Some Arguments Against Gay Marriage in Australia

As gay marriage sweeps across such ultra-left-wing nations as Ireland and the United States, we look at the most persuasive reasons why Australia shouldn't follow suit.

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Jun 12 2015, 12:00am

Image by Ben Thomson

As gay marriage sweeps across such ultra-left-wing nations as Ireland and the United States of America, some crazies have suggested it be adopted in Australia. Both Labor and the Greens have moved to introduce bills to see it legalised, and many within the Liberal Government are also in favour.

But is it time? I mean, is it really time? We've got all this work piling up, we haven't decided what we're doing for dinner tonight, and season three of Orange is the New Black is on Netflix, so maybe we're rushing this whole gay marriage thing.

The renewed interest in the topic has seen us treated once again to the Socratic debating skills of our national leaders, so if it's time for anything, it's to examine the nuances and detail of their highly-intellectual and seemingly-watertight arguments.

Here are some of the most persuasive:

"Due to the separation of church and state, we shouldn't have legally-recognised marriages at all." – Scott Morrison, 9 June 2015

Scott Morrison makes a really strong point about an "argument I saw on reddit", suggesting a scenario in which the institution of marriage is given over completely to the church, and the government only handles "civil unions". Civil unions are a lot like marriages, except you don't get to call them marriages, thus protecting the right of the word. As Social Services Minister, Scott Morrison is duty-bound to protect words.

But he should be lauded for his uncompromising belief in this issue. He's so committed to preserving marriage that he's willing to dismantle it completely before the gays get their hands on it.

Morrison cites the French system of federal civil unions, which have seen marriages become the exclusive domain of the church. And even though that's a completely incorrect view of what the French actually do, France is a very long way away, and it's difficult to tell from the other side of the world what they're actually doing.

Conclusion: If you love marriage, dismantle it before anyone else gets a shot at it. If it comes back, it was yours all along.

"Redefining marriage will only lead to more calls for 'equality' in the future." – Senator Cory Bernardi, 6 June 2015

Senator Cory Bernardi is one of the great thinkers of our time, and if you don't believe that, then you clearly haven't read his blog or newsletter "Common Sense Lives Here". I challenge you to find anyone more common.

Bernardi is concerned that redefining marriage is a slippery slope that will lead to people marrying and having sex with their pets. That's the sort of Common Sense argument that led to him being forced to resign as Tony Abbott's parliamentary secretary in 2012.

But marriage is still the oldest institution we have, and it should never, ever be redefined. Except in 1882 when the United Kingdom determined that women were not the property of their husbands. And except in 1967 when the USA decriminalised interracial marriage. And except in 1992 when marital rape was criminalised by the Australian Supreme Court. But maybe that's the point: marriage has been redefined enough already! One more and it may stop being marriage and end up being something else. Like a house or a shower cap or a pigeon, or something.

Bernardi is entirely consistent on this issue, as he is on every issue. Earlier in that same exact same post he rails against "manufactured faux outrage" in reference to Joe Hockey's comments on housing affordability. Cory had been training up on manufactured faux outrage by retweeting this popular meme about how Caitlyn Jenner won the Arthur Ashe Courage Award over the runner-up, inspirational Army veteran and newly-minted conservative poster-child Noah Galloway. This turned out to be completely made-up, of course, and Cory retweeting it was probably just him trying to see what it's like to get angry about something that doesn't exist. It's all about getting in your opponent's mindset.

Conclusion: Cory is right to be concerned. If we let some people have equality, then everyone will want it. It's like they don't even know what the word means.

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Like that? Then check out Young and Gay in Belgrade.
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"If same-sex marriage is legalised, we will get a divorce." – Nick and Sarah Jensen, 10 June 2015

This heterosexual Canberra couple's threat to divorce if same-sex marriage is legalised is, without a doubt, the best form of protest I've ever seen. We are honestly going to have to adopt this for all issues. Like if more health-threatening wind farms get built, we stop using electricity in our homes. Or if, say, the Australian government recognises Palestine as a state, we squint in confusion whenever we see a Palestinian on the street and look like we're thinking really hard and go "Hi, uh... I wanna say Portugal?" and then Palestine looks crushed and we stride off, grinning wildly and sassily snapping our fingers.

But opponents of opponents of same-sex marriage should pay close attention to the Jensens, and not just because their house is up on big stilts and they have a robot maid. No, Nick and Sarah have legitimately demonstrated something that nobody quite believed until now.

Opponents to gay marriage believe that its legalisation will somehow affect their marriage, an idea that inspires incredulity in gay marriage proponents. But given this belief, it makes perfect sense that such a couple would then assume that their own divorce would in turn affect everyone else. It's a totally insane move—partly because nobody cares, but also because, seriously, NOBODY CARES—but it is entirely consistent with their initial premise, so I have to give them props for their commitment to going back on their commitment.

Conclusion: A sound and reasonable plan of action, up until the point that gay people start getting divorced. Then Nick and Sarah will need to get remarried out of protest.

"I support gay marriage." – Bill Shorten, 31 May 2015

When Bill Shorten came out in favour of gay marriage, it brought the total number of things we knew about Bill Shorten up to one. It was a bold move on Shorten's part: not all politicians can find the courage to eventually support an issue that 72 percent of Australians also want, and one that's sweeping the world, and is considered largely inevitable. But somehow, Bill found a way.

So what does Shorten's support actually mean? Labor's role in Opposition is to give voice to those who disagree with the government's policies. A great example was in March, when the Government put forward a contentious bill on mandatory data retention, a vital issue in terms of both national security and the privacy of Australian citizens. Labor was unequivocal in its response: led by Shorten, they dragged their feet and walked with notable slowness as they crossed the floor to vote with the government on this issue.

So if all of Shorten's decisions are based on mitigating criticisms ahead of the next election—for instance, the Government can't use his theoretical opposition to data retention as an example of him being soft on defence—then clearly gay marriage fits in that box as well.

Basically, if Bill's strongly in favour of something, we should be very wary.

Follow Lee on Twitter: @leezachariah

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