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Good news for Australia

Timothy Kincaid

September 12th, 2013

Supporters of marriage equality in Australia may be a bit down after last week’s election put Liberal Party leader Tony Abbott into power (in Australia, the Liberal Party is the more conservative of the two largest parties). While Labor leader Paul Kevin Rudd had promised to hold a vote on marriage equality within 100 days if reelected, Abbott has been a staunch opponent of equality under the law.

But there is good news. A positive omen. A promise of better times.

Because on their NOMblog, Brian Brown from the National Organization for Marriage (theirs, not yours) has this to say:

“Sank Like a Stone” — that’s how same-sex marriage faired (sic) in Australia this past week.

Australia held elections for Prime Minister the other day, but it was as much a referendum on whether the Aussies would redefine marriage or not. Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd nailed his hopes of winning to a promise of introducing legislation to redefine marriage within the first 100 days of returning to office.

As was reported, the pro-marriage platform of the former Prime Minister “sank beneath the waves” of the pro-marriage majority down under.

You may remember I had traveled to Australia in August for the World Congress of Families, and I could not be happier for the friends I made on that trip and our pro-marriage and family allies there.

It’s a great victory for marriage, and a win worth celebrating across the globe. It also serves as a reminder that when people are given the right to vote on marriage, they invariably vote to preserve the true and intrinsic nature of marriage as an institution binding one man to one woman for life in order to love and care for one another and for any children born of their union.

To cement this great victory, the people of Australia should insist on the right to a national referendum to preserve marriage. That’s the best way to capitalize on the momentum of the victory, and only an amendment will protect marriage from the unceasing efforts of gay-‘marriage’ activists and the politicians who rely on them for support. It’s the only way to ensure that the people — and not politicians or judges — control the definition of marriage in Australia.

Okay, let’s ignore for a moment the fact that the election was most certainly not a referendum on marriage, with 57% of voters saying that the candidates’ positions on marriage were “not important at all” to their vote. And let’s not giggle too loudly about NOM’s call for a public referendum on an issue which has the support of two-thirds of voters. Instead let’s look at what this means on a grand cosmic scale.

When NOM starts gloating, something magical happens. It’s an omen more accurate than pig entrails, astrological forecasts, and Pat Robertson’s Hurricane Watch combined. When NOM is on your side, you are certain to lose.

Look at Maine and Minnesota in November. Look at the New York elections this week. Look at France!!

Ah yes, NOM is joyous. And this is good news indeed.

Comments

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Scott
September 12th, 2013 | LINK

Heck, look at Starbucks and General Mills’ stock prices since NOM started boycotting them.

Every CEO in the country should beg NOM to raise a stink about them.

Nathaniel
September 12th, 2013 | LINK

“It also serves as a reminder that when people are given the right to vote on marriage, they invariably vote to preserve the true and intrinsic nature of marriage….”

Um, has he forgotten the FOUR (4!) referenda last November (less than a year ago) where voters chose not to “preserve marriage”? I mean, I know this is a dig at court rulings and legislative actions (inc. France), but it is also dishonest. Surely his supports aren’t so blind that they would fail to see the simple dishonesty in even that statement.

Stefan
September 12th, 2013 | LINK

There is still some speculation that Abbot will allow a conscious vote on a marriage bill, so it’s far from over actually.

Sir Andrew
September 12th, 2013 | LINK

You need to put (sic) after the word “faired” unless that was your own typo. If a typo, please fi it. “Fared” is correct here. Just an editor’s note from an editor to an editor.

Timothy Kincaid
September 12th, 2013 | LINK

Thanks, Sir Andrew.

fixed.

Kath
September 12th, 2013 | LINK

Another small correction – not that I care about it – it is Kevin, not Paul, Rudd. And HE is the reason Labor lost, nothing to do with marriage equality! It infuriates me that someone so slimy like Brown could dare to speak of another countries political process so arrogantly, and so incorrectly! I note he did not mention that Tony Abbott has a gay sister. Nor that all his children support gay marriage and regard him as a ‘daggy dad’ who needs to catch up. I don’t disagree that marriage equality is unlikely to be achieved under the LNP, but polls in Australia have for many years indicated strong public support, we just need a decent person to lead the conservatives and then we will get there.

TampaZeke
September 12th, 2013 | LINK

The other thing that Brown strangely failed to mention is that there was a net gain in marriage equality support votes in both the Australian House and Senate.

Timothy Kincaid
September 12th, 2013 | LINK

Kath – I need to remind myself that I cannot go by memory. I simply do NOT recall people’s names correctly, especially when it’s politicians in nations where I don’t live. (And Paul Rudd might have had a better chance)

KZ
September 13th, 2013 | LINK

Brian Brown’s commenting on marriage equality in Australia, Frank Schubert’s commenting on legislation for those who are transgendered in California, NOM’s recent involvement in France…

NOM has repeatedly broken numerous state disclosure laws. Now the “NATIONAL” Organization for “MARRIAGE” can’t even live up to its own name.

