Same-sex marriage: a matter of equal rights

Dennis Atkins has written an opinion piece in the Courier Mail on US Supreme Court judge Justice Anthony Kennedy’s “coherent, comprehensive and cogent” majority judgement on same-sex marriage. The judge reasons and writes beautifully:

    “No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family,” he wrote.

    “In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were.”

    The justice went on to say those who argued before the Court for marriage equality made a case that this union continued beyond death.

    “It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage,” he said. “Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfilment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilisation’s oldest institutions.

    “They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The (US) Constitution grants them that right.”

    Justice Kennedy makes, on behalf of the court, what he clearly sees as a conservative position to uphold and strengthen the institution of marriage.

    He says not to give same-sex people the legal right to marry weakens the institution because it creates two classes of marriage and excluding same-sex couples conflicts with what marriage is all about.

    “Without the recognition, stability, and predictability marriage offers, their children suffer the stigma of knowing their families are somehow lesser,” he wrote.

    “The marriage laws at issue here thus harm and humiliate the children of same-sex couples.”

    “They also suffer the significant material costs of being raised by unmarried parents, relegated through no fault of their own to a more difficult and uncertain family life.”

Barrie Cassidy points out that Newspoll in 2003 found only 38% support for gay marriage. Last year a Crosby-Textor poll found support was 72% with 48% supporting it strongly. Mark Textor said:

    With Australians across all key demographics supporting marriage equality in record numbers, it’s fair to say the public has made up its mind, the community debate is over, and it’s time for politicians to act.

    We will be using this landmark research to work with Government members who have yet to declare support for reform to show them they have nothing to fear. (Emphasis added)

Cassidy thinks that Abbott’s stonewalling may cost him politically. Even if he wins he loses. Cassidy thinks the issue could make a difference in marginal seats.

This is a worry too on the part of pro-gay marriage Liberal MP, Ewen Jones, who according to the AFR said:

    he supported the senators airing their views, but feared a ‘no’ vote could rattle those in crucial marginal seats in Queensland and the NSW Central Coast.

    “What worries me about Senators saying stuff is that Bernadi and Abetz are both elected at about eight minutes past six on the night of an election.

    “These statements are not going to hurt their careers at all, but will it hurt Michelle Landry? Will it hurt Lucy Wicks on the Central Coast, those people who Tony Abbott relies on to be Prime Minister?” he said.

    Mr Jones said putting off the debate could prove distracting in an election campaign and hurt the Prime Minister.

Others are suggesting that Liberal Party members could have their pre-selection threatened, and worry about the distraction of the issue coming up during an election campaign.

Abbott’s sister Christine Forster is urging him to act for similar reasons.

Terri Butler says that some LNPers supporting gay marriage worry about their pre-selection. She rebuts the reasons Abbott has for delay. To say it’s a “distraction” is insulting. She details a range of private members bills brought forward in recent years, some initiated by Abbott.

    It’s time Mr Abbott made good on the promise he made to his MPs, that they would be given a “very full, frank and candid and decent” debate about the issue in the party room.

Cassidy says that Mark McKenna wrote in The Monthly that Abbott “rather than using power creatively … relies on his enemies to define his agenda”. There is no better example of that than this issue.

Problem is:

    Fairfax Media estimates that if a free vote were allowed on the bill in the Lower House, at least 65 MPs from all sides of politics would vote for it, with 76 needed to pass it.

    Australian Marriage Equality says that adding in undeclared supporters, there are an estimated 73 votes in the lower house and a slim majority of two votes in the Senate.

Abbott says he wants a bill that is owned by the parliament. It’s not clear that the parliament is ready.

Postscript: Barnaby Joyce has warned that Asian countries could see Australia as ‘decadent’ if same-sex marriage legalised, adding to the farcical views of Senator Abetz.

18 thoughts on “Same-sex marriage: a matter of equal rights”

  1. ” Abbott says he wants a bill that is owned by the parliament. It’s not clear that the parliament is ready.”
    Isn’t Abbott choking the debate? If so it is not necessarily parliament that is not ready, it is Abbott.
    How much longer must we suffer this PM?

  2. Part of the problem facing the LNP is the power of the climate skeptics and opponents to marriage equality within the party room and in the branches that control preselection.
    The other part of the problem is that the LNP is out of step with the majority of Australian voters on both these issues.
    The other part of the problem is that Abbott has been playing the Tea party line for quite some time. Real conservative voters must be getting sick of it.

