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As a gay man, I will not be lectured on discrimination by Julia Gillard

Julia Gillard has had a rough few days. More accurately weeks, well, months. Let’s face it, years. And at the centre of so many of her travails has been debate about her gender. She’s been called a witch…

Julia Gillard has taken Tony Abbott and the Liberals to task for gender bias, but what about her own stance on gay marriage? AAP/Lukas Coch

Julia Gillard has had a rough few days. More accurately weeks, well, months. Let’s face it, years. And at the centre of so many of her travails has been debate about her gender.

She’s been called a witch, deliberately barren, asked if her partner is gay and been the subject of a “joke” menu where a dish was described, with misogynistic cruelty, in terms of parts of her anatomy.

But for all Gillard’s outrage about the language and attitudes she faces, there’s a rather large elephant siting in her office in The Lodge which she seems to determined to ignore: she’s just as guilty of discrimination herself, the only difference being that instead of differentiating between people on because of their gender, she does so on their sexuality.

Until she changes her position on marriage equality anything she has to say on gender, discrimination or equality can only be taken as political posturing. In many ways marriage equality is a relatively minor issue in the larger drama of Australian political life. But on another level it is central to any evaluation of Julia Gillard’s leadership.

Equality of any kind is always important but that’s not why it matters at the moment. It matters because it speaks directly to the question of trust. It speaks to who will be valued and who will be cast aside by our political leaders. It shows us who the PM thinks is expendable.

In announcing the gender discrimination inquiry Gillard held up a conviction she needs to be held to:

Given that I want us to be a nation where [there is] equal opportunity for everyone at every time in their life, I want to get to the bottom of the problem and what the solutions could be.

A deeply admirable sentiment, but if she genuinely believed in promoting “equal opportunity for everyone at every time in their life” gay men and lesbians would have the same choice that is open to her and every other straight parliamentarian. She has chosen not to marry her partner, Tim Mathieson, but the reality is she could marry him tomorrow if she chose to.

She maintains her position on marriage is a personal view. She maintains that marriage is a deeply held tradition. She maintains that other options are available for gay and lesbian relationships.

But each time she comes up with one of these justifications for her position she portrays gay and lesbian people as “others” and actively discriminates against us, constricting our choices. Neither personal beliefs nor tradition can be used to justify discrimination. There’s a word for it: prejudice.

Gillard’s only attempt to justify her position are appeals to tradition. She told Q&A viewers that she didn’t support change because exclusively heterosexual marriage was a “cultural institution of long standing in Australian society.” To Sky News she added that there are “some important things from our past that need to continue to be part of our present and part of our future.”

Should discrimination be one of them? The White Australia policy is an important element of our past, but nobody in their right mind would suggest bringing that back.

Every advance in public policy from civil rights through to the advances of women have been battles against deeply entrenched “cultural institutions”. This is another one that simply needs to be renewed.

On the issue of marriage equality and gay rights in general, Gillard is, to quote Churchill, a riddle wrapped inside a mystery in an enigma.

She’s an atheist, socially progressive woman in a defacto relationship who most recently became famous for a speech on misogyny – it is simply inconceivable that she has deeply held personal views against same sex marriage.

If she does, it’s pure prejudice because it would go against everything else she supposedly stands for. So my only conclusion here is that she’s simply pretending, in order to play safe with marginal electorates where she hopes to shore up her votes among social conservatives. As Tom Dick has pointed out some of the marginal electorates in Northern Queensland and Western Sydney that most concern Labor are 75% Christian. Gillard’s stance on same sex marriage is designed for them.

I’m a gay man, historically I’m a Labor voter, I’ve always considered myself a feminist, but every time Julia Gillard talks about same sex marriage with one of her “I’m not a homophobe but…” statements, the Prime Minister of Australia tells me I don’t matter. The only thing that matters is her grasp on power.

I’ve made up my mind. I don’t trust her.

Can you blame me?

Join the conversation

163 Comments sorted by

Comments on this article are now closed.

  1. Marilyn Shepherd

    pensioner

    Well said. She spits in the eyes of colleagues who are gay or lesbian or transgender and treats them as lesser mortals than she.

    She tramples all over the rights of refugees and I am almost finished a book about the shocking abuse of the civil rights of Australian's who marry nasty foreigners.

    Single parents can forget about Gillard's claimed equality and millionaire mothers can certainly rely on welfare payments for child care.

    Aborigines can forget about equality, they will be managed to within an inch of their lives by beaurocrats.

    Equality in Australia to Ms Gillard is "= look at special me?:

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  2. Michael Shand
    Michael Shand is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Software Tester

    Weak sauce article man,

    You have traditionally been a labour supporter aye?

    But because of same sex marrige you cant vote labour anymore.....why dont you vote greens? why has this only just become an issue for you? why have you been voting against your own interest for so long and only now are you willing to take a stand?

    and instead of crying about how labour doesnt care for you? why dont you praise the greens or the australian sex party for supporting you?

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    1. Peter Wilkin

      Australian Realist

      In reply to Michael Shand

      This is the conversation. People here are highly intelligent so it's hard to get a good troll happening. Your ham fisted attempt to push the author's buttons with the "crying about how labour doesn't care for you" really won't cut it here.

      Watch and wait while you are studiously ignored.

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    2. Michael Shand
      Michael Shand is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Software Tester

      In reply to Peter Wilkin

      "here are highly intelligent so it's hard to get a good troll happening." - You make a good attempt at it, I only expressed my opinion in response to the article I read - no deviant plan to push people's buttons

      But speaking of trolling and attempting to push peoples buttons....do you not see any irony in your comment?

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  3. Daniel Boon

    logged in via LinkedIn

    Its funny, that Marian Sawer (today) posed the question about Australia being ready for a female prime minister but to my mind, lectures the reader on the unfairness accorded to Julia Gillard.

    More pointedly, that she demands that the 'societal rules' change (to allow a female prime minister) and (now) that she stay in power despite a misogynist mind-set population on one hand and then on the other, she didn't support change because exclusively heterosexual marriage was a “cultural institution of long standing in Australian society'.

    I'm not gay, I don't understand why you would want to 'get married' (I've been three times and means jack) but I would have voted for Bob Brown as PM. (how's that for a compromise?)

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  4. Greg North

    Retired Engineer

    I would never dream of blaming you one little bit Marcus for there have been a series of events that would give most thinking people a cause to doubt her trustworthiness.

    I very much doubt she is a riddle double wrapped with mystery and enigma Marcus and you kind of have nailed it with
    " So my only conclusion here, is that she’s simply pretending, in order to play safe with marginal electorates where she hopes to shore up her votes among social conservatives. "
    And I say kind of for she is not…

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    1. Lynne Newington
      Lynne Newington is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Researcher

      In reply to Greg North

      Isn't that just politics?
      Tony Abbott was prepared to "do anything", to become prime minister, not even excluding sleeping with the devil, a well known entity within his religious background....

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    2. Mary Mitchell

      Psychologist

      In reply to Greg North

      Yes let's look at Tony Abbott for comparison, as he is the alternate PM. I'm not happy with Gillard's lack of a coherent framework of convictions and apparent tendency to put votes before convictions - but Abbott? He whose policy on everything is simply "no" to whatever Labor proposes? Who will say anything if he thinks there are votes in it? Who is delaying outlining detailed policies because that would take away from the focus on Labor's internal squabbles? Who when he does say what he thinks shows himself to be extremely conservative, shallow, inarticulate and stuck in the 50's?

      Progressive voters can vote for the Greens, but still have to decide between Gillard and Abbott for their preference votes. No contest.

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    3. Jason Walters

      Researcher & perennial student

      In reply to Mary Mitchell

      Yes Mary, spot on. This is the very heart of the whole larger political problem we face. Neither leader is at all attractive because of the things they hide, rather than those they reveal. If anyone has watched carefully, one can note the precise week and day when Tony Abbott stopped "putting his foot in his mouth" in public. Such a sudden change means either a revolution inside the man which would show on the outside face or far more likely, (because nothing is showing), he was gagged, either willingly or otherwise by his party. Into the vacuum Julia Gillard & supporters have charged, entrapped by LNP strategy.

