Going postal will not resolve equality issue

There are times when people you thought you really knew shock you with their views. I was talking with one of my cousins recently who I thought would have been vehemently opposed to same-sex marriage. The opposite was true.

“I really couldn’t care less,” he said.

Now this bloke is what you might call a “man’s man” as was his father before him, involved in the construction and cattle industries.

At the time, he was telling me about how same-sex marriage would benefit my business as a marriage celebrant.

Which is not true, given that some people will boycott me because of my beliefs and I am expecting some people on the LGBTQIA spectrum to become celebrants because members of that spectrum are likely to be more comfortable being married by a non-heterosexual person.

Unfortunately, my cousin is unlikely take part in a non-binding, non-compulsory postal plebiscite – because like many others, he does not see it as a big deal.

So the result of the plebiscite is likely to be skewed and not a true reflection of community opinion.

One of the biggest furphies is that governments which break promises pay a penalty at the ballot box; which is utter rubbish but a view espoused by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott.

Although Abbott broke so many promises when he took the conservatives to power they nearly did lose the next election, so perhaps there might be something in it.

But I don’t think that not holding a plebiscite is in the same ball park.

So what is it about same sex marriage that gets people – albeit a minority- so hot under the collar?

Some time ago I studied a course called Introduction to Behavioural Sciences.

According to the tutors, 10 per cent of the population is totally heterosexual, 10 per cent is totally homosexual and everyone else lies on a continuum in between.

So perhaps people having doubts about their sexuality is a cause of their hateful behaviour.

Which is why people who do “come out” face such a terrible time. But why should they have to?

And if two people love each other why should they be deprived of the right of expressing that love?

I’m no constitutional lawyer, but if John Howard was able to change the Marriage Act to include the words “between a man and a woman” by legislation and without the benefit of a plebiscite what is stopping the present government from using legislation to allow same-sex marriage?

It’s not about religion and I reckon it would only be the most orthodox of people with religious beliefs that would be against same-sex marriage.

We see ourselves as being an inclusive, diverse society.

But how can we, when we mistreat a group of people who are different to many of us only because of their sexuality?

And here’s the kicker. There are many people in our society who describe themselves as being gay or lesbians, in all walks of life, including sport.

And I reckon they are not going to put up with the continuous discrimination they face on a daily basis for much longer.

Politicians do need to be aware of this and show a bit of intestinal fortitude – or suffer the consequences.

So do the right thing – and not just to save the ridiculous amount of money a plebiscite will cost.