We’ve had a taste in the past few days of the kind of horror the extremist Christian minority will unleash on us if the marriage equality plebiscite goes ahead, with attacks on the Safe Schools Coalition and an attempt to sabotage a Minus18 same-sex formal – which thankfully blew up in the faces of the cowardly, anonymous perpetrators.
We had confirmation of their intent to play nasty when Lyle Shelton went head to head with Jason Tuazon-McCheyne of the Australian Equality Party on Sky News.
He laid bare his homophobia: let gay couples get married, and people might assume he was gay, he complained. He would have to explain that he was married to a woman. A minor inconvenience, one might think. And anyway, what’s wrong with being a homosexual? He ought to be flattered.
And then he demanded exemption from anti-discrimination law, so his mob could make their case properly during the plebiscite campaign. Without being hauled up before the courts for vilifying, humiliating, insulting, ridiculing and demeaning LGBTI people, as the Catholic bishops in Tasmania have been.
I always wondered what their campaign strategy would be: now we know.
Everyone’s favourite homocon seems to agree with Lyle. Tim Wilson wrote:
“Keeping the Tasmanian law intact in the lead-up to a plebiscite on the definition of marriage risks chilling debate so long as the law seeks to stop expressions that may “offend”, “insult” or “ridicule. The solution is to redraft the laws to define harassment to more carefully…”
Shelton has previously claimed that not being allowed to vilify, humiliate, insult, ridicule or demean LGBTI people violates the Australian principle of everyone being given a fair go. And he has a point. After all, if you can’t win a fair argument, why shouldn’t a good kind Christian resort to verbally bashing his opponent?
Hell, why can’t he call out Rodney Croome of Australian Marriage Equality, and they can duke it out behind the pub like proper red-blooded Australian males? None of this pommie poofter “debate” rubbish!
Plus, sounding a lot like Eric Abetz, Shelton claims the right to ignore the vote if he doesn’t get his “free to bully” pass.
“Unless there is protection for free speech, any victory for same-sex marriage in the Turnbull Government’s promised plebiscite will be tarnished and divisive of the Australian community. It is absolutely critical that the plebiscite be completely fair to both sides. The ability to speak freely is a precondition of a fair process.”
“It is not possible to have a fair debate if one side is to be bullied into silence with the threat of legal action for simply expressing its view.”
Now I get it: you want the playing field tilted so YOU can bully LGBTI people, but LGBTI people can’t bully you. Nice try, Lyle, but I don’t think so.
If you get your exemption, then we too can have a free pass to mount a full-frontal attack on the ACL, the Catholic hierarchy, bigoted rabbis and imams,and everyone else on the NO side. Promise not to complain if you feel insulted, ridiculed, vilified, demeaned? That would be fair. That would be a level playing field.
But we’d rather not descend to your level. We will if we have to, but by far the best idea is to put a stop to this whole divisive business. Let Parliament pass the Bill and have done.
THAT TASMANIAN BISHOPS BOOKLET: AUSTRALIAN MARRIAGE EQUALITY EXPLAINS THE PROBLEMATIC BITS
“The booklet says to gay students in Catholic schools that their sexuality is wrong and that their aspiration to marry is a danger to marriage, religion and society.”
“Any principal or teacher who exposes vulnerable children to such damaging messages not only violates their duty of care, but is a danger to students.”
RELEVANT SECTIONS OF THE ANTI-DISCRIMINATION ACT
ANTI-DISCRIMINATION ACT 1998 – SECT 17
Division 2 – Prohibited conduct 17. Prohibition of certain conduct and sexual harassment
(1) A person must not engage in any conduct which offends, humiliates, intimidates, insults or ridicules another person on the basis of an attribute referred to in section 16.
ANTI-DISCRIMINATION ACT 1998 – SECT 19
- Inciting hatred
A person, by a public act, must not incite hatred towards, serious contempt for, or severe ridicule of, a person or a group of persons on the ground of –
(c) the sexual orientation or lawful sexual activity of the person or any member of the group; or
ANTI-DISCRIMINATION ACT 1998 – SECT 20
- Promoting discrimination and prohibited conduct
(1) A person must not publish or display, or cause or permit to be published or displayed, any sign, notice or advertising matter that promotes, expresses or depicts discrimination or prohibited conduct.
POINTS MADE IN THE BOOKLET
Same-sex marriages will
– destablize marriage p4
– attack the very soul of marriage p3
– be gravely unjust to children p 11
– violate religious freedom p11
– same-sex relationships are friendships p7
– to be lived chastely p3
– a very different kind of union to heterosexual unions which make the partners whole p7
Marriage (heterosexual) is
– a fundamental good, a foundation of human existence and flourishing p8
– a way to join families to each other p8
The dignity of children
– means affirming his or her need and natural right to a mother and a father p11
– messing with marriage therefore is also messing with kids p11
By implication same-sex partners are not only excluded from the fundamental goods associated with marriage, including child rearing, but are a threat to them.