You know there’s something wrong with your democracy when an issue which is supported by two thirds of your country’s population cannot gain any traction with either one of the country’s major political parties.
Recent polling has consistently shown that around two thirds of Australian voters support the legalisation of gay marriage (62% at the last count). So why aren’t our politicians merrily jumping on to this very nice bandwagon that we’ve so kindly provided for them?
I’ve struggled to understand this for quite a while, and the only conclusion I can come to is that the system is broken. If we truly have a representative democracy, then why is no one willing to represent the majority on this issue?
I suppose it comes down to two things: money, and religious influence. (I think I’m going to smack the next person who tries to tell me that religion doesn’t have a negative influence on society). Jim Wallace and the Australian Christian Lobby spring to mind. There must be a financial reason why politicians are in bed with the ACL. I’ve never even met a single Christian who agreed with the ACL agenda , let alone a regular, non-religious member of society. So why does it wield so much power? How much cash is it slipping into the pockets of our politicians?
From the article linked above:
”As a salve to religious groups, [federal minister] Mr Butler said any law change would have to include protections for the churches and other religious groups from anti-discrimination laws suits should they refuse to conduct same-sex marriage ceremonies because it contravenes their doctrine.”
You know that there is something wrong with your organisation when you require special exceptions to anti-discrimination laws. Most normal people understand that discrimination is a Bad Thing. Churches are so happy to embrace it that they even want laws in place to protect them from the repercussions of discrimination. If I was a Church-goer myself, I know that I’d feel so embarrassed and ashamed to read this about my own organisation. However, I’d be happy with religious marriages doing things their own icky way as long as secular weddings were unaffected and non-discriminatory.
Julia Gillard’s recent statements about gay marriage have been disappointing as always – more so because, as an atheist, there is absolutely no logical reason to prevent couples who happen to be gay from marrying. And as a female Prime Minister, it seems rather ludicrous of her to use “tradition” as her cop-out excuse.
”My position flows from my strong conviction that the institution of marriage has come to have a particular meaning and standing in our culture and nation and that should continue unchanged,” she says.
If you really mean that, Ms. Gillard, get out of Parliament House and get back in the kitchen where you ‘traditionally’ belong.
The power of tradition only comes from people believing in it and upholding it. The majority of Australians no longer uphold the belief that marriage should be limited to male/female relationships. The fact that gay people are legally prevented from marrying has no decent excuse and it’s not even a legitimate ‘tradition’ any more; it’s just an ugly old relic, and religious groups are clinging to the buzzword of ‘tradition’ like rats on a sinking ship.
I can’t wait until they all metaphorically drown.