Monday, April 18, 2011

Opposing gay marriage doesn't mean I'm barking | The Australian

Barry Cohen, writing in The Australian: Opposing gay marriage doesn't mean I'm barking

My philosophy was simple. It is enshrined in a column I wrote in The Australian (January 25, 1995) when gays started to get serious about what most Australians thought was a huge joke.

I wrote: "It concerns me not at all what adults do in the privacy of their own bedroom or for that matter their kitchens, bathroom or laundry. Should they choose to stand on their heads, wave their legs in the air or swing from chandeliers, providing they do not do each other a serious mischief, it is, or should be entirely a matter for them."

Having held that publicly expressed view for as long as I can recall, it will not surprise readers that on those occasions when I was called upon to vote in the House of Representatives on such matters I voted against legislation that discriminated against homosexuals. I have since applauded any measure by any government or institution that has broken down the prejudice against those with a different sexual preference.

A lot has happened in the past 40 years that has been of benefit to the gay community. Some I agreed with, others went too far, but marriage between people of the same sex giving them equal status with heterosexual couples, in my view, goes way beyond the pale. They argue that the present law discriminates against them. It does. And it's the same reason why I can't marry Jamie or Hamish.

And how about the discrimination against pedophiles, prohibiting sexual relations with children? Why do we discriminate against 15-year-old girls and boys for what used to be called carnal knowledge? Why do we ban men from entering women's toilets or vice versa? I could go on but I'm sure you discern my drift. We discriminate because society believes it is the right and moral thing to do.

Marriage was considered, until recently, sacrosanct. Bigamy and polygamy are banned. Why should we discriminate against men who want more than one wife, or wives who want more than one husband?

With all its flaws, and few marriages are perfect, marriage is the bedrock on which our society is based. It won't be if these twerps have their way.

The time has come for us "neocons" to fight back and tell the gay community that we've gone from prohibition to tolerance to acceptance, but we won't accept that gay marriage and conventional marriage is the same thing.

They might have got some of what they wanted if they had asked for a gay marriage act, quite separate from conventional marriage but can you expect them to accept a gay marriage certificate proclaiming them to be a gay couple?

It is to be hoped that those who support conventional marriage as one of the building blocks on which our society is built will stand up and tell the gay community it's not going to happen. Not even if hell freezes over.

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