Fear mud­dies de­bate wa­ters

Albany Advertiser - - OPINION -

So now we are par­tic­i­pat­ing in a postal sur­vey on mar­riage equal­ity in the Mar­riage Act in­stead of our Gov­ern­ment do­ing its job to con­firm a ba­sic hu­man right.

The Mar­riage Act was al­tered less than 20 years ago by a brief mo­ment in Par­lia­ment with­out any con­sul­ta­tion.

Given the large sup­port among Aus­tralians for mar­riage equal­ity, why hasn’t the same hap­pened now?

An­swer: be­cause de­lay­ing tac­tics and “mud­dy­ing the wa­ters” to cre­ate un­cer­tainty are clas­sic strategies used by the pow­er­ful few to ma­nip­u­late the many. If you want to un­der­mine a sim­ple propo­si­tion, fill it with the con­fu­sion of emo­tion and stir with half-truths and de­cep­tions to pro­duce fear.

The de­fault re­sponse to fear is to say “no”. Just as John Howard skil­fully de­railed the Repub­li­can de­bate with false sin­cer­ity, cul­ti­vated un­cer­tainty and de­lib­er­ate con­fu­sion of “choice”, some con­ser­va­tive politi­cians and re­li­gious lead­ers are con­found­ing mar­riage equal­ity in a most cyn­i­cal way.

Where is the trans­parency and in­clu­sive­ness, where is the hu­man­ity, where is the re­spect, where are the gen­tle “Chris­tian val­ues” in prac­tice?

I am dis­ap­pointed by those ac­cept­ing mis­in­for­ma­tion, de­cep­tion, and closed-mind­ed­ness as the only truth.

I am sad­dened by those tainted by un­cer­tainty and fear, con­sid­er­ing vot­ing “no” when their hearts urge them to vote “yes”. I am dis­gusted by those few po­lit­i­cal and re­li­gious lead­ers who are know­ingly spread­ing mis­in­for­ma­tion de­lib­er­ately se­lected out of con­text from other places and other times.

This is not some other place or time, this is Aus­tralia, where peo­ple are wel­comed, where di­ver­sity of thought, be­lief, cul­ture, in­ven­tive­ness, cre­ativ­ity and cui­sine teaches and en­riches us all. Where love is love.

Say­ing “yes” to mar­riage equal­ity has noth­ing to do with im­pair­ing free­dom of speech or re­li­gion, noth­ing to do with what is taught in schools, noth­ing to do with how well chil­dren are loved or par­ented.

I be­lieve say­ing “yes” to mar­riage equal­ity is about fair­ness, re­spect, in­clu­sive­ness, con­sent and love.

The Aus­tralian Fed­er­a­tion and Con­sti­tu­tion were cre­ated as a sec­u­lar, not re­li­gious, in­sti­tu­tion and doc­u­ment.

There is a de­lib­er­ate and con­sid­ered sep­a­ra­tion of re­li­gion and law, a sep­a­ra­tion of church and State. Mar­riage equal­ity in the Mar­riage Act is about le­gal recog­ni­tion of union and con­sent, not about faith or be­lief.

The ideas and dis­putes about the def­i­ni­tion of mar­riage in re­li­gious faith or be­liefs have no place in a le­gal def­i­ni­tion.

Mak­ing a le­gal def­i­ni­tion that up­holds mar­riage equal­ity in no way di­min­ishes peo­ple’s rights to their own be­liefs in re­li­gion or faith. Ev­ery­one is en­ti­tled to their be­liefs, but no one is en­ti­tled to force those be­liefs on oth­ers.

No­body has the right to “own” the le­gal def­i­ni­tion of mar­riage.

Where would that place civil pro­cesses such as mar­riage cel­e­brant and reg­istry of­fice events? Tony Evers, Cuth­bert

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.