Same-sex mar­riage de­bate shows no sign of let­ting up

The Australian - - COMMENTARY -

Tony Ab­bott does a fine job un­der­min­ing his own ar­gu­ment (14/11). He links op­po­si­tion to same-sex mar­riage with de­fend­ing West­ern civil­i­sa­tion, on the grounds that “change is part of life but change for the bet­ter is in­vari­ably evo­lu­tion­ary, not revo­lu­tion­ary, and builds on our best tra­di­tions and his­tor­i­cal strengths”.

But the change in at­ti­tudes to SSM has been evo­lu­tion­ary. It hasn’t hap­pened overnight or been forced on the peo­ple. It is the re­sult of a steady shift in be­liefs about ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity over the past 50 years. And the postal sur­vey, be­cause it’s a demo­cratic means of mea­sur­ing that change, builds pre­cisely on one of our best tra­di­tions and his­tor­i­cal strengths.

Tra­di­tions in­clude not only es­tab­lished in­sti­tu­tions, but also meth­ods for mod­i­fy­ing them as be­liefs or cir­cum­stances change.

So, what­ever one’s views on SSM, the idea that it rep­re­sents a re­jec­tion of West­ern civil­i­sa­tion — over the past cen­turies, a dy­namic and so­cially trans­for­ma­tive force — is non­sense. Stephen Buckle, Glebe, NSW Han Yang (Let­ters, 14/11) ar­gues by anal­ogy that be­cause as a pro­gres­sive, he is happy to de­liver a con­ser­va­tive news­pa­per to Lib­eral cus­tomers, then other busi­ness peo­ple should not de­cline to make a trans­ac­tion that of­fends their moral be­liefs. Per­haps he does not read The Aus

tralian for it ac­tu­ally of­fers a broad range of so­cial, eco­nomic and po­lit­i­cal views from dry to sop­ping wet. Sec­ond, as a busi­ness per­son, he is not be­ing asked to pro­duce a good or ser­vice that of­fends his be­liefs. He is not be­ing asked to go against his be­liefs — just de­liver a news­pa­per. Peter Cross­man, Chapel Hill, Qld

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