What is the marriage equality debate in Australia about? Two people of the same sex getting married? Wrong! In the months since postal vote was announced, and the debate began in ernest, it has become about political correctness, the safe schools program, freedom of speech, boys in dresses and political leadership brinkmanship. Throw in some defaced Captain Cook statues for some intersectional nonsense, because why not at this point? No one comes out of this looking good. Marriage equality has exposed deep divisions in Australia and thrust the LGBT community into the centre of Australian political and social debate where they have been exposed as the vindictive, intolerant group it has become since being taken over by the socialist activists.
The debate is getting ugly, with most of the ugliness, as I expected, coming from the Yes side. At this point the only remaining No voters are those who will forever cling to their traditional ideals. There is no use, or joy, in debating these people, so the masochistic Left has decided to destroy them, while picking up as many victim points as they can along the way. Fake gay hate posters? 20 points to Gryffindor! Their latest target is a doctor who is campaigning for the No side. They have started a petition to deregister her as a medical professional because of her political point of view (amongst the usual death and rape threats). You know you’ve gone to far when even that liberal scream sheet the Sydney Morning Herald thinks you’ve gone too far.
But marriage equality has also exposed my own hypocrisies.
While Australia as a whole may be progressing on social issues, until the marriage equality issue there was reluctance among politicians and the media to discuss ‘gay’ issues (Dear Home and Away, I’m still waiting for that story line about the lithe tanned surfer boy exploring his sexuality in the sand dunes, just FYI). I can’t even remember the last time an LGBT issue was this prominent in Australian discourse or went on for so long. Perhaps the 1997 decriminalisation of homosexuality in Tasmania, which, good lord, was 20 years ago now. But don’t take that as a complete complaint. There’s a degree of comfort in being ignored by society at large and being able to slip in and out of politics as you wish. Being one of those annoying “I’m not like the other gays” gays, I was happy having gay issues stay out of the spotlight because it meant I didn’t have to think too hard about my own hypocrisies and uneasy relationship with my sexuality. Even if it meant I was not taking part in debates that were determining my own future as a gay man. That’s what the activists are there for, right?
Now staying out of politics is impossible. Now the uncomfortable questions I have avoided for so long are demanding answers, especially in relation to my conservative identity. The divisions I created between my gay lifestyle and conservative ideals and the excuses I use to justify the excessive behaviour of each have become increasingly untenable as the community splits over same-sex marriage.
It’s easy to criticise activists as rabble-rousers when you’ve always been too busy or lazy to take part in a protest. And it’s easy to identify with a conservative political party, and shamelessly ignore its darker side, when they are talking about power prices or GST distribution. Less so when they are talking about the intimate details of your lifestyle and comparing it to marrying a bridge. Even with the moderates in charge of the Liberal party, and a Prime Minister in support of it, marriage equality could not go to a parliamentary vote. And who knows how much longer he will be around for (Three more months. That’s how long). If the extreme right of the party takes back the prime ministership their backlash to the excesses of the Yes campaign will be swift and ruthless. And I honestly don’t know how I feel about that.