A Shorten Labor Government promises to pass Marriage Equality within the first 100 days if they win the election. An Abbott-Turnbull Government favours a plebiscite. Both of these cases were argued at the first Facebook leaders debate last night.
Leadership Debate 17 June, 2016 – Marriage Equality Plebiscite
Malcolm Turnbull: I support same-sex marriage, if we are returned to Government, there will be a plebiscite, then all Australians will get a say on the issue. I’ll be voting yes. Lucy will be voting yes. We will be urging people to vote yes. I am very confident it will be carried.
Bill Shorten: Now the argument says, Oh Plebiscite, it’s very democratic. But the truth of the matter is that this is a debate where I don’t believe that people’s relationships and love for each other need to be submitted to a public opinion poll. I think we have seen two terrible events in the last week that shows hate and extremism exists in modern societies. And I don’t want to give the haters a chance to come out from underneath the rock and make life harder for LGBTI people.
Malcolm Turnbull: With great respect to you. I believe Australians are better than that. I believe we can have a discussion about marriage equality. It can be civil. It can be respectful and we will make a decision as a nation and then, as a nation we will respect the outcome.
The debate on marriage equality so far, has been anything but civil or respectful. Therefore, one can conclude Turnbull is one or more of the following:
- Outright lying
- Responding with empty platitudes
- Playing semantics with the words ‘can be’ and ‘will be’
- Intentionally arrogant and insulting towards the people who have already expressed they have been harmed by this debate
- Ignorant and out of touch with the commentary already occurring within this debate
- Supportive of the hateful and harmful commentary from the Anti-Marriage Equality lobby and considers this commentary, a civil and respectful debate.
Let’s take a look just a small taste of how the marriage equality debate has developed thus far. It has been far from civil.
*Warning: This post contains comments and pictures that may be upsetting and hurtful to LGBTI people, their families and allies.
A Taste of the Respectful and Civil debate thus far:
Leaked pamphlets, to feature in an upcoming campaign against same-sex marriage, suggest children of gay and lesbian parents are more prone to “abuse and neglect” and more likely to be unemployed, abuse drugs and suffer depression.
The pamphlets, obtained by Fairfax Media, have been prepared and funded by Chris Miles, a former Liberal MP and member of the Foreign Investment Review Board.
“Not only is the information on this flyer wrong, it will put the lives of young gay people and the children of same-sex couples at risk by reinforcing the message that they and their families are broken.” (Croome, AME)
The Rainbow Noose
Australian Marriage Alliance advertisement opposing marriage equality
The group is claiming that same-sex marriage will increase suicide because people who are against it will be bullied over their views if it becomes law.
What About the Children?
Australian Marriage Alliance television advertisement opposing marriage equality. The central message that only children who have a mum and a dad “Miss out” on a real family.
“I’m signing this because I’m a child of two absolutely loving lesbian parents and I’m really offended that this advertisement blatantly slandering same-sex parents’ ability to be parents simply based on their homosexuality,” he wrote. “My mums are amazing and I honestly need nothing more than them and their love in my life.”
Australian Marriage Equality national director, Rodney Croome, said,
“The booklet likely breaches the Anti-Discrimination Act and I urge everyone who finds it offensive and inappropriate, including teachers, parents and students, to complain to the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner, Robin Banks.”
Mr Croome said he has received several complaints from teachers in Catholic schools who were horrified to learn at staff room meetings that the booklet will be distributed.
Comparing Marriage Equality to Animal Sexual Activity
A federal Nationals MP has drawn a comparison between same-sex relationships and two rams having sex in a paddock, provoking condemnation for the ‘offensive’ and ‘inappropriate’ statements, with the Greens calling on him to apologise and retract them.
Educating Children and Parents about the dangers of Marriage Equality
Parents took to social media to express concern over the event some described as “highly offensive’’, “extremely bigoted’’ and “totally inappropriate to be sent out through a Catholic school parent email list’’.
In a plea sent to the school, obtained by the Mercury, one parent said: “Although the teachings of the Catholic religion is one of husband and wife I find it inappropriate that the Catholic Diocesan of Wollongong would find it appropriate to be “informed” about this topic by a (group) with a clear agenda leading up to a federal election.’’
“There are many families within our school community that would be extremely offended by this type of ignorant propaganda as they are not a ‘family’ as is defined,’’ the email said.
The Australian Christian Lobby has compared same-sex marriage and the Safe Schools program to the Holocaust, dubbing them all “unthinkable things” that happened because societies lacked strong moral guardians.
