The recent ‘Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey’ result is a clear and concise message from the people to the parliamentarians of Canberra. Over 60% of some 12 million people who voted, said yes to the proposition of changing Australian Marriage law to allow same-sex couples to marry. It is undoubtedly an historic result, and as it is passed through the Parliament and into law, it will be a huge transformation of marriage as we now know it. It is also a massive red herring.
By having a majority of the debate outside the walls of Parliament, and leaving much of the conversation to political pundits on both sides, this campaign has allowed many people, both on the left and the right, to be wildly insincere in their arguments. Some statements have been blatantly disingenuous, such as Labor members who have conveniently revealed themselves as life-long gay rights activists, despite their support of past leader’s policies and their supposed factional alignments. There have also been Coalition members who disregarded the election promise at the 2016 federal election, and made the possibility of real plebiscite on same-sex marriage, impossible.
What’s perhaps more disturbing, is that both the Government and Opposition basically refused to debate this topic. Labor believed that even talking about it would induce suicides and hell-fire, and resorted to the mantra “we just want to get this done,” while most Government members were either too scared to debate the topic from a conservative standpoint, or kept a fairly low profile on the issue, until the positive polls for the ‘Yes’ vote came flooding in.
Far-left groups also meddled in the debate, but reassured well-meaning people that this was all about love and whether some people should have the rights as others. It’s wasn’t. In fact, it is these same kinds of groups and ideologies that believe marriage was and still is to a certain degree, a patriarchal, abusive institution bent on subjugating women. Even though this change is a destruction of marriage via the back door (after they realised the front door wouldn’t budge) I am sure what they really care about is love and happiness, and not inevitable decline in marriage that is bound to occur.
And, while this debate was not all about the right for people to love one another, it wasn’t really about traditional marriage either. Many conservatives have also been quite insincere in this debate, and by not wanting to illicit a reaction for people to go out and vote yes, I too fear to have been insincere by association. In fairness, I daresay a large majority of conservatives have been accidently deceptive, but some were certainly biting their tongues this whole campaign, and daring not to speak the truth about the current state of marriage in the developed world.
To say, as many of us have been, that a ‘No’ vote is to “Save Marriage” is a vast overestimation of the effect of marriage in Australia. The real saving to be done is not restricting the five percent of people who are gay in this country from marrying each other, it is the vast number of divorces the Government presides over, which affects millions of adults and children.
The real fight was lost in Australia in the 1970s with the passing of the Family Law Act by the Whitlam government. This global “emancipation” which is known as ‘no fault divorce’, resulted in the real death of marriage: no rainbow flags required.
This isn’t to say that marriage between people is dead, as I’m sure many of you know, the nuclear family is alive and well between individuals. However, the institution of marriage, among other conservative pillars of society, has mournfully eroded into the current state.
People in the so-called ‘Coalition for Marriage’ may agree with these sentiments, and would seek not only to limit marriage to heterosexuals, but also strengthen laws to keep married couples together. But I fear, some of the very same people who would find troubling the sight of two gay men or two gay women exchanging vows in a wedding ceremony, are also people who have themselves committed sins against the institution of marriage, and don’t respect is effect on the institution and Australian society.
This is pure hypocrisy, and the argument cannot be realistically put without addressing those caveats. When the nuclear family is at a stage where an incredibly large portion of children are raised by one lone parent, or at the very least, one biological parent at a time, making the case for limiting a married gay couple raising children simply holds no weight. For a government to restrict two married lesbians from raising a child, while the actively supporting single motherhood, is absurd.
What was needed in the affairs of marriage was a complete revision; a return to something that once took primacy in the world. A system that raised responsible children into adults, kept married couples in wedlock, and made people much happier overall. With the electoral landslide that occurred with the postal survey, and the very high voter turnout, the chances of Australia going back to pre-Family Law Act legislation seem very unlikely.
The institution of marriage’s coffin has had its last nail hammered in. It is time now for conservatives to accept this, and seek to savour the remaining pillars of Western civilisation. It is only a matter of time before the sights of progressive ideologies focus on another societal building block, and seek its annihilation. Let us hope there is a sincere political party in Parliament there to defend it.