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    4. susan walton

      logged in via email @live.com.au

      In reply to Mary Mitchell

      I think most are pretty bored with the 'Abbott says no' theory. It's been done to death and hardly true with most legislation passing through the house smoothly and without much comment. Not that I believe mountains of legislation to be a good thing either...red tape is strangling us, but it was passed and Abbott did not say no.

      He did say no to the things that matter, as did most of the population. Labor voters would be better off finding something new to say.

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    5. Marcus O'Donnell

      Senior Lecturer, Journalism at University of Wollongong

      In reply to susan walton

      I have been travelling without consistent access to wifi so forgive my lack of participation in this conversation. Thanks to everyone for engaging so vibrantly. Abbott versus Gillard versus Greens on this issue and indeed as a general electoral choice is another article - and as Mary points out a deeply troubling choice. What I was trying to do here was focus on Gillard because she is the one who has been talking loudly - very loudly - recently about equality and freedom from discrimination. I…

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    6. Lynne Newington
      Lynne Newington is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Researcher

      In reply to Mary Mitchell

      It's not Tony Abbott we would be voting for, it's the "faceless men" behind him from what I can gather, and with them behind him it's no wonder he gets away with what he does.
      If you can be bothered to read through all the monologue it's an eye opener.
      The Faceless Men of the Liberal Party: Kevin Lee June 22nd.
      Mr Heffernan will have to clean that up.

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    7. Mary Mitchell

      Psychologist

      In reply to Marcus O'Donnell

      Hi Marcus,
      Your article has made me think of other possible motivations for Gillard's apparently paradoxical views. Perhaps she sees marriage as an antiquated institution saddled with all the conservative women as property baggage etc. Maybe she thinks it is best if we leave the word marriage for the still quite large segment of society that holds tradition dear, while progressives, gay or straight, can have civil unions with all the same legal benefits? Just a thought.

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    8. Marcus O'Donnell

      Senior Lecturer, Journalism at University of Wollongong

      In reply to Mary Mitchell

      Hi Mary, I think that's a valid position. Dennis Altman pretty much takes that line. And there could be some element of that in Gillard's thinking. It would fit with her own life choices. But the reality is she has a choice. Lesbians and gays don't. We should have the same options. And as much as I would like to think otherwise LGBTQI's can't necessarily be lumped together in the "progressive" category!

      Thanks or all your comments.

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    9. Freya Elizabeth

      Graphic designer

      In reply to Marcus O'Donnell

      Marcus, as a woman who has observed the vilification of our first woman PM for the last three years, I feel your pain and disenfranchisement.

      I think you are wrong however, to make this an issue of Gillard's "character" or trustworthiness.

      The current framing of the criticism of the PM in terms of her "authenticity" is just another in a long line of double standards and double binds (her authority, her competence, her femininity, her sexuality) which have been used in an attempt to render…

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    10. David Thompson

      Marketing Research

      In reply to Marcus O'Donnell

      While I think Mary and Dennis might be reading Gillard's personal contempt for the institution of marriage correctly, I think I am justified in respecting the PM for being above letting her personal preferences rule her legislative agenda and political decisions. I think you would find she would be prepared to make more an effort to get gay marriage over the line, but she has decided this is one battle she is not prepared to spend any of her very, very limited political capital, especially in this…

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    11. Michael Leonard Furtado

      Doctor at University of Queensland

      In reply to Marcus O'Donnell

      Marcus, Thanks immensely for a measured and balanced article! Its sad but predictable that its attracted quite a few nay-sayers in response to the well-reasoned case that you advance. However, reading between the lines, they frantically fan the dying embers of a policy debate on a PM, who is full of contradictions and given to straddling policy positions that are made up on the spot, lack (especially) consistency (as you observe) and increasingly appeal to all sorts of narrow constituency interests…

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    12. Decortes Fleur

      Writer Researcher Producer at creative industry

      In reply to Marcus O'Donnell

      I agree that JG's comments on abortion were not just a political pretence but an insult to her gender. Gillard's USA style Abortion speech on a full moon - the SUPER moon of 2013 - was Julia Gillard's undoing. Absolutely. Totally. Silly/ Actually.
      The 'undoing' of her - was of her own choosing. Too many male advisors. They did call her a witch. But she obviously didn't have a LICENCE TO PRACTICE!!!!

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    13. Decortes Fleur

      Writer Researcher Producer at creative industry

      In reply to Marcus O'Donnell

      Lesbians and gays have millions of choices yet want to get het.
      in NSW gay marriage is legal.
      NSW is the most populous Australian state.
      NSW is HQ for Mardi Gras.
      France has legalised Gay Marriage - Paris would have to be one of the most delightful cities for gay weddings.
      When Lesbian couples or gay men but more so two men want to 'own' the right to become Mr and Mrs the term Mrs then has no legal meaning.
      A right we hold on to whether or not it discriminates against 'others' is a legal right. So to 'get over it' a new term for Gay Men in a Marriage and a New Term for Gay women or Lesbian couples in a marriage seems a more equitable non discriminatory natural progression. Its fair to all.

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  5. Stephen Ralph

    carer

    I've said it before, as a gay man I'm don't want to emulate heterosexuals in getting "married". As Daniel says - it means jack.

    OK so we can have a union, a partnership or whatever.....but marriage to me carries too many connotations that I don't want to be associated with.

    Of course the main ingredient with any marriage,union, partnership is LOVE.

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    1. Peter McDermott

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      I don't necessarily want to get married, but I don't presume to enforce my views on to other gays and lesbians who do want to get married. The issue is whether gays and lesbians have the option *to* get married if they want to.

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    2. Lynne Walsh

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      You are right Stephen John Ralph,....but.......there should be a CHOICE! Choice being the operative word. That is what fairness and equality is all about. We are so behind other countries, we are seen as a bit of a backwater now, because of this and of course the other issues recently. But, as said, if gay marriage was legalised, it would just become part of our culture and we could all get on with other things, and stop wasting time.

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    3. Marcus O'Donnell

      Senior Lecturer, Journalism at University of Wollongong

      In reply to Lynne Walsh

      I agree marriage is a fraught institution and I am not personally enamoured of it. However the lack of choice on this issue for lesbians and gay men is a major discrimination in law that needs to be addressed. Marriage is, as Gillard and the anti-equality forces proclaim, an important cultural institution and as such must be open to all. Why does it cause such controversy? Because it goes to the symbolic heart of lesbian and gay inclusion. What upsets me is that Gillard pretends that her views are…

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  6. Kate Sommerville

    logged in via Twitter

    As a gay woman who was actively involved in rights and equity movements from the late 60s onwards I am not too bothered by the gay marriage issue.

    I do not believe that marriage will .bring attitudinal acceptance to homosexuality in Australia. We already have full legal rights in this country. I am sad that we feel that we must adopt a fairly shaky institution like marriage to feelthat we have equality .

    It is a different matter in the US where marriage equality will legal equities that are not available through other means .

    I am not opposed to marriage equality but for me it is not the top priority at the moment.

    Nor do I think that Labor and Julia Gillard have a perfect record.

    However, the thought of an Abbott neo-liberal government with the mandate of an overwhelming majority is truly despairing .

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    1. Kate Sommerville

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Daniel Boon

      Hi Daniel :)

      My local member is Green (Adam Bandit) and I probably will vote Green with preferences to Labor.

      I think there are broader and more significant issues in the forthcoming election than marriage equality and would be sorry to see people wipe Julia Gillard off just because of her stand on this.

      I was far more disappointed in the cutting back of Newstart benefits to single supporting parents.

      The Gillard Government's position on gay marriage can change later without too much difficulty. I think it will be harder to change the decisions on things like Newstart, however.

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    2. Daniel Boon

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Kate Sommerville

      Its a bit more complicated to my mind Kate, I don't like how Labor and LNP have sold out the electorate; the recent $1 per voter suggested by Gillard and grabbed with both hands by Abbott is indicative of funding issues; that the LNP and Labor will sell out for less from corporate sponsors.
      (remember Abbott said he would sell his arse to be prime minister).

      I believe for us to effect change, we need to change the indoctrinated voting game as promoted by a self-serving media. I think newspapers…

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    3. Kate Sommerville

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Daniel Boon

      Daniel, I mostly agree with you. I am a new Samsung tablet user and having all sorts of difficulty posting at the moment. A longer response was lost in the ether 30 minutes ago.