On Monday he made a comment on Twitter: “Though Orlando is abhorrent, it doesn’t change the real & present dangers of the gay marriage agenda to Aus children.”
People have condemned the insensitive tweet and even called the hopeful politician “scum”.
“Absolutely disgusting. Completely offensive,” one commented.
As I live in a Regional Town, I am dedicating a section just to debate within regional communities.
There are extra complexities to consider in regional communities for LGBTI people. There is no Mardi-Gras. There is no wide-spread community support. Young LGBTI people often move away from the area quickly and there is a high rate of suicide. A harmful and hurtful debate only places further stress on young LGBTI people in regional communities.
“My point is that people saying ‘let’s follow America’ in their argument for same-sex marriage … well what about the right to bear arms?” he said.
“I mean, you wouldn’t follow America on that one.
George Christensen, LNP Member for Dawson.
“I am sure this has something to do with it. People do not feel welcome here. You get shunned. So people leave and go to places where it is acceptable.”
BuzzFeed News asked Christensen (QLD LNP MP) what he thought about LGBTI teenagers in the area feeling as though a program like Safe Schools is needed.
He (Christensen) likened it to children wanting to eat ice cream.
“Kids love everything. Kids would love free ice cream at school,” the MP said. “Is that good for them? Y’know. Of course they are going to defend something they are being told is good.
“But is it good? Is it social engineering? I think it is clearly social engineering.”
Using the plebiscite as campaign fodder.
The Capricornia Young LNP accuse the Labor candidate of vandalising the LNP member’s office. (The Labor candidate responded in the original thread that she was there to support the rally and was writing “Love is Love” on a heart-shaped post it note. The other person in the photo is the gorgeous Ben Norris from Big Brother, who spoke at the rally.
I attended this Equal Love Rally. We held a peaceful rally. Marched a distance to the LNP Member’s office and those who desired could place a post it note on her door with a message in support of marriage equality.
SMS to the Editor – Rockhampton Morning Bulletin
This is such a small sample from the commentary within the debate against marriage equality thus far and it does not do justice to the plethora of uncivil and disrespectful commentary from the Anti-Marriage equality lobby found within this debate.
This quote from Shirleene Robinson, spokeswoman for Australian Marriage Equality calls for people to understand that language and narrative can cause deep hurt to people.
“Words can inflict terrible harm sometimes and we would ask that people of all opinions remember that,” she said. “The use of intemperate language can cause deep hurt among LGBTI people and their families.”
Deciphering the Leaders Debate Comments.
A plebiscite – Abbott-Turnbull Government
I refer back to Turnbull’s comments within the leadership debate:
“….then all Australians will get a say on the issue”
“….we will make a decision as a nation”
Normally Turnbull palavers on with great verbosity and his words can be deciphered and reduced to something quite simple. On this occasion he used a few words, but it translates to much more: That is:
“When considering marriage, Australia currently recognises two groups of people: heterosexual people and LGBTI people. Australian law currently only respects the right to marry belongs to heterosexual people and excludes LGBTI people and discriminates based on gender.
The Abbott-Turnbull Government thinks the appropriate way to redress this gender based discrimination is for Australian citizens to decide if LGBTI people are the same as them, or a lesser class of citizen. LGBTI people belong to a minority group.
The Government will ask LGBTI people (the minority group the current law discriminates against) to vote on this.
However we will ask the majority – their friends, their allies, people who are apathetic and indifferent, but we also think it is important to ask people who do not consider LGBTI people ‘the same’ or ‘normal’ and should not have the same rights and also those who harbour a deep-seated hatred and contempt for LGBTI people.
These people will make up of the majority group who will decide whether to uphold discrimination towards the minority group.
To ensure people are informed before they vote, as part of this, we will force LGBTI people and their families, loved ones and allies, to listen to the hateful rhetoric from people who argue that we should uphold this discrimination and LGBTI people should remain as a lesser class of citizen, which could cause deep hurt and harm to this group.
To ensure enough information is out there to decide whether LGBTI people are a lesser class of citizen or not, this will cost approximately 160 million dollars of taxpayer money.
It should also be noted that if a majority votes to continue discrimination towards the minority group, then discrimination based on gender should be fully respected and upheld. “
The Legislative Approach – Shorten Government
The legislative approach states that: Discrimination exists within our marriage law and separates citizens and discriminates based on gender. We will move a bill to redress that discrimination and ensure every citizen is equal under the eyes of the law.