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Australia recently wasted $122 million on a plebiscite to answer a question it already knew the answer to. It was also a serious abdication of responsibility by our elected parliamentary representatives. A case of our leaders being led by those they are supposed to lead!
Perhaps the keenly awaited Ashes contest between Australian and England should also be decided by a similar plebiscite. If our politicians don’t want to practice politics, then maybe, our cricketers too should be excused from having to play cricket!
In 1970, in Minneapolis, US, Baker and McConnell became the first same-sex couple known to apply for a marriage license.
The “marriage equality” plebiscite, luckily, did not throw up a huge surprise. The “Yes” vote won by a massive margin. No Australian election has ever been decided by such a gigantic gap.
The Oxford dictionary defines marriage as the legally or formally recognised union of two people as partners in a personal relationship (historically and in some jurisdictions specifically a union between a man and a woman).
One of the biggest arguments the “No” camp had put forward was that “marriage” could only occur between a man and a woman. But that argument is not correct when the ultimate authority on the English language – the Oxford dictionary – defines marriage as being able to take place between two people, irrespective of their gender – at least in many jurisdictions. These jurisdictions have to be the progressive ones, as the historical definition of marriage was definitely a union between a man and a woman.
“Marriage should be between a spouse and a spouse, not a gender and a gender.”
Hendrik Hertzberg, Senior Editor, The New Yorker
Jurisdictions such as Saudi Arabia and India etc. still cling to the historical definition of marriage. But then, these countries are not exactly the doyens of education, progress and thus, societal evolution! So the question that arose was whether Australia wanted to remain with Ghana and Indonesia or move along with open-minded, well-educated societies such as those in northern Europe. Fortunately, Australia decided that it was not going to be captive to Neanderthal thought processes!
Tyranny of the majority
At the heart of it all, the “marriage equality” plebiscite was really a test for whether or not discrimination by the majority against a minority should continue. It is heartening that Australia decided that it didn’t want to discriminate against a relatively powerless minority.
This is the very measure by which one can judge how “evolved” and humane a particular society is. In all societies, throughout history, minorities have been discriminated against by the mainstream. As societies have evolved and became more inclusive, discrimination against minority groups has continually decreased. The more egalitarian societies, the world over, have become more and more inclusive and continually look to stamp out any forms of discrimination towards the minorities they notice. Why then, would an affluent, educated country like Australia have even considered discriminating against gay people by not allowing them to marry, as being the position of the state, is simply incomprehensible!
An almost ridiculous, but vociferous claim that was made by the “No” lobby leading up to the plebiscite was that it felt that it was being “throttled”! It was not being allowed to voice its opinion, and was being “shouted down” or “bullied” by the “Yes” lobby! This, coming from a group of the populace that for decades has bullied hapless gay people, for fun, is rather disingenuous. A clear case of the pot calling the kettle black!
So, let us examine, who really was bullying who…..
The view of the “No” voters, at its simplest level, was that while they would continue to have the right to marry, they did not want this right to extend to the gay citizens of this country. They wanted to “impose” their values, norms, and definitions, onto other people – in this case, the gay community – who incidentally they had absolutely nothing to do with!
Unlike the “No” voters, the “Yes” voters, on the other hand, were not looking to impose their values, norms, and definitions, onto other people. They were not interested in telling anyone what they could or couldn’t do.
“I have to wonder at what point the people fighting to protect marriage will realize that traditional couples haven’t exactly been doing too good a job of it so far.”
Dan Pearce, Author, Single Dad Laughing
Who then, was trying to bully whom? Who was seeking to impose their will?
Hijacking of reason
The “Yes” lobby also tried hard to convolute the entire debate. Extreme viewpoints were being bandied about. “If you are going to allow a man to marry a man, then what will you do tomorrow when a man wants to marry a dog? Where will this end?”…and so on…
A man is really being “replaced” by a dog. Is that an acceptable argument? Is not the person who puts forth this argument suggesting that a gay man is the same as a dog? Does this not show the clear and extreme prejudice harboured against gay folks? To many of these completely biased individuals, gay people are the same as animals. They are certainly not human!
In the end, however, good prevailed over evil! Hooray!!!!