      Thanks for your response and have a good day too :)

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    4. Tony Grant

      Student

      In reply to Kate Sommerville

      Spot on Kate!

      We have in our street a couple (females) with two young children and they are part of our community, just another couple doing better under Labor/Gillard than "we" all would under Pell/Abbott government!

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    5. Lynne Newington
      Lynne Newington is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Researcher

      In reply to Kate Sommerville

      An evenly based comment, good on you Kate.
      True love can and does exist beyond genders marriage and shaky institutions.
      Cardinal John Newman had a deep abiding love for fellow clergyman Ambrose St John, and in his last will and testament expressed his desire to be buried beside him in death.
      It was the church who separated them when exhuming his body to eventually elevate him to sainthood.
      Only Rome can defy a dying mans wishes.

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    6. Kate Sommerville

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Lynne Newington

      Yes, Lynne - The strong association of Abbott with the Catholic Church really bothers me on a number of fronts.

      As an earlier poster commented, I suspect that Julia Gillard opposes gay marriage because she needs the support of the Catholic right unions to hold power.

      I actually don'r judge her for that in the context of a hung parliament where she had to make some difficult choices.

      We would never have an NDIS were it not for the Gillard government and, quite frankly that is much more important to the Australian community in my opinion than marriage equality.

      Gay people already have equal rights under the law.

      Politics and government are about sometimes precarious choices and Gillard has had to make a few very difficult choices.

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    7. Lynne Newington
      Lynne Newington is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Researcher

      In reply to Kate Sommerville

      The right for Australian children to be safe is important to the community too.
      Irrespective of what side of the political fence one is, she is the one who bit the bullit putting in place the Royal Commission into abuse, amongst many father's and mothers within the Federal Government in a position of power,sitting on their hands for years, generations in some cases out of political expediency.
      With the exception of course of MP Franka Arena who was literally run out of government and more recently, Greens Senator David Shoebridge.

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    8. Michael Shand
      Michael Shand is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Software Tester

      In reply to Daniel Boon

      Brilliant point Daniel, this is what I can't understand about this article

      He has taken an issue that both major party's disagree with and chosen to complain about one particular party, I find it inherently dishonest especially when there are party's that support his view

      Instead of trying to vote in a party that represents him he will cry about labour and by the sound of it vote for Abbott

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    9. Marilyn Shepherd

      pensioner

      In reply to Kate Sommerville

      But why only Abbott? Many of the main players in the ALP are staunch catholic bigots as well.

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    10. Marcus O'Donnell

      Senior Lecturer, Journalism at University of Wollongong

      In reply to Marilyn Shepherd

      There are lots of great comments in this thread. Thanks everyone for engaging so thoughtfully.

      I agree that there are plenty of other reasons to distrust Gillard such as Newstart (and refugees and her back down on anti-rpoblem gambling) I also agree that there are real reasons to laud her like NDIS and the Royal Commission on sex abuse.

      My article was not an attempt to evaluate all her policies or her government it was an attempt to engage her current discourse around equality and discrimination…

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    11. Freya Elizabeth

      Graphic designer

      In reply to Marcus O'Donnell

      I agree with Michelle above, your selection of Gillard seems disingenuous.
      Many women are concerned about the treatment of the PM for precisely the reasons you cite: the potential for further disenfranchisement of other marginalised groups.

      The opposition's use of sexism for political ends is far more alarming and has received scant serious attention in the mainstream commentariat. Moreover the opposition's history of employing racism for the same purposes, demonstrates that this is a much…

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    12. Dianna Arthur
      Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Freya Elizabeth

      When a person is perceived to be 'down' or otherwise disenfranchised, many people who would usually remain silent join with the raging chorus and stick their little boots in as well.

      I believe in equality of marriage. Given that Prime Minister Gillard is not the only openly opponent of equal marriage, I would like to question why the very likely new PM, Tony Abbott has not received the same scrutiny?

      Teflon Tony is it, Marcus? This article, while valid in its content is spurious in its target.

      All of which undermines any credibility of your argument. Timing is everything and the timing and projectory of this article simply reveals itself as another weapon to bludgeon the current Prime Minister.

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  7. Peter McDermott

    logged in via Twitter

    Great article Marcus and it encapsulates what I and many of my friends think. Her conflicting positions on so many issues reinforces the view that she is a leader without a clear vision or coherent philosophy - or worse, that she is just politically disingenuous.

    No amount of social media pics of her hugging Penny Wong's baby will diminish her role in undermining the ALP party platform with the insertion of a conscious vote that looks likely to stymie marriage equality for what looks like a generation.

    When Gillard talks of '"labor values" - I'm reminded there is now a rather large number within the community that Gillard excludes from such values.

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    1. Peter McDermott

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Jerrica B

      I’m rather less concerned with the treatment of the elite political class by the unruly masses than I am at the treatment of single mothers in this country whose political voice is ignored as they try to push back against Gillard’s right-wing policies that will force many of them into greater poverty.

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    2. Stephen Ralph

      carer

      In reply to Peter McDermott

      Those and other seriously relevant issues have been hijacked by leadership squabbles, gender disputes and gay marriage.

      Time to get the perspective focused squarely on education, health, aboriginal and environmental issues.

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    3. Rod Govers

      Retired IT administrator

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      I'm sure the government is capable of doing more than one thing at a time, Stephen. It took Howard's government a very short time to change the marriage act in 2004 and will take just as little time to change it now.

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    4. Stephen Ralph

      carer

      In reply to Rod Govers

      My point is that how would we know what they are doing.......all we get these days is noise.

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    5. Marcus O'Donnell

      Senior Lecturer, Journalism at University of Wollongong

      In reply to Jerrica B

      Jerrica I absolutely agree that the two are not mutually exclusive. The irony is that, as I pointed out above, I agree with most of what Gillard has said about gender inequality. But her position on marriage equality undermines this. As I said above she is saying there are some areas where discrimination is OK. There are some areas where traditional unequal ways of treating people should be enshrined not changed. That is dangerous for women: breaking down tradition has in fact been the biggest victory of feminism. Now Gillard is using tradition as an excuse to justify her clearly "confected" position on gay marriage.

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    6. Stephen McCormick

      Ph.D. Candidate at School of Mathematical Sciences, Monash University

      In reply to Marcus O'Donnell

      I think Jerrica (apologies if this isn't what you mean) takes issue with the fact that you've explicitly said "Until she changes her position on marriage equality anything she has to say on gender, discrimination or equality can only be taken as political posturing"; you can't seriously think that she doesn't believe in gender inequality.

      I do agree in equality for all and I think it's stupid that we haven't got it yet, but you can't say somebody else's position on gender equality isn't sincere just because they have a different (stupid) position on gay marriage. They are related, but not one and the same.

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    7. Marcus O'Donnell

      Senior Lecturer, Journalism at University of Wollongong

      In reply to Stephen McCormick

      Thanks Stephen I am guilty of rhetorical over-reach with that statement. I should have said her position on marriage equality seriously undermines anything she has to say on gender, discrimination or equality. But even with the gender issue there is a strange element of posturing. I was with Gillard 100% on the misogyny speech. Although I think Gillard's over-reach on gender (abortion example) in her second speech was political posturing - she was using gender to promote a politics of fear. In the same way she uses marriage equality to ally herself with the politics of fear espoused by the right. Strangely these are two sides to a coin.

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    8. Kate Sommerville

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Marcus O'Donnell

      Personally, I think that marriage equality, given that gays already have equal rights under the law, is quite low on the scale of importance compared with other social issues such as income support, child care, equal pay for women, the way we deal with asylum seekers and the question of general values and ideology.

      It disturbs me that the 'bigger issues' are obscured by concerns over marriage equality and that people may decide not to vote for Gillard and Labor on that basis alone. I realise…

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  8. Ben Cooling

    Web Developer & Programmer

    Thanks for a great article. Both Labor & Liberal have significant socially conservative supporter bases that makes this issue harder than it needs to be.

    The Liberal party takes its very name from the importance of individual liberty over executive governance. If only they could apply the first point of their belief statement:

    "We believe in the inalienable rights and freedoms of all peoples; and we work towards a lean government that minimises interference in our daily lives..."

