2.1.1.1.1

              The state isn’t recognising a religious tradition.
              It’s dealing with a legal matter of property rights and those other rights that come from a formally-recognised legal union. As it has for centuries.

              And the only people who want the state to change its labels are people who want to deny the legitimacy of those labels to other groups.

              • Lanthanide

                “And the only people who want the state to change its labels are people who want to deny the legitimacy of those labels to other groups.”

                Well that’s patently not true, because I don’t have any problem with giving the rights of marriage to any consenting adults (and I have to say, I’m not generally against polgamy either). But I would prefer if the term ‘marriage’ were reserved purely for the celebration / ceremony, and not the law books.

                • McFlock

                  Marriage is a label in the law books.
                  Removing it from the law books is to say that we would remove the cultural importance and the legitimacy of that label from selected groups.

                  Some religions also call god the “lord”. Lord is also a civil term, e.g. judges, mayors. That label hasn’t changed because of some exclusionary belief-holders. Why should marriage?

                  • Lanthanide

                    You’ve kind of argued against your own point, there.

                    If ‘lord’ used by the church is different than ‘lord’ used by the state, and there are no problems, why would there be a problem if “marriage” was used by the church and “civil union” by the state?

                    • McFlock

                      Because the “marriage” used by the church is different to the “marriage” used by the state – one is spiritual, the other legal.

                      If some fundies get pissy at a gay judge being called “m’lud”, should the state change hundreds of years of legal tradition because of a few idiots?

                    • Lanthanide

                      But quite clearly, the term Marriage used by the state grew out of the religious tradition.

                      I would be surprised if the term ‘lord’ for positions of civil power grew out of the religious term ‘lord’ for god. I guess it’s possible.

                      Anyway, I think the state should cut its ties with the religious history behind the term marriage. This was a more relevant argument when same-sex civil unions were allowed by same-sex marriages weren’t; now that they’re both allowed the only real difference between them is the name. But that’s really my point – I don’t see why we have two different terms to legally recognise the same union, and of the two terms, marriage is the one that should be done away with, because of its history.

                    • McFlock

                      Simply because the traditional name is the one that implies social legitimacy. Many more people understand what a “marriage” is than what exactly a “civil union” is.

                    • I suppose people who feel marriage has been devalued by equality can choose to call their own arrangements a civil union to differentiate 😉 Personally, I’m just looking forward to the day where we just say ‘congratulations’ and leave it at that.

  5. Colonial Rawshark 5

    I love that the Australian politicians arguing and positioning themselves re: the issue of gay marriage. Any of them doing the same thing on taking down the trans-national corporate TPPA? Or hauling back on the parasitic banking/mortgage industry? Or stopping the climate change disaster inducing mining industry?

    • You don’t love it at all – be truthful at least rather than put the boot in eh.

    • Lanthanide 5.2

      And therein lies the rub. If they keep pretending that same-sex marriage doesn’t have an obvious and inevitable solution, they can keep debating it, and don’t have to debate those other more difficult issues.

  6. Heartbleeding Liberal 6

    OT: The American judgment is disappointing over all. There was a golden opportunity to declare a new protected classification of people, finding in favor of gay marriage on equal protection grounds. Unfortunately they went the narrow route.

  7. Sable 7

    Ho ho, do you think old Catholic Tony is going to like this idea, I think not. Id say too that OZ is a bit more churchy than NZ in general and religious groups tend to have more say in state and Federal politics….

  8. Chooky 8

    In a world of gross over population… and as a consequence environmental crisis….we should be lauding gay marriage !….as an absolutely fabulous thing

  9. Ryan 9

    Really quite sickening that it takes over thirty years to identify this. What the fuck good is a document if it’s open to personal opinion and bias? Sick society, always dragging it’s heels on doing what’s right.

  10. adam 10

    I had a mate arrested and lock up for months for handing out educational literature on Safe Gay sex in Western Australia – it was 1998. I’m not holding my breath on a federal change any time soon.

    What I think we will see is the state’s changing one by one. Except maybe Western Australia. Then the Federal government will change.

    So 5, maybe 6 years.

  11. Joe Jones 11

    Hopefully on the side of sanity against this perverted nonsense. Hopefully at least one western nation can hold out against perversion, and in so doing be a light to the world.

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