YES, yes and yes again. To what? The plebiscite on same sex marriage. And why? Because it is the right thing to do. Most of us know someone who is LGBTQI.
In my case, it is mostly through my involvement with local theatre, but also high-profile sportspeople and commentators. I also have two young female friends who have “come out” (I hate that expression).
No doubt it was a shock to their parents, but there is also no doubt that they do not love these kids less than their other children. Which is important.
For most young people the realisation they are gay is a traumatic experience and can even lead to suicide or self-harm.
The fact is, they are born gay; they do not choose it.
There should sensible debate around same sex-marriage, which recognises freedom of speech.
But “sensible” does not seem to be a relevant factor.
I have recently read a pamphlet put out by the Coalition for Marriage, titled 3 WAYS GAY MARRIAGE WILL CHANGE THE CLASSROOM.
It summarises the situation by saying: “Changing the marriage law will have consequences for what is taught in our kids’ classrooms. Changing the marriage law to allow same-sex couples to marry means taking gender out of our laws. Radical gay sex education programs will become more widespread and compulsory as has happened overseas. More and more kids will be taught their gender is fluid and not based on biology. If same-sex marriage becomes law, parents will not have a leg to stand on if they don’t want their kids taught radical sex education and gender ideologies. Saying ‘yes’ to same-sex marriage means saying ‘no’ to parents’ rights.”
Pretty full-on stuff, but we do have freedom of speech in this country.
Although you can forgive Labor Senator Penny Wong for being a bit testy when, she claims, the Australian Christian Lobby describes the children of gay people as a stolen generation; especially when she has two young children herself.
Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott has been quoted as saying:
“If you change marriage you change society; because marriage is the basis of family; and family is the foundation of community”.
But Tony has failed to mention what the divorce rate is doing to our community.
And it must be fun sitting around the Abbott family table at Christmas time. Abbott’s sister Christine Forster is an openly gay woman.
So where does she fit into marriage being the basis of family and family is the foundation of community?
But the other side of the fence needs to be careful too.
Overly aggressive tactics are likely to drive people into the “No” camp.
There is a need for restraint and to be seen to be accommodating for everyone’s opinions, while putting your case forward in a logical manner. And to pick your mark.
Many people might now think of Margaret Court as being a bit of a loony, given her religious views.
But she is also one of our most successful and loved sports people.
So we don’t need former tennis stars such as Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova telling us we should change the name of the complex named in her honour.
At the end of the day, it comes down to reading all the evidence and arguments – and then voting YES. Please.