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  9. Gary FitzGerald

    logged in via Facebook

    So Marcus your alternative is ah oh mmmm bit tricky that one eh? Not sure that a PM who takes his riding orders from George Pell is going to be overly helpful to you.

    Labor's election slogan should just be "be careful what you wish for"

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    1. Rod Govers

      Retired IT administrator

      In reply to Gary FitzGerald

      You're very likely to be correct, Gary, but how long will Abbott be the prime minister after September? Same sex marriage in the UK (almost through the Lords) and NZ was introduced by conservative governments.

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  10. Peter Campbell

    Scientist (researcherid B-7232-2008)

    I agree that Gillard's attitude on this topic is odd. Perhaps she really is progressive on many matters but not this one. People do sometimes have prejudices and blind spots. I suspect she painted herself into a corner trying to avoid giving noisy conservatives too much ammunition thinking this was not a matter to die in a ditch over. Better to live to fight another day etc. Though the fact that she would do that does suggest that she does not rate this as a matter of principle to be progressive…

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    1. Rod Govers

      Retired IT administrator

      In reply to Peter Campbell

      Labor should not have been allowed a conscience vote, Peter. A 'yes' vote should've been binding on all ALP parliamentary members as marriage equality was added to the ALP policy platform at the last ALP National Conference by a majority of votes. The parliamentary conscience vote was only allowed as a face-saver for the PM because of her attitude.

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    2. Dianna Arthur
      Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Peter Campbell

      Peter C

      I agree. Have always felt it odd that a person in a de facto relationship and an atheist would have any issues with equal marriage.

      For those who believe that PM Gillard really is anti-gay...
      ... go ahead vote in Tony Abbott.

      Make my day.

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  11. G Curtis

    None of your beeswax

    Sorry, but I cannot see the justification for the "equality" claim. Can same sex unions (without outside intervention) result in a pregnancy?
    If they cant then where is the comparison (or equality) with opposite sex unions?
    That's right, golly, it's all about love isn't it? Silly me.

    Homosexual activists want to steer the bizarre notion of so called marriage equality to a discussion of their "rights" being abused, but they don't like it when the comparisons are made with what heterosexuals do and what homosexuals do, and the outcomes of those relationships.

    I don't care what you do with your equipment, but if you profess equality, then you must be prepared to demonstrate equality.

    Poor old Marcus, it is not prejudice when you disagree with someone about something as fundamental as the institution of marriage.

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    1. Stephen Ralph

      carer

      In reply to G Curtis

      Yes as you said - silly you.

      So equality won't rate cos men can't have babies - wow that's deep thinking.

      I'm very happy NOT having children, as are many heterosexual couples these days.....does that make "us" less equal - apparently so according to you.

      Equality = children = nuts.

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    2. Rod Govers

      Retired IT administrator

      In reply to G Curtis

      By your logic then elderly, infertile and those who consciously decide against having children couples should be denied marriage?

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    3. Dianna Arthur
      Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Environmentalist

      In reply to G Curtis

      Silly ole hetero me.

      I didn't have children when married for 8 years.

      I'm such a baaaad girl. I had the idea that marriage was a partnership between 2 people who deeply cared for each other so much they wanted it all official and registered and all of that.

      I realise that marriage is not about that at all. It is about breeding more people, nothing to do with love.

      Only breeders can marry, right G Curtis?

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    4. G Curtis

      None of your beeswax

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      Why not answer my question?
      Because you cannot!
      Man plus Woman equals possible pregnancy.
      Woman plus Woman equals no possible pregnancy
      Man plus Man equals no possible pregnancy

      I challenge the stated notion of equality. There is no equality unless all options can deliver the same outcome. You can be as emotional as you like. Buit I challenge you to answer my question! I know you cannot and will not and will try to wriggle out of it.

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    5. G Curtis

      None of your beeswax

      In reply to Patricia Buoncristiani

      Why not answer my question?
      Because you cannot!
      Man plus Woman equals possible pregnancy.
      Woman plus Woman equals no possible pregnancy
      Man plus Man equals no possible pregnancy

      I challenge the stated notion of equality. There is no equality unless all options can deliver the same outcome. You can be as emotional as you like. But I challenge you to answer my question! I know you cannot and will not and will try to wriggle out of it.

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    6. G Curtis

      None of your beeswax

      In reply to Rod Govers

      Why not answer my question?
      Because you cannot!
      Man plus Woman equals possible pregnancy.
      Woman plus Woman equals no possible pregnancy
      Man plus Man equals no possible pregnancy

      I challenge the stated notion of equality. There is no equality unless all options can deliver the same outcome. You can be as emotional as you like. But I challenge you to answer my question! I know you cannot and will not and will try to wriggle out of it.

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    7. G Curtis

      None of your beeswax

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      Yes silly ole you!

      Why not answer my question?
      Because you cannot!
      Man plus Woman equals possible pregnancy.
      Woman plus Woman equals no possible pregnancy
      Man plus Man equals no possible pregnancy

      I challenge the stated notion of equality. There is no equality unless all options can deliver the same outcome. You can be as emotional as you like. But I challenge you to answer my question! I know you cannot and will not and will try to wriggle out of it.

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    8. G Curtis

      None of your beeswax

      In reply to Adam Mansbridge

      Not a troll, entitled to put a contrary point of view. You dont like like my point of view so you start name calling and impugning my motives. Whay not attack my arguement? Is your point of view so weak, and lacking in accuracy that you have to resort to name calling?

      Why not answer my question?
      Because you cannot!
      Man plus Woman equals possible pregnancy.
      Woman plus Woman equals no possible pregnancy
      Man plus Man equals no possible pregnancy

      I challenge the stated notion of equality. There is no equality unless all options can deliver the same outcome. You can be as emotional as you like. But I challenge you to answer my question! I know you cannot and will not and will try to wriggle out of it.

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    9. Stephen Ralph

      carer

      In reply to G Curtis

      Of course you are right ........in biological terms.

      Honestly I don't give a rats about gay marriage.

      Who wants to emulate that institution as I have said ad finitum.

      But your argument is as silly as saying black people can never be equal because they are not white.

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    10. Stephen Ralph

      carer

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      I forgot to add Mr Curtis, that it is your WIFE (not you) that can get pregnant.

      With or without you of course.

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    11. Mary Mitchell

      Psychologist

      In reply to G Curtis

      You are assuming that a "real" marriage is the conjugal view of marriage. If marriage is defined as the public commitment of two consenting adults to live together as a couple for life, the whole question of potential pregnancy doesn't come up.

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    12. Marcus O'Donnell

      Senior Lecturer, Journalism at University of Wollongong

      In reply to G Curtis

      Several people answered your question above Curtis. The possibility of pregnancy is not part of the marriage act. Therefore is not part of the issue which i was discussing: inequality at law. A range of people who are unable to get pregnant are entitled to marry.

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    13. David Thompson

      Marketing Research

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      Dianna, you must have been a very naive and cloistered little thing back in your day. How could you possibly not have understood that marriage is about providing a secure and affectionate nest to perform what nature intends by first making, and then raising a family? If all you ever wanted was to go steady with the dude, why ruin it by marriage? FFS. It's not rocket science.

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    14. David Thompson

      Marketing Research

      In reply to Mary Mitchell

      Mary, if they don't intend to have the kids, the public couldn't give a damn about them getting married. In fact, the public will deride them. Unless they have mountains of property of course. ;)

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    1. Marcus O'Donnell

      Senior Lecturer, Journalism at University of Wollongong

      In reply to Brendan Churchill

      Thanks Brenda. I do not want to take away from Julia Gillard's advancing the conversation around gender. I want to extend it. As I said above in reply to another comment I think Gillard's stated view on marriage equality undermines both her credentials and the heart of her arguments around gender. You can't pick and chose in supporting full equality before the law, once you start to justify one kind of legal discrimination based on "tradition" you open the gat for that argument to be used in a range of other places. The biggest victory of feminism we challenging tradition it is way beyond strange that Gillard uses it to justify her position on marriage equality. Gillard's position on marriage equality is not merely one of intellectual inconsistency she actually sets up a justification for a range of other forms of discrimination in law to be continued.