  3. Until I see the debate consider, or even one person in the media ask the fundermental question of Why is the Government involve in marriage in the first place ?, then we’re wasting our time.

    When that is asked we may get ones like-
    Why is a married person treated differently to a single person, a divorced person, a widow or widower, by Government and the Law?
    What are advantages of Government/Law/Taxation/insurance to a married individual over a citizen that is not a married individual?
    Are there disadvantages?

    Given the majority of Australians are not married, what cost/saving to the Budget if:
    a) All Australians were considered Legally Married?
    b)All Australians were not considered Legally Married?

    As usual the media ” opinionistas ” are nowhere near the real issues, just agenda pushing trivialities.

  4. Being married or some legal equivalent (de-facto etc.) ,works both ways Jumpy. For example:
    -You don’t get the dole if you are out of work and your spouse has a job.
    – The per capita pension is lower if you are married. On the other hand three unmarried people sharing a house still each get the full pension.

    Being married may make financial sense fro a relatively affluent couple who can use marriage to reduce taxes.

    Abbott and Hockey should look at how much they could save by encouraging more marriages.

  5. Abbott and Hockey should look at how much they could save by encouraging more marriages.

    So, Government should manipulate the people further by perpetuating an admitted inequitable and discriminatory fiat ?

    How about the people decide what they themselves do, without coercion, and Governments just stick to defending our rights to do it ?
    How about that ?

  6. How about the people decide what they themselves do, without coercion, and Governments just stick to defending our rights to do it ?

    Like the right to marry?

  7. Jumpy

    How about the people decide what they themselves do, without coercion, and Governments just stick to defending our rights to do it ?

    Sorry Jumpy, but most of us, “the people”, have decided that we are not interested in the glibertarian fantasy world.

    Personally, I’m quite happy living in a democratic nanny state that applies coercion when it can be justified on consequentialist grounds. I would actually like to see higher rates of taxation and coercion so that we edge even closer to social democratic paradise.

    ps. are you ESL? I ask before your writing is atrocious. Reading your tortured prose gives me a migraine.

  8. Karen: Is ESL another area you claim to have enough expertise in ot put other people down?
    Having said that we have all been waiting for some time for someone to visit this blog who can actually put jumpy down.
    Then again, you might be right. Perhaps Jumpy has reversed the normal ESL process and learned to write English before learning to understand.
    Yet again perhaps he is a robot writer programmed to stir the mickey out of those who lean a little to the left. (Jumpy does sound like a robotic sort of name when you think about it.)
    No doubt Zoot has an opinion?

  9. From what Jumpy has said, he runs a small business in the construction industry. Probably he wasn’t in the academic stream at high school.

    My policy is to be inclusive, apart from climate deniers, that is. We shouldn’t make anyone uncomfortable about commenting here or feel inferior.

  10. No doubt Zoot has an opinion?

    Only because you’ve asked.
    I suspect Jumpy may comment whilst relaxing with a few beverages after a hard day’s work. If I think it’s important and I can’t parse the prose I usually ask for an explanation.
    As you may have noticed, recently I haven’t bothered to respond much at all to Jumpy or Karen. I have a life.

  11. Thanks, Brian. Jumpy is a Catallaxy regular (Jumpnmcar) with a couple thousand comments under his belt including various tirades about the “towel heads“. His hands may delight you in ways I never could, but he is certainly no precious Little Miss Polly Prissy Pants.

  12. Karen
    JULY 9, 2015 AT 12:03 AM
    ” I ask before your writing is atrocious. ”
    hahaha, what ?

  13. Nice jabs, Jumposaurus.

    As for gay marriage, I’m all for it. Amidst all the doom and gloom, it is good to see the old and ugly religious based prejudices slowly fade away. I’d personally ban all religious schools, expropriate church lands and put the hierarchies in penal colonies for their active or passive role in historical child sex abuse and marginalising of homosexuals. Let the b@stards seep in the fear and loathing they’ve heaped on others for so many generations.

    Declaring religiosity a mental illness requiring forced treatment might be a step too far but it may still worth considering, in an eye-for-eye kinda way 😉

  14. Karen
    Ban anything you want in your socialist wet dream, doesn’t stop people doing it, just makes more criminals.

    Why do you need someone else to choose what is best for you ?
    Can you not discover that for yourself ?

  15. Jumpy

    You’re all over the shop again, mate. Without the assistance of an ESL translator I have no idea what you mean.

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