Saturday, March 19, 2011

Rally for Equal Marriage Rights - Perth, Western Australia 19/03/2011

When one of the Mo’ mums at my kids school asked me what we were going to do on the weekend I told her that we were going to the Rally for Equal Marriage Rights. There was some stunned silence before she managed to exclaim something about me fighting for the ‘other side’.  We talked about it for a little while. She is very happy to openly discuss things, which is great because although we disagree on a lot of issues I don’t feel like I have to hold anything back when I talk to her.

 I am not much of an expert on the plight of the LGBT community so I thought I’d just write down some of the things she said and then leave it up to more my savvy commenters to reply. I’ll add my thoughts too.

The first thing she asked was if I knew that if the LGBT community was given equal marriage rights then ‘it’ would have to be taught in schools, to kids as young as 5?

My thoughts – I just watched an episode of Glee the other night where being gay was spoken about very openly in and out of class. I know it is just TV and they didn’t mention marriage but I get the feeling that the world is pretty well prepared for their kids to talk about LGBT rights etc at school.  Also, if people are born with their own sexual orientation then wouldn’t it be imperative that they hear about the legitimacy of their feelings at school?!

Then she said that if same-sex couples were allowed to marry then paedophilia and bestiality would soon follow as accepted ‘lifestyle choices’.

Ugh! – So (some) opponents of same-sex marriage actually look at the love and devotion clearly displayed by consenting adults in a same-sex relationship as being ‘in the same boat as’ or 'close enough to' criminal behaviour.

My friend said, "soon religious people will lose all of their rights". I asked her what she was talking about. She said that she "wouldn’t be allowed to say that being gay is wrong."

Hmmm. I’m pretty sure freedom of speech won’t be taken away, but you might want to be careful where you say it, more for your own safety than anything. Believe what you want to believe, just stay out of other peoples' bedrooms and marriages!

One other thing she said was that it wasn’t right for 3% of the population to dictate to 97% of the population.

Well what ever happened to fighting for the little guy, the minorities? I also think that the 3% statistic is fairly useless since I wonder how many LGBT are openly gay? My spider senses tell me that the real figure is much higher… 


  1. Then she said that if I went to the rally, I'd be lending credibility to the Socialist Left who take over worthwhile social issues and make the whole thing all about them.

    And I had to admit she had a point.

    BTW, the 3% figure is probably about right, but to me it wouldn't matter if it were .001%.

  2. oh Maureen, I think i know who you're talking about, and for the record, I am sorry you had to put up with this persons ignorance! And at school! Gah, we are supposed to be an open minded community, committed to looking at other ways(of education)when others have failed.Sigh.
    Please do not take her comments as indicative of the school parents in general, I'm pretty sure her views are sadly tainted by religion.
    Personally i think it was awesome that you went along to the rally, and wish i could have come along with you!
    It saddens me when ignorant people tell me(and others) the way I was born(bi-sexual) is wrong. But still, I hear the fear behind her statements, that somehow being Gay Or Bi is contagious. If you dont agree with Gay Marriage, dont have one! Very simple! No-one is forcing anyone to do anything they dont want to.
    Thanks for bringing this up. I realise its a contentious issue for some, but sadly, most of it comes from a place of fear. Does not their God teach to love everyone?

  3. Well, right about now, one of their leaders is leaning hard on this line of reasoning:

    1. We think that gay marriage shouldn't exist.
    2. This is a religious belief.
    3. If gay marriage is available to anyone, we aren't allowed to practice our religious belief.

    It's kind of a religious freedom issue.

  4. Next time we're in conversation I'm going to remember to ask you about that one Daniel. To be honest I couldn't hear that much through the distortion on the mic so I can't really report much about what was said... but the musical number was cool :)

    Hey Kath (your first comment here, yay!). Even though I knew this persons religious background I was still surprised by her views. I am more used to people saying "because God said so". To hear all of the other excuses just kind of upset me a bit because I realised that this probably means that there are lots of other people rationalising their fears in this way. And I think you got it spot on there, it really is about fear. Always, it is some form of fear of 'the other'. If only we could look at each other and see ourselves.

    Sadly the old testamant god is the one that seems to speak out against same-sex marriage... the new age lovin' god gets shelved when people are trying to 'protect their children'.

  5. wow! I am impressed by your ability to bite your tongue and resistance to head implosion from stupidity!

  6. Love the Socialist Left!

    Do you? They just shit me. I don't know why. I'm sort of lefty and sort of socialist, but damn.

    I have a feeling this is how agnostics feel about atheists.

  7. For a lot of religious people, sex comes down to this: making babies. This means, for them, that pretty much anything except penetrative heterosexual sex is going to be considered subversive. The idea that sex can be had for pleasure and intimacy alone is very difficult for some to comprehend. This blissful ignorance lets the procreating believers put gay sex into a hate-box of animal rape and child abuse. In years to come, people will look back upon this period of history and each hang their head in shame, much as we do now when acknowledging such atrocities as the stolen generations, forced female circumcision and the 'don't ask, don't tell' policy introduced by the Clinton government.

    I don't think we can 'count' sexual preference or the gender people choose to present as, which is effectively what statistics on LGBTs do. Sexuality is fluid and fast, and excruciatingly and beautifully personal. I have used statistics in argument in the past but I'm moving away from doing so. Numbers are all too easy for the prejudiced to grab and hang their flimsy arguments on.

