Can you believe it? We Australians are about to vote on the issue of religious freedom. No, I don’t mean legislation to ban the vilification of all faiths (except when it comes to terrorists). Heck, even the Mussies have a problem with that. I mean freedom to vilify people — of all faiths and none in particular — who like to do stuff in the privacy of their bedrooms that the Biblical and Koranic prophet Lot cursed when it was done out on the streets.

Same-sex marriage has nothing to do with human rights or righting the wrongs of the Abrahamic mobs. It really is about ensuring people who find gay people abhorrent don’t have to bake wedding cakes for them. It’s about fighting the good fight against conspiracies by the homosexual lobby. It’s about reclaiming the last bastion of religious power that all conservatives (apart from people like the member for Goldstein) wish to preserve.

In other words, it’s about enforcing one’s own particular sharia on the community. Whether it is the Sunni or Shia sharia, the Opus Dei sharia, the Jensenite Anglican sharia, the Lyle Shelton anti-gay lobby sharia, the Q-Society/Australian Conservatives sharia, etc. We all must carry our sharia-compliant cross.

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Muslims, who make up a massive 2.4% of the population, have the biggest, nastiest and most homophobic sharia of all. When they aren’t killing 12-year-old Australian girls, or bombing public places in Turkey and Pakistan, Islamic State are throwing gay pay people from high walls. And we all know what that homophobic gay guy did in that Orlando nightclub.

Conservative commentators will tell you that Muslims are the masters of homophobia. Which raises the question: why are Muslim voices so quiet in this whole marriage equality mass debate? Why aren’t the Lyle Sheltons and Tony Abbotts seeking help from the professionals of homophobia? Is it because Christian homophobes despise Muslims more than they do LGBTI people?

Or is it because Western Muslims have made their position on the matter crystal clear, that Islamic law hardly applies in situations where Muslims are a minority? That solidarity with other minorities — ethnic, linguistic, religious, sexual, etc. — is far more important?

I was taught that same-sex intercourse is forbidden. I was also taught that what people do in the privacy of their bedrooms is none of my business. Furthermore, Islam teaches that same-sex attraction is natural, even if marriage is only between a man and a woman. Homosexual sex is sinful, but so is disobeying your parents and backstabbing. So are many forms of heterosexual sex. And God can forgive all sins. You just have to ask. God does not follow the law of Islamic State. God created people with same-sex attraction and installed in them both good and bad qualities. Paradise has plenty of room for gay and straight.

I will be voting Yes. I have come to homophobia-phobia late in life. Religion (or twisted forms of religion with fuck all room for mercy) ruled my soul for many years. It is all thanks to low church Anglican schooling and Indo-Pakistani upbringing.

Finally, I urge people like Tony Abbott and those of like mind to read this piece by Swiss scholar Tariq Ramadan. No matter how much you marginalise Muslims, many devout ones feel the same way you do. ​

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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