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    2. David Thompson

      Marketing Research

      In reply to Brendan Churchill

      "marriage equality is not a gender issue"
      Oh dear Brendan, back to Gender Studies 101, toot sweet.

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    3. David Thompson

      Marketing Research

      In reply to Marcus O'Donnell

      Marcus, are you really that oblivious to how you are presenting as gay man wanting to get married, while at the same time championing those have fought to break tradition? In fact, your whole case is so full of holes, it's hardly surprising the SS Gay Marriage is sinking. And PLEASE - for your own good - stop saying "marriage equality. It only convinces people to stand by the shoreline clapping and cheering as the ship sinls.

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  12. Craig Bird

    logged in via Facebook

    As a gay man it saddens me to see marriage equality as a priority issue. Kate points out below that we have full legal rights in Australia so what is it that the increasingly irrelevant and backward looking institution of marriage going to bring to gay relationships? Restriction, exclusion and the validation of some gay relationships over others are three things that come to mind immediately. Mark Wunderlich has more to say on the matter http://markwunderlich.tumblr.com/post/46332198892/why-i-am-no-longer-gay

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    1. Dania Ng

      Retired factory worker

      In reply to Craig Bird

      Thanks for the link, Craig. Mark is a wonderful writer, who clearly articulates how there is vastly more to this issue than the simplistic 'equality' propaganda we seem to get nowadays. You're probably going to get all sort of threats now, like Rupert Everett did not so long ago when he dared speak his mind (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/sex/9546091/Rupert-Everett-Theres-nothing-worse-than-gay-parents.html), but you need to know that you're not alone. E.g., http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ipqwo9iOXoU

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    2. Marcus O'Donnell

      Senior Lecturer, Journalism at University of Wollongong

      In reply to Craig Bird

      Thanks for the Mark Wunderlich link Craig - it is a wonderful piece of writing. You'll think it strange, but I can identify very closely with it.

      Even more strangely, perhaps, it is because I am very conscious of the multitudes of queerness that I believe marriage equality is important. It is fundamentally about CHOICE.

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    3. David Thompson

      Marketing Research

      In reply to Craig Bird

      Craig, gay marriage is not very important to the majority of gays. The main agitators are in fact straight people, and lesbians who used to be straight.

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  13. Melanie Gould

    logged in via email @hotmail.com

    What a selfish stance you have. Yes, Julia Gillard is fighting for gender equality within the archaic beliefs in our community, this is amongst the same archaic beliefs that continue to maintain a stereotypical stigma that discriminates against the g. Are you aware of the legisaltion Julia Gillard passed in order to prevent any legal discrimination against those who are gay and lesbian? Julia does support equality and just because she doesn't personally agree with same-sex union doesn't mean she…

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    1. Lex Davenport

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Melanie Gould

      Melanie the issue of marriage equality is not strictly a ceremonial/religious issue. I believe civil marriage are regularly performed. To deny one section of the population a legal right is discrimination. Once upon a time there was a fear that inter racial marriage would destroy society. Inter faith marriage was also supposed to destroy marriage. These thing did not happen and society is still functioning. I'm pretty sure that if homosexuals were afforded the same right to marriage I'm sure society…

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    2. Melanie Gould

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to Lex Davenport

      I am not debating whether the same-sex marriage bill should be passed or it's effect on society Lex Davenport, as I fully support it. My point is that it is a somewhat naive assumption, that the decision of same-sex marriage falls solely on the decision of Julia Gillard. Your assumption of her back stabbing her way to the top is also lacking of factual events. One must appreciate the influential political dynamics of many key-stakeholders that is involved in many of the decisions that she contributes to, one of her many strengths is her ability to compromise in order to consider all interests, sometimes the ideal may not be for everyone.

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  14. Rene Oldenburger

    Haven't got one

    Coming from The Netherlands where this entire debate started in the mid 1980's it is good to see someone finally getting the point as of to why Australia is such a backward nation on social issues, like same sex marriage.

    Gays and lesbians cannot claim to be victims of discrimination while gender discrimination is going on.

    The biggest thing that involves the debate around same sex marriage is rather obvious but not addressed in this country.

    Domestic Violence cannot be referred to anymore as gender violence. Which of course doesn't sit well with the DV industry in this country

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  15. Fred Pribac

    logged in via email @internode.on.net

    Nicely put.

    Now as for ... riddles wrapped inside a mystery in an enigma ... where does this place Wong (for whom I have immense respect)!?

    She was standing shoulder to shoulder with Gillard on this. What is it that is not being said? Can it really be as simple as toeing the party line or of buttering up the Christian vote or ... are there some potentially perverse repurcussions in changing our legislation around gender and marriage that have not been fully articulated in public?

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    1. Peter McDermott

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Fred Pribac

      Not really much of a riddle Fred. Gillard relies on the support of the (Catholic) right of the party to keep her in power. She needs to keep the likes of the SDA's Joe de Bruyn on side. Throwing gays and lesbians under the bus was a sop to this faction of the party. Values come a long way back, when power is at stake.

      I give Gillard about 20 minutes after losing office to "evolve" on this issue.

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  16. Don Matthews
    Don Matthews is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Retired

    Marcus COULD not vote for the PM as he is not in her electorate. I would like to , but cant either. I think it would be a sad day if he voted against his Labor member to spite her. Please remember that she to has only one vote to give any view.
    I will vote in my electorate for a PARTY view ,not for any one persons's. Hope Marcus enjoys the Liberal government.

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  17. Jonathon Zapasnik

    PhD Candidate in Gender Studies at Australian National University

    Articles like this really annoy me. People wonder why we're headed towards a Liberal government. It's because people, like this, choose to throw a tantrum because they're not getting what they want right here, right now, in the present moment. Whatever happened to patience being a virtue? It seems to be all or nothing and, unfortunately, the majority of people become attached to this idea of what could be "the good life" on a sentimental level. Thus, the only "riddle wrapped inside a mystery in an…

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    1. Rod Govers

      Retired IT administrator

      In reply to Jonathon Zapasnik

      Conservative governments in the UK and NZ haven't a problem with marriage equality, Jonathon. Australia will probably be among the last, or even THE last, Western Country to allow same sex marriage.

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    2. Don Matthews
      Don Matthews is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Retired

      In reply to Rod Govers

      How can you have "marriage equality " when marriage ,a good old english word , is the description of a union between a male and female ????

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    3. Rod Govers

      Retired IT administrator

      In reply to Don Matthews

      Major dictionaries now include same sex marriage under the definition of marriage, Don.

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    4. Rene Oldenburger

      Haven't got one

      In reply to Jonathon Zapasnik

      A white man in a privileged position trying to exploit the gender card. Marriage is and always will be an inherently discriminatory framework that reproduces and sustains hierarchies of difference and exclusions.

      And that is the wisdom of gender studies...a white man.

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    5. G Curtis

      None of your beeswax

      In reply to Jonathon Zapasnik

      Too Right! Weak, divided politics leads to this sort issue being promulgated. I share your point: good luck getting this through under the Liberals.

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    6. G Curtis

      None of your beeswax

      In reply to Rod Govers

      I will be happy to live in the only remaining holdout country if it come to that.

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    7. Marcus O'Donnell

      Senior Lecturer, Journalism at University of Wollongong

      In reply to Jonathon Zapasnik

      Thanks for the comment Jonathan. It is a complex issue and I was only taking on one part of it. I thought long and hard before contributing to what is an increasingly fractious debate. I am well aware of the many arguments against hetronormativity and how "marriage equality"can play into this. However Gillard's public stand that any form of legal discrimination should be supported based on appeals to tradition is an inherently dangerous one, not just for lesbians and gay men.

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    8. David Thompson

      Marketing Research

      In reply to Jonathon Zapasnik

      "He's not a feminist, like he says he is, but rather a white man in a privileged position trying to exploit the "gender card" himself in order to advance his own position (funny that)."
      ROFLMAO. Oh the ironing. It burns, Psssstttt..you forgot to put that 's' in front 'he', and that 'wo' in front of 'man'. But otherwise you have summed up Gillard brilliantly!

