Monday, 29 August 2016

The "same sex marriage" plebiscite

we were promised at the election may not go ahead after all. It is being opposed - opposed by the very people who claim to support the idea of same sex couples being able to marry.
They claim it is a waste of money, that the outcome is not binding. that the result is already known, and that parliament already has the power to make it possible. They also claim that the "well funded" argument in favour of the status quo will cause people to vote for that same status quo. They also say the debate beforehand will increase negative feeling towards those whose preference is for the same sex. 
I can think of better things to spend the money on. No, the outcome is not binding - but it would be a very foolish government which ignored the result. Yes, parliament has the power to make it possible. The result is not a certainty but all the opinion polls suggest it will pass and pass by a wide margin. The "well funded" claim is nonsense because both sides received equal funding in a government debate and those in favour of the idea have had a more than usual amount of support in parliament, in the media, and elsewhere. I suggest they have been very well funded indeed - much of it from the public purse. As for the "debate beforehand" causing negative feelings...well it has been going on for a very long time now. Most people are tired of it. Those with no strong feelings one way or another will vote for it simply to try and end the debate. They are tired of it. They really don't care one way or another.
My cousin is in a recognised relationship with his partner. His partner is a great guy and has just been accepted as part of the clan. It was never an issue for any of us. I have friends in other same sex relationships. Marriage has never been an issue for them . Some would simply like the law to recognise a relationship between them so that issues of property and inheritance and the name on a death certificate could be solved without question. 
So, what's going on? If those opposing this plebiscite, something people voted for,  really do vote against funding it then the issue won't go away. There will be new attempts to introduce a private bill. It will take up more of parliament's time whatever happens.
And, if the plebiscite  did go ahead and people did vote the proposal down, the issue still wouldn't go away. Like another issue - the republic - the claim will be that the question was not worded in a way that ensured it passed. 
I am just wondering though whether the problem might not be with something else altogether. One of parliament's strongest proponents of seeing this proposal into law is a senator in a same sex relationship. One of her colleagues told me recently that when her party was in power - and  could almost certainly have pushed the proposal through - the Senator went on record in Hansard saying that marriage was "between a man and a woman". 
I haven't found the reference myself and it may not be true but, if it is, then is that the real reason they wish to avoid a debate?
I'd just like the debate to be over - and I am giving N.... and D.... a "wedding" present anyway. 

1 comment:

Jodiebodie said...

It boils down to respecting the needs of human beings and providing a legal framework to remove discrimination in the areas you specified.

If the government (on any side) is so out of touch with Australian society that they need to spend so much money on a plebiscite, then one needs to question their qualifications and competence to make decisions on behalf of the Australian public.

When there is such an obvious and cheaper solution (no plebiscite) I wonder what the government is using the plebiscite argument for, if not to distract us from whatever other unpopular bills they want to pass through quietly.

I say to them: Instead of making an unnecessary song and dance, just get down to business and govern the country!