Are we really still discussing this? Gay marriage and Australian politics
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Are we really still discussing this? Gay marriage and Australian politics

Brisbane : Australia | Mar 21, 2012 at 4:14 AM PDT
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CAN DO CAMPBELL but apparently only if you're STRAIGHT.

Saturday marks the state election for the state of Queensland here in Australia, it marks the clash of Liberal-National Party representative Campbell Newman and current premier and Labor party’s Anna Bligh. Polls have not been in Bligh’s favour, and indicate a landslide victory for Newman.

I happen to lean toward the left, in regards to political ideology, but was, for example – a supporter of John Howard, a conservative icon in Australian politics. He had some flaws, but was a generally effective leader who made a number of great economic policies in Australia, paid off the Commonwealth net debt and halved unemployment. I was saddened to see him defeated so convincingly by Kevin Rudd, a likeable political figure – but almost intolerable due to his Kevin ’07 supporters, who can still be seen at gyms around the country with their faded t-shirts.

I eventually came around on Rudd, who issued a long overdue apology to the indigenous population of Australia, who suffered horribly at the hands of the British. He signed up to the 2020 summit (a nice, but useless promise, if you look at Kyoto), he also abolished the highly unpopular ‘work choices’ campaign, a key factor in the 2007 federal election trumping of the Howard government.

Moving on from that was Gillard staging her coup on Rudd in 2010. Gillard is an admirable Prime Minister for a few reasons – she is a proclaimed atheist (a rare thing in politics, especially from a country’s leader), she is pro-choice in regards to abortion and supports Australia finally becoming a republic, shedding the entirely useless and outdated monarchy of the United Kingdom, and moving away from the Commonwealth. Sadly, she approved of the supposed ‘internet filter’ and also opposed gay marriage, the latter of which is a focus in this article.

Anyway, this short and summary background of recent Australian politics leads me to the current Queensland election. I’m not dictated by any political party regarding my vote, but can freely choose based on electoral policy. The main focus of this piece, is regarding the long overdue issue of gay marriage.

I feel that our look upon gay marriage in fifty years will resemble that of the racial issues of Australia (the white Australia policy, for one) and the civil rights movement in the United States, aswell as the disgusting Apartheid regime of South Africa. In short, it is an outdated policy that needs to resemble 2012, rather than 1012.

Campbell Newman, in April 2011, came out in support of gay marriage: an admirable move for a conservative politician. To be fair, he did say that “won’t ‘ever’ be pushing for laws which prevent same-sex couples from marrying to be changed”. It’s a start at least, for someone supporting a taboo concept among Conservative politicians.

As a completely straight male (although, I do work a popular Brisbane night-club which features a ‘Gay Sunday’ named Fluffy, so my views are perhaps a bit more liberal than your average Anglo-Australian), I just cannot see the justification in Newman seemingly tearing this view aside. In February of this year, Newman took a sharp 180, pandering to the theocratic Australian Christian Lobby in announcing that, if elected – he would repeal the laws passed by Anna Bligh, in regard to the Civil Union Act. Note – Civil Union – not marriage. It simply gives gay couples the right to the same benefits enjoyed by spouses across the world, despite the fact that they may raise horrible, liberal, communist children (that was sarcasm, in case it didn’t register).

Newman is pandering to religious conservatives in this move. Nobody passed a bill demanding gay couples to marry in churches, under the blessing of the most pious clergymen, complete with a blessing from his supposed Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI. I simply cannot see any justification, past this grabbing of the religious vote, that Newman would do this.

This is 2012, Australia are a secular society with respect to religious practice. Why can’t this same respect be shown to other minorities? If for religious reasons, the same part of the bible also prohibits playing with pig skin – are American football players also illegal in this country? Recent study of homosexual couples (male or female) raising children, show no side-effects, except an obvious increase in tolerance, something we need as a society.

In summary, I decided this issue warranted a short and decisive opinion piece written about it. Queensland deserves to lead Australia, with left and right politicians alike showing their support for an out-dated proposal that belongs in Uganda (with their national homosexuality bill), rather than a secular, progressive and growing first-world country. When (and it seems more than likely) Newman is elected on Saturday, I’m interested to see his actions regarding this issue. Its 2012, not 1012.

JoePower is based in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, and is a Stringer on Allvoices.
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