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  18. Patricia Buoncristiani

    Educator at Thinking and Learning In Concert

    Yes Julia, and marriage is a long held, highly valued tradition in our society. I don't care, actually, if Tim is gay, if Julia is gay or if they are both sun worshipping Calathumpians. All I want is good, honest governance. Why is that so hard?

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    1. Don Matthews
      Don Matthews is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Retired

      In reply to Patricia Buoncristiani

      It seems so. When all we get is gossip as news. What is so hard for the "gay " ones to invent a new name for there union, get it accepted in law ,and go for it.?? Marriage is an well used english word meaning a union between a man and a woman, invent a new word .
      Please can the "gays " lighten up.

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    2. Rod Govers

      Retired IT administrator

      In reply to Don Matthews

      Major dictionaries now include same sex marriage under the definition of marriage, Don.

      Please can the 'straights' lighten up.

      By the way, Don, when, not if, gay marriage passes in Australia, how will it personally affect you? You won't be forced to abandon your wife and marry a man.

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    3. Don Matthews
      Don Matthews is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Retired

      In reply to Rod Govers

      I will hold to my view, I wont embrace your's, I wont buy a NEW dictionary , and I wish I could lighten up , old age and all that .Gays are not forced to do anything. why any happy person would want to be married is beyond me . but hell there are some strange ones out there I hear,

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    4. Derek Mccue

      Mental health nurse

      In reply to Don Matthews

      People who try to pretend that society and language do not evolve are the ones that need to "lighten up".

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    5. G Curtis

      None of your beeswax

      In reply to Rod Govers

      Man plus Woman equals possible pregnancy.
      Woman plus Woman equals no possible pregnancy
      Man plus Man equals no possible pregnancy

      Where is the "gay" equality?

      I

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  19. Dania Ng

    Retired factory worker

    Thank you for publishing this article. However, where is the opposite side of this person's opinion? Over the past couple of years over which I have been reading this publication, I have never seen a balanced discussion being offered by this publication on the issue of same sex marriage. Not once. In fact, when it comes to this issue, this website is clearly a propaganda mouthpiece, because it has never, in as far as I can see, offered different point of views from the ones exemplified by this article…

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    1. Lex Davenport

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Dania Ng

      Dania I welcome conversations from people who have a differing opinion to that of my own. Some of the reasons for denying equals rights are: gays can't have kids, my response is barren hetro couples, post menopausal cant procreate and then there are those who choose not to have kids but they can all get married. I have heard that marriage is a christian tradition, response: muslims, hindus, athiest, pagens are allowed to get married. Then the ever popular "the bible opposes homosexuality", the…

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    2. Mary Mitchell

      Psychologist

      In reply to Dania Ng

      Oh it's you again, Dania.
      Consider this - in order to write for The Conversationalist you need to be working for one of the member academic organisations, and an educated person. Perhaps there really is no one that fits that bill that subscribes to your conspiracy theories about a "homosexualist agenda". I looked at the Stand For Families Worldwide website you posted yesterday. You won't see those ideas here simply because there are simply too many logical flaws, factual errors and outright nonsense…

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    3. Dania Ng

      Retired factory worker

      In reply to Lex Davenport

      All I want, Lex, is for The Conversation to publish articles which provide alternative views. That's all what my posting above asks. It makes no argument along the lines you have developed. Have a search of this website. Can you point me to an article which offers an alternative view? You don't have to agree with the opposing views, but don't you think it will make for more robust discussion to have other perspectives articulated here? A quick review of the comments on this thread clearly indicates…

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    4. Dania Ng

      Retired factory worker

      In reply to Mary Mitchell

      Yes, it's me again, Mary. I am sorry to inconvenience you, but my views stand, whether you like them or not. Now, you are a reader and a commentator in this thread, just as I am. The problem is that you are able to say the stuff you just uttered above because this publication does not publish other perspectives on issues which are cogent to our thread here, except for the one you agree with. It only publishes arguments from homosexualist authors. Check it out for yourself. Do a search of the website…

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    5. Mary Mitchell

      Psychologist

      In reply to Dania Ng

      Dania I was referring to the website as a whole, which promotes the belief that there is a wider sexual rights agenda behind behind the gay rights movement that is seeking to push for wider changes such as lowering the age of consent and decriminalising paedophilia. http://www.standforfamiliesworldwide.org/sffww/the-sexual-rights-movement/
      The website is full of half-truths and faulty logic. I am happy to read contrary opinions to my own as long as they make sense.

      Lex Davenport succinctly summarised the arguments against same sex marriage and their flaws, and you ask why there aren't articles expressing those views. Do you want this website to post articles that can be refuted so easily? There is no conspiracy here either. Just lots of people who disagree with you.

      Your comments were most likely removed from the other thread because you resorted to personal attacks.

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    6. Dania Ng

      Retired factory worker

      In reply to Mary Mitchell

      So what you're saying is "We don't want to allow people who can articulate an opposing view to ours to have a say because we don't want to embarrass them. And, besides, they are too uneducated to merit space on this here eminent publication". So people like Professor Robert P George is going to be embarrassed by the likes of the author of this article? (e.g., http://www.harvard-jlpp.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/GeorgeFinal.pdf). Personally, I am all for taking the risk - let's do it!
      Whether there is an agenda or not, this is a different argument from what I am saying here. There are arguments which stand in contrast to what is being peddled here, and these should be allowed into the discussion, not prevented from coming anywhere near it, whatever your judgement of those who make it is. That is the point. We can take the agenda thing and discuss it separately, but this is not what I am on about in this particular instance.

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    7. G Curtis

      None of your beeswax

      In reply to Dania Ng

      Fantastic piece! a voice of reason. So glad you have been allowed to make these points.

      For a long time this debate has been dominated by one side and opposing voices have been silenced by agenda manipulation and plain old fashioned censorship of opposing opinions.

      The ABC sites are far worse than this one. The minute an opposing point is raised on this broad topic the shutter closes and all but pro opinions are excluded without apology

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    8. G Curtis

      None of your beeswax

      In reply to Mary Mitchell

      ad hominem attack, cant you do better than this?
      So you cant win the argument with logic then you turn to abuse!

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    9. G Curtis

      None of your beeswax

      In reply to Dania Ng

      They don't want any other points of view. This debate is about the abuse of opponents not reasoned consideration of all the issues.
      The pro "gay" set are sort of fascists who indulge in name calling the minute an alternative opinion is expressed.

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    10. Mary Mitchell

      Psychologist

      In reply to Dania Ng

      Thanks for that article, Dania. It is refreshing to read a conservative argument that goes beyond "this is how it's always been". I can think of counterarguments, for example throughout history and cultures the definition of marriage has often varied, and has not always been confined to the conjugal definition. Polygamy has been socially accepted at different times and the idea of mutual consent is fairly recent - women being considered the property of a man for much of history. It seems to me that…

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    11. Mary Mitchell

      Psychologist

      In reply to G Curtis

      Pot calling kettle black.
      If you have a reasonable well-argued point of view let's here it.

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    12. Dania Ng

      Retired factory worker

      In reply to Mary Mitchell

      Glad you found the article informative, Mary, and even more glad that you're willing to at least consider an alternate view. Thanks for this.
      At the risk of re-iterating this once too often, the problem is that this website does not give voice to other perspectives when it comes to the issues of same sex marriage, discrimination and religion. It is demonstrably so. I have followed and have read this publication almost since its inception. When it provides scientific explanations for natural phenomena…

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    13. Dania Ng

      Retired factory worker

      In reply to G Curtis

      Thanks for the support, G, much appreciated. I have had the effect of threads being closed here within hours of me commenting on them, so I think you're on to something. This may be related to their spineless editorial and moderating policy, because they don't want 'trouble' with certain interest groups which are quite influential in the media. Someone I know calls a particular interest group the 'pink mafia'. The ABC is certainly limited, but nowhere near the extent to which TC is. I have seen other perspectives being published on their website, including some radically conservative pieces which oppose revisionist stances on marriage. Take care.

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    14. Mary Mitchell

      Psychologist

      In reply to Dania Ng

      Being a leftie myself I find not being shouted down by unthinking conservatives slinging insults refreshing. Perhaps the TC editors mean they have asked their pool of authors for alternate views and have drawn a blank. I'm not sure how it works but it looks to me like they might not usually canvass for material from outside the member organisations.