Jay
September 13th, 2013 | LINK

In addition, to the fact that NOM is deluded, there are reports that ACT (the Australian federal district which is a state) is set to enact a same-sex marriage law by the end of the year.

Jay
September 13th, 2013 | LINK

In addition to the fact that NOM is deluded, there are also reports that ACT (the Australian federal district which is a state) is set to enact a same-sex marriage law by the end of the year.

CPT_Doom
September 13th, 2013 | LINK

“You need to put (sic) after the word ‘faired’ unless that was your own typo.”

Would it be too much to believe that Brown intended that as a pun on “fairy” or is that giving him too much credit for intelligence?

Blair Martin
September 13th, 2013 | LINK

Couple of minor corrections and comments on the comments so far.

Jay: the ACT isn’t a state. It has a similar status to the USA’s DC region. It elects two members to the House of Reps, and two Senators (states elect 6 at a time for a total of 12 Senators representing each of the 6 states of Australia). They also have a level of self government which is currently a centre/vaguely left minority government between Labor and the sole Greens member of the ACT Legislative Assembly. That level of self-government can be compromised by the Federal Government which can override legislation. The ACT’s previous Civil Unions Act 2006 was overridden in such a fashion by the former Liberal National Party Federal Government. It basically functions like a large city council.

Reading Brian Brown’s comments – what a strange little man he is… so much of what he said is actually inaccurate.

Firstly, referendums in Australia are held to change the constitution. Currently marriage is not in our Constitution, so holding a referendum is pointless, unless you were wanting to insert into the Constitution that the definition of marriage was the narrow one preferred by his NoM. (In an interesting side-note, whenever right wing and fundamentalist religious folk here talk about “changing the definition of marriage”, it’s nice to remind them it was their hero, former PM John Howard’s Liberal National Government (right wing and deeply conservative) who changed the definition of marriage in 2004 when they changed the 1961 Marriage Act to insert the words “between one man and one woman”, previously it said “two persons”.)

Referendums in Australia are not simple things are they are in the USA or Switzerland for instance. As Timothy says in his article, two thirds of all voters must approve of a change by voting “YES” – AND – a majority of the States as well. So, a majority of electors nationally and a majority of electors in the States. Since Federation in 1901, we’ve had 44 Referendum questions put to us – 8 have been carried. Yes, 8. Not surprising that former PM and founder of the Liberal Party Sir Robert Gordon Menzies said that getting a referendum carried in Australia was one of the labours of Hercules.

A final observation: if Brown had bothered to look at the actual votes cast AND looked at the candidates who supported (or didn’t support) marriage equality, he would have found that John Murphy, a right wing Catholic member of the Labor Party and a strong and vitriolic opponent of marriage equality was defeated in his Sydney based seat, but strong supporter of marriage equality (and brother of an open gay man) Graham Perrett, ALP member for Moreton, a very marginal seat based on the southern suburbs of Brisbane (ones that are often called “the Bible Belt”) was returned with a swing TOWARD him. Around the country members of both parties who had gone on record to support marriage equality (including the belated and somewhat disingenuous statement by the sitting LNP member for Brisbane, Teresa Gamabaro in support of marriage equality after she’d spent the last three years either ignoring it or poo-pooing polls that showed overwhelming support – she is the member for an area which includes Brisbane’s “gay ghetto”) were returned to Parliament and yes, the actual proportion of both MPs and Senators who openly support marriage equality has risen.

What it needs is for PM-elect Tony Abbott to actually adhere to the tenets of the Liberal Party which is to allow all it’s members to right to vote as they see fit. One thing Menzies did when he founded the party in 1944 was to offer a point of difference to the ALP who ruled that all Parliamentarians had to vote as per party policy, rare allowances for conscience votes not withstanding. It’s high irony that the ALP has adopted marriage equality as party policy, but bends to the far right religious nutters by offering a conscience vote (which has previously only been offered on votes for legislation on matters of life and death, such as the death penalty and abortion) and the Liberal Party (which has always been in constant mockery of the true meaning of its name) stands locked in behind a right wing troglodyte who shows his preference for pure Roman Catholic ideology and a tasteless, testosterone fueled version of the Australian ideal.

Regan DuCasse
September 15th, 2013 | LINK

Blair, thank you so much!!! I was able to learn a lot about the marriage equality political process in Canada and South Africa because of knowing natives of those countries, especially who had an interest in marrying under those laws themselves.
Watching France and in particular the intense rallies was exceptional it seemed in the emotive quality behind either side.
That there was violence, and even sadly, the murder of a teen pro equality supporter was extremely sobering.
And yet, marriage equality prevailed.
Brian Brown insinuated himself into the French landscape, no doubt to make his supporters think he’s capable of actively participating in such processes.
And now, he’s mentioned going to Australia for a conference to support NOM’s same political agenda.
And despite being in the backyard, he’s STILL so ill informed and unforgivable inaccurate about what went on in Australia.
If he was imbibing too much of the Peroult shiraz, I don’t blame him. It’s a very tasty Australian wine.
However, it’s evident that he’s stupid and knows his supporters are.
And this is what happens when stupid people try to run things.
They screw up.

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