Sorry, Andrew, your logic doesn’t stand up
LIFE is about choices. Most weeks I choose not to read my colleague Andrew Bolt, although I know he’s one of the nation’s most popular columnists.
It’s just that he tends to increase my heart rate (and not in a “Gee, he’s gorgeous” kind of way) and I usually decide there’s no point wasting my energy on negativity.
On Thursday, he pulled a swiftie, drawing me in with talk of love before slapping me back to reality with the old Bolt backhander.
“Gay marriage activists are about to get from this public vote exactly what they fought so hard against. No, not hate. Love,” he wrote.
And yea for love over hate. But then he continued: “Will they now say sorry to the Australian public they’d damned as bigots?”
What the? By then it was too late. That dastardly Bolt had my heart rate up.
Who’s he calling an activist? Every person in Australia who believes in marriage equality and isn’t afraid to say so?
Mums? Dads? Grandmas? Bob Hawke? Tony Abbott’s daughter? My 14-year-old sons and their friends who don’t understand the antiquated concept that a gay person’s love isn’t as equal as a straight person’s love? Are they all activists?
Mr Bolt will have us believe “activists” didn’t want a vote So Nick Xenophon is quitting federal politics to run in the state election. Let’s hope it finally forces a contest of exciting ideas. As many have said, we need clear policies from Opposition Leader Steven Marshall – hell, maybe even a bold vision on why to vote for him instead of simply voting for anyone but Labor.
Mr Xenophon could give us some substance, too. Since Friday, all we’ve heard from Liberal, Labor and SA Best is that the other blokes are crap. Tell us something we don’t know. We’ve also heard that the SA election just got interesting. But did it get better? because they thought Australia was full of bigots who’d overwhelmingly vote “No”. What a mealy-mouthed, divisive thing to write.
Numerous polls in recent years have shown solid support for same- sex marriage, so there was reason to hope a national survey would reinforce that.
Those of us who criticised an exorbitant, non-binding questionnaire did so because: a) MPs should have done their job instead of pandering to a handful of ultra-conservatives in the Coalition; and b) It’s insulting to the people whose lives are open for debate.
Imagine every other adult in Australia getting an opinion on your right to marry?
Imagine having to tick a box to say whether you believe your existence is up to par?
And imagine having to listen to the fear-mongering of the “No” campaign when the insinuations are so deeply personal – hearing that allowing you to marry could lead down a slippery slope to bigamy and the erosion of religious freedom and freedom of speech.
But for every negative there’s a positive, and the spontaneous support by everyday Australians in recent weeks really has been something such as:
THE 80,000-strong crowd going wild at last weekend’s NRL Grand Final when US rapper Macklemore sang his marriage equality anthem Same Love, which former PM and freedom-of-speech advocate Tony Abbott tried to have banned;
THE $300,000 donated to a charity for African schoolgirls after Senator Cory Bernardi slammed Craigburn Primary School for encouraging male teachers and boys to wear dresses;
THE thousands who descended on Adelaide’s Parliament House to support marriage equality.
It’s also heartening that more than nine million people (or almost 60 per cent of the population) have already returned their survey forms, with five weeks to go and polls still favouring a “Yes” vote.
The rest of this week has been filled with the kind of world events that make you feel almost overwhelmed by sadness: the Las Vegas massacre with 58 dead (sadly, gun laws won’t change), the poor souls in Puerto Rico enduring the destruction of Hurricane Maria and the insults of US President Donald Trump, and Spanish police viciously beating citizens of Catalonia trying to vote in an independence referendum. It can all make you feel powerless.
But if you still have a same-sex marriage survey form sitting on your kitchen bench, you can actually make a positive impact on your world.
If you really need to say “No”, well, so be it. But think for a second how many hearts you will touch if the vote comes back on November 15 as a resounding, uplifting “Yes”.
AT LAST: Bode Mende and Karl Kreile kiss after becoming Germany's first gay couple to be married during the week. It came after Parliament cleared the way for the nation’s 94,000 same-sex couples to marry. Inset, letterboxes get the message across in Sydney.