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  20. Tony Grant

    Student

    PC...keeps from giving you what I really feel of your contribution!

    As a young child she (Julia) would have copped "carrot top/bluey/ginger/ look at her hair yuck etc.

    With an accent (Pommie B..../bloody English, go back where you came from).

    Not being the pretty young girl (stereo-type) would have been given nasty taunts...ugly red header pommie bitch etc

    You wonder why she never got married or had children? It has been said she had "losers" for boyfriends...media, yeah, trade union losers?

    Just to go into a few areas!

    With regards to you and your "I have been abused cover" it's never been easier than to "come out" and if you think I am "poof bashing" the best man at our wedding well over 2 decades ago was "gay" and a better person I have never met!

    As for your so-called political "Labor" history suck it up pal, you really think the majority of people are going to do better under Abbott? It will come quicker under "this side of paradise"!

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  21. Corinne Cowper

    general layabout

    Marcus, I agree with you. I'm sure there are other people as well who have 'trust issues' with our PM and they are not confined to her hypocritical stance on marriage equality.

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  22. Jason Bryce

    logged in via Twitter

    This is not journalism. You can't have a discussion about gay rights and this Labor government then completely ignore Labor's historic changes to the Family Law Act that ended all discrimination in family law on basis of sexuality. That was under PM Rudd but fully supported by Gillard.
    The general tone of this rubbish is - "You call that discrimination? THIS is discrimination!"

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  23. Thomas Fields

    "progressive" watcher

    Can some one help me with this logic please?

    Appeal to tradition is (supposedly) wrong, but appeal to equality is (supposedly) right.

    Both are value judgements. How do you refute a value judgement? I mean, we are not talking hard empirical analysis; we are talking about moral projections.

    So again, please tell me, how do you refute a value judgement?

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    1. Adam Mansbridge

      IT business analyst

      In reply to Thomas Fields

      You refute a value judgment by showing that the values the person represents are bad. You win such arguments by waiting for the people representing the "bad" values to age and be replaced by people with better values.

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    2. Thomas Fields

      "progressive" watcher

      In reply to Adam Mansbridge

      But then "bad" and "better" need to be defined. Who defines what's bad and better?

      I would also add that there's a difference between dislike and refutation. Disliking someone's values does not equal a refutation of those values. We aren't talking about hard empiricism here, such as measuring the length of a table or piece of string that can be validated by imperial units; we are talking about moral projections that elude such standards of measurements.

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  24. James Moffatt

    logged in via Facebook

    On one had you have a government that has, in the past 5 years delivered the following:

    - Reforms that ensure that same-sex couples are able to access the same tax concessions available to married and opposite-sex de facto couples

    - Reforms that ensure that Commonwealth superannuation funds treat same-sex couples and their children equally in superannuation benefits, including death benefits and pensions.

    - Reforms that ensure same-sex de facto couples are now assessed as a couple and receive…

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  25. Adam Synnott

    logged in via Facebook

    I'm more worried about the coalition getting into power than a labour MP not feeling totally comfortable with their inner Lesbian. Like someone else said, there are alternatives to the two major parties, ones that support EVERY person's right to the life style they choose. Julia Gillard has done some pretty good things with her party, and I'm just scared now they'll all be gouged back under the coalition. I just think it's a bit naive to think all politicians should be comfortable with gay people. The ALP was founded by middle- right catholics, and those values are what a lot of their agenda is pushed by. They might be more left than the Coalition, but they're still incredibly conservative in their attitudes, as a party anyway.

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    1. Lynne Newington
      Lynne Newington is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Researcher

      In reply to Adam Synnott

      What is so contradictory, is the formulation of the views of Catholics comes from an instituion that has a pretty much full membership of homosexuals and not all celibate from what the Vatican tells us.

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  26. Lynne Walsh

    logged in via Facebook

    I so agree with this article. I used to be a labor voter but changed to the greens because I felt labor was becoming too right wing in many ways. And...I totally disagree with their stance on asylum seekers, (they are as bad as the liberals on that) but mainly her stance on gay marriage puzzles me. I thought at least when she came to power (as many did) she would legalise gay marriage, no worries. How wrong can one be? I have a gay son and I feel he is not treated equally compared to his straight friends and it makes me mad. He pays his taxes, contrbutes to this country in so many positve ways and yet he is discriminated against because of other's bigotry. Is it perhaps her religious upbringing? Does some of that staunch baptist philosophy still linger, even though she has disregarded the rest it seems. Why is it so? No, I certainly do not trust her and if she loses this election, who cares?

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  27. Anthony Spawton

    Retired Academic

    For a lecturer and Course coordinator in journalism you show little example on how to establish an argument. Similar to many of your professional colleagues your piece is based on opinion and your own personal circumstance. It is little wonder than the journalism profession is at such a low ebb. This paltry piece is just to mock Gillard- she is entitled to an opinion and her heritage of non-conformism leaves values that even her aethism cannot erase.
    To talk of trust - It more about attitiude and behaviour. We all behave contrary to an expected view - and the PM is human and has her own set of values - which she did not impose on the Labor Party - she gave a free vote - which is different to Tony Abbott who imposed a NO Vote ===without dispensation.
    I subscribe to the Converation as I thought it would be a breath of fresh air maybe I am better off buying the The Advertiser?

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    1. Marcus O'Donnell

      Senior Lecturer, Journalism at University of Wollongong

      In reply to Anthony Spawton

      Hi Anthony thanks for your comment. Journalism comes in all shapes and sizes and opinion journalism has a long and valued history. You are right this is clearly my own opinion. It is also a contribution to a wider argument about gender, discrimination, sexuality and equality. I was not mocking Gillard I was pointing to her intellectually inconsistent position, one that seems to be publicly crafted for political ends. It is an attempt, like most journalism, to enter into the conversation of the day.

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  28. Matt Riley

    logged in via Facebook

    I understand the frustration felt by the LGBT community. Prejudice and discrimination hurt people in a very real and detrimental way. To be treated as a second class citizen simply for being who you are is unquestionably wrong.

    Spare a thought for anyone who uses 'illicit' drugs. Cannabis in particular but all 'illicit' drug users suffer form prejudicial and discriminatory treatment.

    My body chemistry is such that I feel a benefit from using cannabis. It doesn't matter whether I use it to treat…

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  29. Katherine McKay

    Retired

    You all need to do a bit more analysis of marriage, where it came from and what it is really about. Your abuse of Julia Gillard is shallow and unworthy. I don't support marriage at all, either for men or for women. It is an antiquated and oppressive institution that has done immeasurable harm to countless millions, particularly women. Before the Whitlam era and Family Law, hundreds of thousands of Australian men and women were locked into loveless and cruel marriages. Many feminists, including myself…

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    1. Dianna Arthur
      Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Katherine McKay

      Ms McKay

      I fully endorse your opinion - however I resent (and there are no doubt others) you tarnishing everyone with the same brush:

      "You all need to do a bit more analysis of marriage"

      Not we don't, many of us object to marriage but still understand that as straights we have the choice to reject it, not so the LBGTI community who continue to be treated like dogs at the dinner table and expected to be grateful for a few scraps.

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    2. G Curtis

      None of your beeswax

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      LGBGTI are not treated like dogs. This is overblown rhetoric and is just over the top exaggeration.
      You do need to learn about the history and evolution of marriage because without that knowledge you don't know what you are talking about now.

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    3. Marcus O'Donnell

      Senior Lecturer, Journalism at University of Wollongong

      In reply to Katherine McKay

      Thanks Katherine. Marriage is a very problematic institution I absolutely agree. That is why so many activists over time have spent so much time trying to change its oppressive structures. This is part of that ongoing tradition of activism around marriage. Perhaps you are right perhaps we should all give up on. I was not attempting to add to the "abuse" of Gillard. But I was attempting to contribute to the debate that she has so forcefully positioned herself in.

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  30. Derek Mccue

    Mental health nurse

    As an atheist and a gay man I also find her stance unsustainable,her kow towing to the patriarchal Abrahamic dogma of belief is totally inconsistant with her being either an atheist or a feminist. In short her position is nothing more than a bad coat of paint.

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  31. Comment removed by moderator.