    Symbolically, it is vital that gay marriage be made legal. Practically, I don't think it's the answer. What we can ultimately aim for is a union open to all, one without the stitches of religion and puritanism holding it in. Something like a civil union, perhaps.

    As for the idiot person who is concerned she may lose her right to call homosexuality 'wrong', I'd tell her how sad it is that she feels it fair to deny love and happiness to people she hasn't even met yet. Maureen, I don't know how open the school is to this, but is it possible to offer a rainbow-themed talk on the joys of acceptance? Perhaps a few mums (Kath, etc) could get together, create a short lesson? I'm not yet a mum and I haven't dealt with the school system, so I may be totally out of touch here. All I know is, if we can't get through to the nutty bigots, we need to fight as hard and as long as we can to get AROUND them.

  8. Ah yes, and this ties in again with why I want to get a divorce!! I think that the institution of marriage, as we know it, is outdated and tainted with religion. I would love to scrap it and start a new union. Something very personal and non-religious.

    You are quite right in pointing out that part of the problem with statistics (and there are many problems w/them!) is that people are very hard to put into boxes! I think you may be onto something there by minimising their importance.

    It's actually quite a rainbow friendly school! There are just a few Mormons there and they tend to keep their views to themselves (these more extreme views anyway) unless they're talking to an ex-Mo like me :P

    Maybe Kath and I can go around holding hands and such, I'm sure R will join in too :D

  9. I just had to look this up, and I don't know how applicable it is to Australia, but Morris Thurston's commentary on the consequences of Prop 8 (which were pretty much everything your friend was saying - tax exempt, schooling, etc) was good reading for me back in 08. It's a pdf, but you can google it and download it.

    Kind of unrelated, but I also just discovered this and I think it could be very helpful based on the review I read.

  10. linkage problems - go here:

  11. A lot of people reason from the foundation of "gayness is icky." More than 50% of California voters anyway. On that basis, obviously, anything that makes being gay more visible and acceptable ought to be opposed. If one has internalized the ick factor one doesn't need reasons to oppose gender neutral marriage rights, just rationalizations.

    I find that it is more useful to cut through the surface rationalizations to the rights question. You know, building on common beliefs. Something like: whether or not you think gayness is gross, if the government is going to ratify a couple's decision to form a household together it has to be available to all couples. Mormons really don't want the government enforcing other people's religious preferences. At 2% of the population, in the US, we are the little guy too. And us little guys need to stick together. Then you can point to the many jurisdictions with gay marriage where the church is dealing just fine and the sky has not fallen.

    On the particulars of your conversation I don't know enough about your local questions to comment authoritatively. But it looks like three basic categories of concerns. Some of it looks like the kind of misinformation that was floating around here in California a while ago, i.e. religious rights. Some is slippery slope silliness. And some is the correct perception, cloaking in various guises, that gay marriage will make gayness seem more normal and okay. It will. That can feel like a threat to some people, although it shouldn't. The more that last one is made explicit the less power it has.

    Of course, people are right to feel threatened in general. The world is an increasingly precarious and worrisome place. Most of the things that make it threatening are much harder to tackle than defending a definition of marriage. Even though it is the wrong target it is so much easier to hit than the right ones.

    I think that the Mormon leadership is absolutely right to identify the family as vital to healthy people and healthy societies. So many of the adults I know are still dealing with the ways they were screwed up as children by their dysfunctional families. And the Mormon leaders are right too about families being under stress today. The problem comes in identifying gay marriage as the one of those stressors to be fought instead of as a potential help in keeping families healthy.

  12. Retief, I will address only your last paragraph.

    The 'many adults' you know who are 'still dealing with the ways they were screwed up' were, I'm assuming, brought up in the traditional family format of mother and father? Doesn't this show that being screwed up or not has nothing to do with the sex and/or sexuality of the parent, but rather with bad parenting in general?

  13. Simonne, yes, of course it does. The format is less important than what happens within whatever format. Bad parenting may be pervasive but it is a sexuality neutral phenomenon. Children need parents who love them. And, ideally, who love each other. And who are themselves well-adjusted adults.

    I liked how you described sexuality as fluid and beautiful earlier.

  14. we agree, I take it. Homosexual people should be freely able to marry and parent and have a relationship in the same way as heterosexual people.

  15. Thanks AB, both of those links are very useful :)

    Great points Retief, I am particularly keen to give plenty of voice to -"gay marriage will make gayness seem more normal and okay. It will. That can feel like a threat to some people, although it shouldn't. The more that last one is made explicit the less power it has. "

    you also said - "The problem comes in identifying gay marriage as the one of those stressors to be fought instead of as a potential help in keeping families healthy." Why has this point been so hard for people to see. Homosexual couples are just as likely to be good parents and spouses as heterosexual couples!

    I think Simonne was confused by the tone of your comment. As a regular commenter I knew you were being sarcastic earlier on there and having a go at homophobic ways of thinking but it's so easy to misinterpret things that are typed! ...anyway, looks like it's all sorted now!

    "Children need parents who love them. And, ideally, who love each other. And who are themselves well-adjusted adults. " Rad:) Rad:) Rad:)

  16. I should probably have been more clear that lots of people didn't include me. I think we do agree that gay people should be able to have their marriages legitimized by the government the same as hetero couples.

    I don't know why it is so hard for people to see. Maybe once battle lines get drawn a tribal mentality takes over.

  17. We'll just have to keep people talking and listening to each other to break down those tribal barriers.