HOW THE ‘YES’ CASE CAN WIN THE VOTE
THERE is a very easy way for the same-sex marriage lobby to win next month’s public vote. Just prove you aren’t bullies.
Prove you aren’t as intolerant as the gay-marriage thugs who last week attacked Christian students at Sydney University, pelting them with food, dye and glitter and overturning their table and tearing up their posters.
Don’t simply dismiss fears that legalising same-sex marriage will license a wave of more such bullying, this time by politicians.
Don’t just scoff at fears we’ll next get laws punishing priests who won’t perform gay weddings, bakers who won’t bake the wedding cakes or people who simply say they disapprove.
Such fears are not “complete red herrings”, as Liberal frontbencher Christopher Pyne claimed. Former prime minister John Howard was right in attacking this deceptive nonsense: “Those campaigning for a Yes vote call any reference to these issues ‘red herrings’ or distractions. On the contrary, they are legitimate concerns.”
And what makes them legitimate is not just that leading Yes campaigners refuse to say how — or even if — they will protect freedom of religion and speech.
Instead, they have done the opposite. Last week, the Turnbull Government — with Labor’s help — passed “emergency” laws limiting free speech during this postal plebiscite. Banned will be any vilification, intimidation and threats, however loosely defined. But why have leading Yes campaigners refused to condemn the vilification, intimidation and threats of their own side?
Why have none denounced the Cottesloe Tennis Club in Perth for dumping tennis great Margaret Court as co-patron for opposing same-sex marriage?
Why have none criticised the Yes campaigners who a week ago stopped Christians from attending a meeting at a Brisbane church?
Why haven’t they defended Adelaide’s Temple Christian College, whose switchboard was bombarded with vile messages last week after reports that its principal had urged a No vote?
Why have none protested at the Australian Medical Association backing gay marriage without consulting its members first?
All this and more is a grave warning that Yes campaigners are not horrified by such intolerance.
So what more do they plan? How safe is our free speech?
If that’s really a “red herring”, then let leading same-sex marriage activists prove it. Show us exactly what freedoms they’ll protect, and how.