Julia Gillard has ended the honeymoon with the gay community before it’s even begun. Instead of softening Kevin Rudd’s stance on gay marriage, as many had expected, she has hardened it.
When asked if she supported same-s-x marriage on Kyle & Jackie O, she could have said something to the effect that this was presently the party’s policy, and as leader she was bound by party policy, but that she was open to revisiting the issue in the future.
After all, she must have known she would have been asked the question — it’s a staple of the show — so her answer must have been prepared in advance. A pollie this careful does not make ex cathedra statements such as this off the cuff.
It would not have made any difference to the party’s stance, but it would have held out an olive branch to the GBLTI community, who had been repulsed by Rudd’s constant pandering to extremist religious elements in his own party and the wider electorate.
But instead of embracing the gay vote — which is more than willing to hug a feisty unmarried female PM back — she decided to chuck it away.
It’s something we (reluctantly) accept from a rusted-on Catholic such as Tony Abbott, but not from an ostensibly liberated woman with no intention of getting married herself.
Many gay voters, who were lining up to gratefully return to Labor from the Greens with the exit of the chilly prig Rudd, were shocked and affronted by the new Prime Minister’s assertion that not only does she support the party policy, but it’s her personal view as well. The door was slammed in our faces, again — and for little or no real gain.
A poll in the Sydney Morning Herald, which drew thousands of responses in a very short time, told her 75% to 25% that she had got it wrong.
The PM is herself happy to “live in sin”, but she could marry if she chose. She will not extend that freedom of choice to the gay community. Presumably she is hoping that a national system of relationship recognition will suffice to keep us onside.
She is about to find out that we do not take kindly to being relegated to “separate but equal” status — because separate but equal is never equal, as we know from the history of South Africa and the US Deep South.
With her cave-in on the mining tax as well, we should look for all those pale Green voters — gay and straight — to head back into Bob Brown’s tender embrace.
The shortest political honeymoon is history is over before it began.