Gay marriage debate is more complex than “free love”

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Ubiquitous media commentary on same-sex marriage assumes the moral debate is won, it is inevitable and those opposing it are on the wrong side of history.

Proponents assume no harm can come of it and that mindless bigotry is all that is preventing it becoming law.

So why then is it likely to be resoundingly defeated on the floor of Parliament?

The Greens and the gay activists will say it is because Tony Abbott heartlessly denies his members a conscience vote.

Like most of the analysis of the gay marriage debate, this is too simplistic.

Most proponents assiduously avoid the consequences, such as those explicit in the comments of former Justice Michael Kirby’s testimony to the Senate inquiry into ‘marriage equality’.

Clearly admitting a wider agenda, he said questions of polyamorous marriage could be expected to be considered by parliaments or courts in the future, once same-sex marriage has been safely achieved.

They also avoid discussion of the loss of religious freedom and conscience ranging from marriage celebrants and photographers to bed and breakfast providers fined or fired in jurisdictions which have legalised gay marriage.

After 23 years of gay civil unions, Denmark is now forcing the state Lutheran Church to conduct homosexual weddings. Which churches will be next?

A Christian marriage celebrant in Canada has been dragged before the courts for refusing to perform same-sex weddings.

Closer to home and even before gay marriage is legislated, more than 30 groups who made submissions to the Federal Government’s review of anti-discrimination laws called for protections for religious freedom to go. The Senate inquiry heard many other examples like these.

Andrew Wilkie, Adam Bandt, Stephen Jones and Sarah Hanson-Young can make all the assurances about religious freedom they like, but only the naive will believe the church will not be harassed by activists in the future for its refusal to recognise ‘marriage equality’.

However in the absence of such a debate, the main reason it will be defeated is political. MPs know that despite the hype, this is a low-order issue in their electorates.

When the Greens’ Adam Bandt last year contrived a consultation process for MPs, overwhelming opposition to same-sex marriage was the feedback from electorates.

Of course proponents then point to the polls. But even Galaxy polls have shown support see sawing between 50 and 64 percent, which might be expected on a subject far from the average persons concern.

Some more sophisticated polling conducted by Sexton Marketing for the Ambrose Centre for Religious Liberty showed a slight majority of support for same-sex marriage. But when asked if children should, wherever possible, be raised by their biological mother and father, 73 percent agreed.

The reality is that we can’t have both. That people are confused is not surprising because the debate has been conducted in simplistic catchphrases like “marriage equality” and “equal love”.

While not all marriages involve children, having children and nurturing the next generation is of course the primary reason the State has any interest at all in law which defines marriage.

The government has no business in the love of two adults but it is rightly interested in encouraging the biological parents of a child to stay together wherever possible.

Placing in stone the principle that it is alright to wilfully sever some children from a biological parent to satisfy the desires of adults like Elton John, is something people rightly reject.

While some States have already allowed same-sex surrogacy, one State, Queensland, has realised this is an egregious affront to the rights of the child and is now moving to limit the availability of surrogacy to heterosexual couples.

Proponents will label these concerns as primitive and homophobic but contrary to activist’s propaganda, everyone will be affected if the Government seeks to uphold and defend a law that redefines marriage.

In Massachusetts, which has legalised it, parents have been horrified that their kindergarten children were being taught homosexuality as normal without their knowledge. Legalised gay marriage meant there was no right to exempt your child from this teaching.

An increasingly vocal group within the Labor caucus is demanding an end to this long-running saga. They rightly worry about the brand damage this Greens-inspired policy is inflicting on Labor.

They probably rightly see a strong parallel with the debate on euthanasia, another Greens pet agenda, where carefully managed public debate obscures the facts and consequences that the deeper examination by parliamentary inquiries can uncover.

While some polls put public support at as much as 80 percent, real consideration of the consequences has seen euthanasia defeated in state and federal parliaments nine times in recent years.

As long as there is honest examination of the evidence, same-sex marriage will go the same way.

To send an email to your MP click here.

 

by ACL’s Lyle Shelton

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