The job is not to fight for Labor or Liberal, it is to elect a pro-gay parliament regardless of party

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by Brooklyn The Borough

If the stirrer has been a bit quiet for the last few days, it’s been because the political prospect has been so depressing.

How can you not despair when the far left get into bed with the Christian right to demand a vote on whether you’re a full and equal citizen or not? The catalogue of faiths ranged against us must now be updated: Islam, Evangelism, Catholicism, and now Trotsky & Marks Schism.

In the meantime, does anyone know where I can find a good supply of pink triangles and striped pajamas?

The other occasion for an attack of the megrims was also born of religion: Abbott trying to have his cock and eat it, so to speak. There’s pressure in the party room. There’s Libs coming out for gay marriage. He doesn’t want the coalition to have a conscience vote on marriage. But if that’s what they want, he can’t stop them. After the election, not before. And not till they’ve done all the important stuff. Maybe.

I think I’d prefer an honest “F—- off!”

And then Tasmania voted against it. Australian Marriage Equality failed to make any impact in the Tasmanian election. Anti-gay candidates all got up. In another surreal moment in an increasingly surreal political environment, AME issued a press release claiming victory because 51% of voters voted for equal marriage.

A word in your ear, people: you lost. State-based marriage was always the feeble runt of the litter, with very little chance of survival. Can you please stop flogging the poor beast? Let it die a peaceful death and bury it in an unmarked grave.

A word to the wise (and also to AME, Equal Love, Rainbow Labour, Community Action Against Homophobia).

Come September there will be an Abbott-led Coalition government. It will hold power for at least two terms. Nothing we can do will change that. Our issues are not vote changers for other people. Shamefully, they’re not even vote-changers for many of our own.

If they were, Ali Hogg would be out canvassing for pro-gay Liberal candidates and Tim Wilson would be handing out how to vote cards for pro-gay Labour candidates. At least AME have seen the light, and will support pro-gay candidates regardless of party.

Because the game has now changed. It’s not about re-electing Labor (impossible) or stopping the Coalition (ditto), it’s about ensuring the make-up of the next Parliament is as pro-gay** as we can make it, regardless of party. It’s about behaving like sensible intelligent voters and voting for the best candidate for our community on an electorate by electorate basis. Refusing to be cannon-fodder for any party machine.

It’s about downing anti-gay MPs, whatever their party, and electing pro-gay** ones.  It’s the only chance we have to hold onto the rights we have won, and possibly expand them, over the next ten years.

**That’s “pro-gay” – not just – or even – “pro gay marriage” – pro LGBTI rights across the range.

E M Forster, a great and gay writer, once said, “If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country.”

I challenge all gay activists, campaigners and politicians to do likewise. Please, for all our sakes, have the courage to betray your party, not your community.

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About the author

Veteran gay writer and speaker, Doug was one of the founders of the UKs pioneering GLBTI newspaper Gay News (1972) , and of the second, Gay Week, and is a former Features Editor of Him International. He presented news and current affairs on JOY 94.9 FM Melbourne for more than ten years. "Doug is revered, feared and reviled in equal quantities, at times dividing people with his journalistic wrath. Yet there is no doubt this grandpa-esque bear keeps everyone abreast of anything and everything LGBT across the globe." (Daniel Witthaus, "Beyond Priscilla", Clouds of Magellan, Melbourne, 2014)