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Marriage equality is an act of justice, too long delayed and denied.

October 22, 2015

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The following article is by Bill Shorten…

At its heart, marriage equality is about removing discrimination from our laws.
It is a recognition that love between two people of the same gender is of equal meaning, equal value and entitled to equal respect.

Marriage equality is a simple, overdue change to Australian law our Parliament could deal with in one day of considered debate, where all sides could be heard, culminating in a free vote.

Couples could sit in the Parliamentary galleries and gather on the lawns to celebrate the moment when their love became equal in law. It would be a wonderful day, a unifying national moment.

The alternative method, first proposed by Tony Abbott and now embraced by Malcolm Turnbull, is a plebiscite – a $140 million national poll.

Everyone accepts this would, at best, take a lot longer and cost a lot more, Mr Turnbull has said as much on a number of occasions.

But I don’t think enough attention has been paid to the biggest risk a plebiscite brings – the danger and the damage of unleashing a divisive, drawn-­out debate.

A plebiscite could act as a lightning rod for the very worst of the prejudice so many LGBTI Australians endure. A platform for people to attack, abuse and demean Australians on the basis of who they love.

The fact is, casual, unthinking discrimination and deliberate, malicious homophobia are still far too common in our society.

It’s not confined to keyboard warriors and Twitter trolls. It’s in our schoolyards, our workplaces, our sporting clubs. This takes a heavy toll on mental health, particularly for young people.

Two out of five young Australians who are gay have thought about self­-harm or suicide.

A young Australian who identifies as gay is six times more likely to consider taking their own life, compared to their sibling, classmate, colleague or teammate.

It’s especially hard for young gay people in our regions and the bush where physical remoteness can aggravate a sense of isolation. We’ve got a lot better at talking about mental health in Australia.

I remember, when I was finishing school youth suicide was still a taboo topic.

I can remember hearing of the passing of young men, but no-­one spoke of how they died.

No ­one could imagine what drove them to it.

I often wonder if, for some, the stigma and the struggle of imagining a future, lonely, isolated, treated differently, was too much to bear.

That same prospect still haunts too many young Australians who identify as gay, and it won’t stop until we banish discrimination from our nation’s laws and our national life.

But if, through a plebiscite, we give a taxpayer­-funded platform and a megaphone to the very worst forms of hateful abuse we will only add to the burden too many Australians have to bear.

Modern Australia is built on the idea of equality. We shouldn’t be setting up a scenario where one group of Australians are asked whether it’s a good idea to extend equality to another.

Marriage equality is an act of justice, too long delayed and denied.

It’s a straightforward way of saying to young Australians who identify as gay, you are never alone.

We are proud of you, for who you are. You belong.

I don’t want Australia to waste another minute coming up with ways to delay this change.

Let’s make marriage equality a reality, now. It’s time.

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. Tom R permalink
    October 22, 2015 2:37 pm

    But I don’t think enough attention has been paid to the biggest risk a plebiscite brings – the danger and the damage of unleashing a divisive, drawn-­out debate.

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/gay-marriage-malcolm-turnbulls-140m-plebiscite-risks-a-platform-for-abuse-20151022-gkfg5r.html?stb=twt#ixzz3pGQfkupy
    Follow us: @smh on Twitter | sydneymorningherald on Facebook

    Unfortunately, he is not wrong about that.

    I’m pretty sure we will hear those who would have been the most divisive cry about shutting down debate.

    And they will mostly come from yabots breed who as we saw was the most secretive of the lot.

  2. armchair opinionator permalink
    October 22, 2015 2:52 pm

    Murder is a small mistake?

  3. Tom R permalink
    October 23, 2015 6:28 am

    Well, that didn’t take long, did it.

    Eric Abetz, the former cabinet minister, has used the racist epithet “negro” in an interview defending his opposition to marriage equality.

    http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/oct/22/eric-abetz-uses-racist-term-to-describe-us-supreme-court-judge-in-interview

    Of course, poor old talcum is “hampered” ffs

    Turnbull has stated his support for changing the Marriage Act on several occasions but is hampered by the comprehensive party room rejection of a free vote.

  4. Tom of Melbourne permalink
    October 23, 2015 2:27 pm

    Í agree with reb. With the dreadful rate of youth suicide, particularly among gay people, it is long overdue to legislate. Having any group marginalised to the point of damaging their mental health is just irresponsible, and the parliament can do something about the sense of being ostracised by the mainstream.

  5. Tom R permalink
    October 23, 2015 3:12 pm

    Í agree with reb.

    I get the feeling reb agrees with the author too yomm 😉

  6. October 23, 2015 7:11 pm

    Classic blib. Manages to say the correct thing in a ticker-less fashion and fail to go on the attack.

    This is how ya`do it blib.

    Some years ago, frightened teabags stepped on the throat of gays that said they might like to get married, by inserting a few words in the marriage-act to prevent the gays getting married, and preserve their phobic beliefs.

    As time has passed, the majority of the public agree the gays should be allowed to marry, after all, in a free democracy, it`s a mistake everybody should be allowed to make.

    Today, the teabags are claiming they need a plebiscite to lift their jack-boot off the gays throat. The teabags claim the plebiscite is democratic and gives all australians a say in lifting their jack-boot, tho the teabags never sought one when the jack-boot came down.

