Australia is headed for a postal vote plebiscite on same-sex marriage. I shouldn’t be surprised that this is the latest farce to come out of the Government. But over the past few days since the Monday morning’s ‘not with a bang, but a whimper’ moment in the Liberal Party Room, I’ve felt so much rage that it’s a wonder I haven’t done injury.
I wrote about the plebiscite the other week and I’m sorry to be going on about it again, but really, I’m not sorry. This is fucked. Plain and simple. This debate isn’t about gay people and their right to marry; it’s simply a tactic being used by the Government to hold on to power in a misguided way.
We are being treated as political collateral, and I really, really, really shouldn’t be surprised. The Government has been content to break other promises during its time in power, yet the plebiscite promise is sacrosanct. Almost as holy as the sanctity of marriage (but of course for straight people only).
And I think that’s what’s sticking in my throat the most. That this whole thing is not being done for the good of the country, or to improve the mental health of LGBTQ+ youth, or (in a rather cynical and economic way) improve revenue. It’s being done purely for party political reasons.
And I hope it haunts the consciences (if they have such a thing) of these politicians.
What would you spend $122 million on?
The price tag has always been an issue with the plebiscite, whether postal or otherwise, but at this time where the economy is tanking and people are worried about how they’re going to keep the lights on, spending $122 million on an opinion poll is an insult to EVERYONE.
And it’s made worse by the fact that it’s attached to marriage equality. (The argument goes that: “those gays are costing the country millions and I get nothing out of it. I can’t even call them faggots anymore.”) I could easily think of better things that the country could spend $122 million on. Couldn’t you?
Of course, economics isn’t the only reason for doing things, despite the Liberals’ cognitive-dissonance over being ‘good economic managers’. I’m just surprised that those who rule us think that it’s a good use of money, or rather, that Turnbull thinks it’s a good enough price to pay to hold onto the so-called ‘top job’.
The freedom to hate
I’m fortunate that as I scroll down my Facebook feed, I’m fairly well cocooned in a leftist-leaning, pro-marriage equality balloon. I like that. It’s safe. It’s comforting because logically and viscerally I know that there are people out there who hate me. And I mean pure hate. The kind that is so strong it takes on form.
But for the most part, I shield myself from it. With this latest hate-campaign, I know that’s not going to be the case for much longer. In fact, I’ve already seen it and even though I shouldn’t be surprised, I still struggle to understand how anyone in this day and age can possibly have a problem with who I marry. Or with who anyone marries.
What also astounds me is the refusal of people to see that what they’re saying is hurtful. That when they say, ’I’m not against it but I’m not for it,’ that actually means you are against it. ‘I’m not a bigot, but…’ YES, YES YOU FUCKING ARE.
And so we’re going to have months of this. November is the date slated unless it gets held up in the courts. More delays. More hate. More being held back. Canada has had marriage equality for over ten years since 2005.
Let me repeat that:
Canada has had marriage equality for over ten years since 2005.
And they’re the nicest fucking country on Earth. Even more so because of it.
Meanwhile, Australia languishes in the horrors of its colonial past, along with its lack of Aboriginal recognition or treaty (and that’s just the tip of the iceberg on indigenous issues), epidemic levels of violence against women, and a worrying trend of racism that has always been there despite our claims of multiculturalism.
There are plenty of issues we could be dealing with but this is the one that’s sucking up the nation’s attention. I’m sick of it. I’m sure plenty of other people are sick of it too. But instead of dealing with, taking the remaining vestiges of kudos that the Government might claim from a free vote, and getting onto other important things, we’re going to go through months more of hate under the guise of ‘everyone’s opinion matters.’
The vote is coming. Until then the best we can do is hold tight, love each other and hope that it gets better.
(And by the way, register to vote if you’re an Australian. If the postal vote comes back with a ‘no’, I’m out of here.)