Tasmanian Times

Kevin Bonham

Give us untold confusion over unacceptable discrimination and fearmongering anyday


Hmmm, seems Guy Barnett was none too concerned about any lack of uniformity or confusion potentially created by different laws in different states in an article in The Australian of 26 Aug 1994 when he said that Federal Government moves to override Tasmania’s peculiar “anti-gay” laws of that time (and hence move towards national uniformity in the removal of such laws) should be “strenuously opposed”. The sternest argument he could muster against the repeal at the time in terms of actual consequences was that amendment to age of consent laws [i]might[/i] have been needed alongside gay law reform. (Most of the rest of the article consisted of getting stuck into the UN for its decision on the matter.)

While digging around for that one in the microfiche I found a lovely piece of similar vintage by one Tony Abbott, in which the then very newly-elected MP argued that overrides of this kind were resulting in the states ceasing to retain “meaningful powers”. Apparently in 1994 for Abbott the power to have “unenforced and unenforceable” and “out of touch” (his own words) laws on the books was an important part of retaining those powers.

We’ve just had Peter Gutwein objecting to evidence from the 1990s concerning homophobic views he expressed at the time and saying he no longer holds those views. It’s not a fully effective response, because it is quite likely that in decades to come the arguments being used against same-sex marriage now will themselves be seen as homophobic and unacceptable, and moral reactionaries of [i]that[/i] time will say that they no longer oppose same-sex marriage but that is going too far. If your attitudes were too “conservative” to support a justified change 20 years ago and are still too “conservative” to support another one now, have you really changed? But I’ll give Gutwein some credit as I do think he does think for himself and is capable of genuinely changing his mind. I hope he will do so again now, realising that the so-called “step too far” is actually one that has been shown elsewhere to be harmless.

I also wouldn’t put too much effort into rebuking Abbott if something he said now contradicts something he said 18 years ago; even 18 minutes or 18 words is just par for the course for him.

But when it comes to Guy Barnett, I don’t believe Guy Barnett has ever really changed on these sorts of issues. And I believe the reason he has not changed is that his political views are nothing but an extension of his religious views into a walk of life, the politics of a supposedly [i]liberal[/i]-democratic nation, in which they have no place.

There is an amusing contradiction in Barnett’s movement here. The spuriously so-called marriage defenders tell us that same-sex marriage is not really marriage because marriage is defined as being between a man and a woman. Then they also tell us that the Constitution regulates same-sex marriage through a provision referring to “marriage”. If the Constitution really does regulate arrangements for same-sex marriage then that must be because same-sex marriage [i]is[/i] marriage whatever the Marriage Amendment Bill 2004 seeks to define otherwise, and therefore that their claim that same-sex marriage is a contradiction in terms is false.

As for Barnett’s concern about “untold confusion”, give us untold confusion over unacceptable discrimination and fearmongering anyday.

This observation originally appeared as comment on this Guy Barnett MR here. Comment on this observation below or on the original article HERE

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  1. Pilko

    August 19, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    Kevin said..” And I believe the reason he has not changed is that his political views are nothing but an extension of his religious views into a walk of life, the politics of a supposedly liberal-democratic nation, in which they have no place”.

    And that is the nub of the issue when it comes to reading the views of the Liberal Parties far right on Gay Marriage. Their view is more than informed – its dictated by a histotically unreliable, culturally irrelevant ancient religious text. The Liberal party doesnt allow a conscience vote on Gay Marriage & neither does God.

  2. Sue DeNim

    August 15, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    Not sure what to make of comment #2 but its clear Andrew graduated from the University of the Bleedin Obvious. I’m not sure this was ever in dispute Andrew.
    Life does not depend on marriage. It also really has little to do with Love. Gay people, (or should I say people who happen to be gay, still just people) are still allowed to love each other. Marriage is more about religous sanctioned unity of two people and a state mechanism for keeping track of who owns what (or who as the case may be?). The church is so wound up with god and creationism that it can’t follow the basic law of nature, adapt or perish. If you want to remain relevant you have to move with the times. I was always taught in religious studies that the church was about the people that made it and attended it, not the building or the doctrines, so which is it?

  3. Wining Pom

    August 15, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    ‘Life depends upon man and woman.’
    Well, thanks for that information and we can now consider ourselves educated.
    But what does it mean? What’s the point of putting an inane comment like that out? Do you think that there’s a plot to ban heterosexual marriages? If gay marriage is allowed then procreation will cease?
    Gays are not allowed marriage because life depends upon man and woman. Anther way of feeling OK about bigotry.

  4. Andrew

    August 15, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    Life depends upon man and woman.

  5. Wining Pom

    August 15, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    How does anyone have any objections to gay marriage?
    If neighbours were gay, what effect would it have?
    Loud music is annoying and can upset. Even an untidy yard with rubbish lying around is annoying, but because they are gay!!
    It says it’s bad in the bible. Well, we have separation of church and state so that argument is out and if anyone uses their religious beliefs to decide what’s good for us, that’s as bad as totalitarianism.
    Children must have a mother and a father they say. Really. So divorce is to be banned then.

    The fact is, some people are uncomfortable with gays and feel comfortable discriminating. They camouflage their discrimination by quoting the bible are voicing concern about children, but they are plain and simple bigots who would prefer that a section of our society is disadvantaged so their beliefs are safe. The beliefs that they are not born with. The beliefs that they choose.
    Homosexuality is part of humanity, religious belief is a choice. Get over it.

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