Jun 23, 2016

Penny Wong is right: plebiscite hate speech will hurt good parents

The overseas experience suggests a same sex marriage plebiscite will be a forum for unfounded, debunked and deeply damaging claims about same sex parents and their kids.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

Penny Wong

Overseas experience suggests a plebiscite on same-sex marriage will be dominated by claims same-sex couples harm children and that only heterosexual couples provide a healthy environment for children to be raised in.


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20 thoughts on “Penny Wong is right: plebiscite hate speech will hurt good parents

  1. Poopsie Deutschland

    Thanks Bernard; another thoughtful and well written piece from you on a topic dear to my own heart.

    While I do not have children, many of in the LGBTIQ community are sick with worry about this plebiscite. Many of us have taken years to overcome the school yard bullying we endured as kids and teens to live as out and proud adults. But sadly, for some (including teens and young people), the out and proud thing is still a struggle. Giving the bigots open licence will be horrible for those people.

    The anti “YES” crowd in a plebiscite certainly won’t limit their campaign to families and we’ve already had a taste of what’s to come during this federal election campaign. We know there are hostile individuals in the federal coalition whose default is not diplomacy. They are much more comfortable applying a blow torch.

    Abbott’s intention, as prime minister, was to use this vote to defeat the issue (remember the republic referendum?) but he didn’t contemplate being rolled from the job before he could do that. We now have a prime minister beholden to the Right wing of his Coalition who, despite his personal support, lacks the authority to do the right thing and make this an issue the parliament can resolve.

    Our cousins in New Zealand shake their heads and laugh at us that this issue has come to this – and rightly so.

    This plebiscite will be damaging to us all and if I could hide under a rock until it’s done and dusted I would, because I can’t bear to think of what lies ahead.

  2. Draco Houston

    Oh word? How about the part where the plebicite is sure to return a yes vote and wedge the entire political class into passing it? The queer lib movement started with confronting the police, this notion that everyone is too fragile to have a damn vote on it is stupid. Who is going to be the most rude during this debate? The political class we’re supposed to be trusting with this. Let’s debate it in parliament so the same people can make the same claims while getting no closer to passing same-sex marriage.

  3. Tony Ryan

    “Nevertheless, opponents of same-sex marriage — invariably religious groups”
    This comment by Bernard Keane is typical of those whom support the “same sex marriage” push and, in my opinion, is an untrue generalisation. My objection to “same sex marriage” is not a moral or religious objection at all, it is simply my view. Many others I know share my view, simply because we believe “marriage” is the union of a male and a female. Same sex couples are just that, “same sex couples”.

    1. John Newton

      it’s the ‘whom’ that gives you away Tony.

    2. phonakins

      But what shapes that view of yours?

    3. Yclept

      Quite true. There are many homophobes and intolerant people who aren’t religous, nor Christian. Most of this current government for instance.

    4. leon knight

      No one is telling you what you should think Tony….why not keep your views quietly to yourself?
      BK’s generalisation is pretty close to spot-on…

    5. Matt Hardin

      So you believe that the law should forbid others from doing something and yet you have no moral or religious reason for this belief. Is that correct? If it is true, then what is your rationale? Or is it just “I just think it should be this way”? What other things should be banned because you believe they should?

    6. Alistair Hay

      So you have a view without any basis and think it should count for something?

  4. Dog's Breakfast

    The plebiscite speaks to the idea that the right generally seek government by scaring and dividing the community. The plebiscite should do the trick nicely for them, and in these times of great division, we don’t more change, like a change in government, so vote for the LNP. Brilliantly, scarifyingly cynical.

    The right play the fear side of the human psyche, and then exploit that, and then sow more fear. This has always been the thing I dislike most about the right. None of their positions have rational thought processes behind them, all of them exhibit cognitive dissonance on a grand scale. All of them play to the lesser parts of us.

  5. AnisaS

    The key expression used by Bernard in this article is ‘despite the evidence’. I am continually flummoxed by why this expression is needed, as it surely is. Its need is demonstrated in part by the willful disregard/dismissal of evidence in this particular discussion and so many others. Examples given in this article indicate the purity of conspiracy peddling that is based on opinion, not uncommonly with conversation stopping gaps in logic.

  6. Paul

    Hey let’s have a plebiscite on this, on going to war, on changing of mind after an election, trans pacific partnership, changing a PM mid term, action on climate change and in light of the actions of various “faiths”, the right to be a member of a religious order.
    I would like to add the right to be a bigot, but Turnbull and his thugs would win that hands down.
    Sorry, screwing the planet, blowing people up, harming the poor and abusing children are all respectable activities, so there is no need to justify them.

  7. mikeb

    I’m more than happy to accept same-sex marriage. I do however also believe that the most important role model for a child is the same sex parent. That doesn’t assume the LGBTI parents are inferior in any way, it’s just that I think a boy needs a good male role model and a girl need a good female role model. Hopefully others in the family group can take that responsibility on. Of course I do emphasise the “good” part.

  8. Darren

    I am am Catholic and I do not believe a union of same set couples should be called marriage. It is my right to believe that.
    However I also firmly believe in the separation of church and state. In our case, the state is the people, and the people overwhelming believe we should change the rules and move on. I accept that is the price of a secular state, and a democratic society.
    And then there is the big one, which in simplicity says “Love thy neighbour”. This is a core of the faith and has been taken to mean we shall not discriminate in any grounds. We should leave it to God to judge if society is right or wrong.
    But with absolute certainty I can say that this plebiscite will see many people on both sides act with complete disregard for the harm and inciting of hatred they cause. We all must live together and respect each others beliefs and treat each other as God intended – with kindness and compassion.
    This plebiscite will undoubtedly cause great pain and is clearly not needed, given the overwhelming support for same sex marriage in the general populace.
    Politicians are supposed to reflect the wishes of the people, and on this issue they should stand and be counted.

    1. leon knight

      I wish therewere more Christians like you Darren, just a couple in the LNP would be nice…..

  9. zut alors

    With appallingly high divorce statistics it’s a mystery why anyone would even risk marriage – same-sex or heterosexual. But I digress…
    Should a plebiscite return the ‘yes in favour’ vote is there any guarantee that an LNP government will carry through with legislation? I thought Abbott left that unconfirmed but can’t recall Turnbull undertaking to honour the result. Or did I miss it amongst the announcements of lavish football stadiums, ‘saving’ the Barrier Reef funding et al….

  10. Blue True

    Way to go Zut. I am just so sick of reading about gays wanting to get married. Why would any sane mind want to do that? Even the more mature gay people I know very well are saying it’s reprehending and censuring the bigger issues and they wish this thing would just go away. So, who’s pushing it? Must be the divorce lawyers .

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