    No doubt, in the lead-up to any plebiscite, the teabags and their agents will be running a `smear-the-queer` campaign to try and poison the public against gay marriage. Our country does not need more discrimination and verbal po0fer-bashing couched in political correctness, that this type of campaign will cause.

    But the teabags will insist on running it.

    To the teabags l say relax, penny wong`s marriage will not collapse canberra, and bob brown`s marriage will not make eric abetz less vile. You have nothing to lose, except ignorance.

  7. armchair opinionator permalink
    October 23, 2015 7:58 pm

    Murder is a small mistake?

    Oh, I didn’t even know that remark was on this thread, it was a reply to neil a few days ago when he was doing his usual finger pointing re asylum seekers, I can’t remember what it was about now. Please completely ignore, posted here in error.

    Modern Australia is built on the idea of equality. We shouldn’t be setting up a scenario where one group of Australians are asked whether it’s a good idea to extend equality to another.

    That’s what we did when we had the plebiscite in 1967 to ask the nation if we should let aboriginals be equal to us and count as citizens in their own land, that is not very long ago really.

    The way I see it, it is the politicians that are standing in the way, creating roadblocks to our progress as a nation. How do useless people like abetz and bernardi get put up for election time after time anyway? They do little in parliament and only rush out to attack any thoughts of social progress.

    Our youth killing themselves because of state sanctioned persecution, hate and intolerance should not be allowed to happen, it is negligence of a government’s duty of care.

    I think we should save money by putting a number of issues on the plebiscite, I’d like people to consider giving australia:

    A Bill of Rights
    Citizen Initiated Referenda
    Republic

    and perhaps

    Universal health and education system
    Religion out of public schools and no taxpayer funding of religion
    No corporate donations to political parties
    A federal corruption body [ICAC]

    If the politicians refuse to accept the will of the people then we should be able to force them to do so or force them out by removing them completely and demanding a new election. I have no faith in politicians representing the interests and wishes of the people here it is obvious that they don’t.

    All questions should be separate so there is no chance of one issue deciding all the others but at least people will have their voices heard, which isn’t allowed in our modern politics and agenda driven media.

    CITIZEN INITIATED REFERENDA
    http://www.theindependentaustralian.com.au/node/34

  8. TB Queensland permalink
    October 24, 2015 11:59 am

    That’s what we did when we had the plebiscite in 1967 to ask the nation if we should let aboriginals be equal to us and count as citizens in their own land, that is not very long ago really.

    And yet the Aboriginal in my NS training platoon in 1970 had volunteered … Aboriginals were exempted from the National Service Act …

    Shows how much value plebiscites really have … that’s why the Libs want one … they can simply be ignored by the government of the day …

    BTW, KL … that’s a bloody long plebiscite list for the zombies to consider – they’d have to turn off their dumb phones … people buggered up the Republic Referendum ’cause they had TWO questions …

  9. October 24, 2015 1:12 pm

    “”You have nothing to lose, except ignorance.””

    Well said bagz..

  10. October 24, 2015 8:12 pm

    r””Well said bagz””#thanks`buddy:-)

    ,

    tb””bloody long plebiscite list for the zombies to consider””

    #Let`s face it teebz/armchair, we all know there is secure systems in place already, which could be used to `poll` the vast majority for much more `democratic` outcomes. We all know that the ATO and dole-office could be `adapted` and used securely ensuring each citizen gets to cast one (and only one) answer to questions `polled`. Except both zombies `and` zombie-lite won`t allow it.

    #Each year as part of our tax-returns (pensioners can use dole-office system, my neighbor tells me it is all secure computer these days) the citizens could be asked half a dozen `neutrally-worded` questions on social and national issues, EG.

    ,

    Question. Should the Federal Govt Allow gay marriage.?

    ABSTAIN. l have NO opinion on gay marriage and l don`t care what the result is.

    NO. Do not allow gay marriage.

    YES. Allow gay marriage.

    ,

    The same could be done for voluntary euthanasia and other topics, including following teh-yanks into more vietnam-like disasters and flogging-off assets like telstra/telecom.

    (and yes, the `abstain` option must always be there, never just yes/no)

    The `total` results `only` must be published permanently online.

    Demographic analysis must never be run on the results. Data never permitted to be shared, sold, distributed etc. No `Journalist protections` allowed for any `hacking`, leaking of citizens private info and answers would all apply in the same vain the dole-office and ato have.

    WE ALL KNOW this could be up and running, but both teams prefer to run a puppet-democracy.

  11. armchair opinionator permalink
    October 24, 2015 8:58 pm

    This party used to be called Senator Online, they have changed their name and will contest in HoR at the next election.

    I gave then my vote in the last two elections for senate [I always vote below the line]

    ONLINE DIRECT DEMOCRACY
    https://onlinedirectdemocracy.squarespace.com/about-us-intro/

    You can vote on bills via computer or smartphone app and they promise to vote in the parliamen according to the majority view.

  12. armchair opinionator permalink
    October 25, 2015 11:16 pm

    I didn’t know that our ‘freedom boy’ human rights commissioner will be hosting a religious freedom Roundtable in early November.

    We should be promoting freedom of belief, not religious freedom
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-10-22/harris-freedom-of-belief,-not-religious-freedom/6875620

    …Religious freedom” is often just a Trojan horse for religious privilege. That’s why we should instead be promoting the freedom of all beliefs, including atheistic ones…

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