  32. Clancy Wilmott

    PhD Researcher

    This is, frankly, one of the worst instances of self-pity covered up by poor political analysis I have ever read.

    Yes - Gillard's stance on gay marriage is hypocritical given her stance on gender discrimination. But, if we are going to play the I-am-oppressed-and-therefore-beyond-reproach game, and by being a gay man, you say you will not be lectured on discrimination by Julia Gillard, then, I say, as a "gay" woman, I will not be lectured on discrimination by you.

    How dare you falsely construct…

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    1. Laurence Barber

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Clancy Wilmott

      My sentiments exactly. The idea that a discrimination in name invalidates discrimination in deed is absurd. I wish there were a way I could share your comment in response to every post I've seen about this ill-considered article. Thank you for articulating it so intelligently.

      As much as I want marriage equality to become reality, at this point it's less because I believe in it and more because it's about time the queer community moved onto more pressing concerns.

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    2. Marcus O'Donnell

      Senior Lecturer, Journalism at University of Wollongong

      In reply to Clancy Wilmott

      Thanks for your comment Clancy. I was not arguing "people have to choose between supporting gender equality or fighting for marriage equality". I was arguing that Julia Gillard's public posturing about marriage equality, as an appeal to tradition, is not only intellectually dishonest but dangerous for all forms of activism against discrimination.

      And thanks for pointing out my semiotic misdemeanour I should have done better I am well aware of this.

      I was not arguing this is the biggest choice before us - in fact I note it is "a relatively minor issue" - we all need to base out electoral decisions on a range of important issues some of which you mention.

      That said I do think there is always value in carefully dissecting our leaders discourse when it comes to critical issues of equality and discrimination. that is what I was attempting to do.

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    3. David Thompson

      Marketing Research

      In reply to Clancy Wilmott

      Spot on Clancy! How many queens have I had screaming at me at a dinner party, when I argue that marriage is a dogy institution, and if you are not a breeder type who wants to produce and lovingly raise that family produced, then hell you've got rocks in your head wanting to get married. They always then trot out, "well if you are so personally not affected by it, then you got not no right to deny the right to marry to those of us who look at marriage differently. At this point, I usually pause for…

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    4. Stephen Ralph

      carer

      In reply to David Thompson

      Wow....David who knew.

      I haven't heard "talk" like that since the late 60s.............

      Brings back memories of a lost time.

      I remember sitting on a stoop in Paddington with a crowd around me, show tunes blaring from a tinny stereo.

      Two "queens" (the correct word under the circumstances), one said to the other "You know Beryl I was born to tap".

      Where did the time go....

      ."the best of times, the worst of times" indeed.

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  33. Peter Lane

    Statistical Consultant

    I don't see any contradiction between being pro gender equality and anti gay marriage. The issue with the latter for me, and I guess for the PM, is that it is an attempt to redefine a word and a concept that has been in existence for hundreds of years: the union of a man and a woman, i.e. one of each of the two predominant genders of our race, who together can usually produce children. The equality issue is a red herring -- there is already equality in what counts, i.e. the ability to recognize a union between two people who want to formalize their relationship.

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    1. Russell Hamilton

      Librarian

      In reply to Peter Lane

      Peter, when you say " it is an attempt to redefine a word and a concept that has been in existence for hundreds of years: the union of a man and a woman" you should remember the point being made - that for nearly all of those hundred of years the woman's rights were very limited - that didn't make it right. That was changed.

      Marriage has changed hugely even in my life time: most people who get married in Australia today don't have any religious aspect to their marriage - they get married in parks…

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    2. Peter Lane

      Statistical Consultant

      In reply to Russell Hamilton

      You make a good point that marriage has changed, and I agree entirely. But this doesn't change the fact that marriage has always referred to the union of a man and a woman, and is associated with the basic genetics of our species. The status of women has indeed changed dramatically in recent decades, but that doesn't mean we should start calling them "men", or both women and men "persons" to bolster the drive for equality: men and women are different, and the essential differences will remain even when their treatment in society has become fully equal. I have been listening to what most gay people are asking for in redefining marriage, but I still don't agree. A gay couple is different from a straight couple simply because they can't produce children and don't represent the genetic combination that is needed.

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    3. Russell Hamilton

      Librarian

      In reply to Peter Lane

      Peter, when you say that "marriage has always referred ..." that 'has' refers to the past, not the present. Look at what has happened in New Zealand and Britain, and the polls say has happened here. Most people have decided that marriage does not 'represent a genetic combination'. We have changed the concept of marriage.

      When you exclude gay people from marriage, you are not excluding them from what marriage was, but what it is now, and most people know that that is not fair.

      "Men and women…

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    4. Peter Lane

      Statistical Consultant

      In reply to Russell Hamilton

      Russell, the term "has always" includes the present, and in most countries in the world, "marriage" still means union of a man and a woman. I happen to be British, temporarily in Australia, and have experienced (and protested about) the move to redefine the word in the UK. Of course, language changes over time, but I would prefer not to see this change happen. I'm all for legal equality between civil union and marriage -- we had virtually achieved that in the UK, I think with the one exception of…

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    5. Russell Hamilton

      Librarian

      In reply to Peter Lane

      "just like "marriage" and "gay union" (or whatever else you prefer to call it) is a distinction based on gender combination."

      No, it *was* a distinction based on gender combination. But that has changed in socities like ours - our legal system will catch up soon enough. We'll make another step towards equality and inclusion, and really, it won't make any difference to your life at all.

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  34. Michael Leonard Furtado

    Doctor at University of Queensland

    The article and arguments on offer here are interesting. However, not all Christian Churches have consistently opposed the granting of the status of marriage to the idea of marriage between same sex people. Conservative opposition has been based on a number of Church considerations, such as particular constructions of the natural law, as well as on literalist and fundamentalist depictions of Scripture. There is a diversity of views within all religions that needs to be acknowledged.

    In both Christian…

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    1. David Thompson

      Marketing Research

      In reply to Michael Leonard Furtado

      Miichael, the 'common sense', 'folkloric', understanding of marriage that is culturally transferred down the generations evolved from cultural values, and institutions way older than the Roman Catholic Church. Because, just about everything the Catholics have to say about marriage they cribbed - very clumsisly too - from the Romans, Huns, Greeks, and Jews in whose worlds the Catholics were born. Ironically, the Catholics barely gave marriage a second thought for centuries after Christ's death. Some say a whole thousand years. And given that even then, their contribution was made by gangs of dress-wearing men who never had sex in their entire lives (at least not with women), I think we can all quite right say "STF" whenever the Catholics pipe up on the subject in 2013.

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    2. Michael Leonard Furtado

      Doctor at University of Queensland

      In reply to David Thompson

      The poverty of your language is only surpassed by that of your argument. What you present here is a case against marriage, rather than about equality, with the kind of flamboyant and bigoted force that hardly locates you as a conversationalist engaging with the vexed question of equal marriage rights in the pluralist democratic state. No one here, least of all the author, has insisted that all gay couples marry, simply because all straights don't; but the choice is the thing.

      And clergy did marry for the first Christian millennium. Given your abomination for that institution, I quite understand (though am indifferent to) the proclivities you express about dress-wearing men. Instead I make a case for admitting all who seek the bonds and legal sureties of marriage for gay persons, which is the topic in hand. If you can't address me civilly, simply latch onto a less intellectually challenging blog and bother someone else.

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  35. Oscar

    Student

    I don't know, dude. As a white, presumably middle-class, presumably able-bodied man, why do you think you're any better positioned to lecture on discrimination? Discriminations are experienced along different axes, so it's pretty disingenuous to imply that sexism and homophobia are equatable or that you have a stake in the former.

    I don't agree with Gillard's views on same-sex marriage, but I know well enough to make that a conversation separate to the incredibly important issue of gender in politics.

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  36. Jena Zelezny

    research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

    I am disconcerted that the writer of this article does not acknowledge that there is not a unified view within the LGBT communities on the subject of marriage. I am not heterosexual and I for one do not hold the view that marriage for same sex couples is about equality. I suggest that marriage is an institution, produced by heteronormative systems and structures, that seeks to impose values upon everyone thereby creating some form of universality that revolves around reproduction and financial concerns…

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  37. Comment removed by moderator.