How can a smart woman oppose gay marriage?

Prime Minister Julia Gillard takes a break from media appearances related to the budget at Parliament House Canberra last week. Photo: Andrew Meares

Prime Minister Julia Gillard takes a break from media appearances related to the budget at Parliament House Canberra last week. Photo: Andrew Meares

Julia Gillard doesn’t get away with much these days. Last week she managed to alienate Sydney’s entire North Shore when she questioned its residents’ qualifications as ‘‘real people’’. She weathered relentless Coalition attacks over her handling of MP Craig Thomson and his tricksy credit card use. And she copped it again from Germaine Greer over her jackets.

 

But during the blizzard of last week’s budget coverage, the Prime Minister got off way too lightly over one thing: her irrational stance on gay marriage. It came up when President Barack Obama announced his support for gay marriage, delivering a great coup to the cause. One rather amusing internet meme I saw had the Prez riding in on a white unicorn charger with rainbow-lasers beaming out of his hands.

Obama. Riding a unicorn. With rainbow lasers shooting from his hands.

Obama. Riding a unicorn. With rainbow lasers shooting from his hands.

 

The President’s stance was interesting because it has evolved over time, and he was very candid about the evolution.
At one point he said opposed gay marriage on account of his Christian faith but other times he has seemed open to it. In other words, Obama changed his mind.

 

He did this, according to an interview he did on American television, after looking at all the facts, chewing over the arguments, listening to different people, and observing the gay members of his staff who are in committed relationships.
It’s a rational and right thing to do, change your mind. It indicates intelligence and robust intellectualism, an open-ness to having your ideas challenged and a willingness to accept superior information when it comes to light.

 

Changing your mind is something our Prime Minister knows plenty about - she has infamously and spectacularly changed her mind on the desirability of carbon tax, and on MP Craig Thomson’s fitness to belong to the Labor party. To name but two issues. Sadly, on the issue of gay marriage, where rationality and public opinion would be firmly behind her were she to change her stance, she is stubborn.

 

‘‘I’ve made my mind up,’’ she told ABC radio on Thursday when asked about Obama’s gay marriage announcement. ‘‘My view’s not changing. I believe what I believe.’’ Ironically, one of the reasons Gillard has failed so spectacularly to connect with voters is that many suspect she lacks true belief in anything. Rightly or wrongly, voters seem to believe she makes decisions based on pragmatism and/or self-interest, not because she feels passionate about an issue, or because she has deeply-held principles she wants to transform into sound public policy.

Why can’t she change her mind on gay marriage? She is not religious, so her opposition doesn’t lie there. Beyond that, she’s stuck for a good rationale. Does she oppose it because she thinks it would ‘‘open the floodgates’’ to the legalisation of polygamy/pedophilia/marriage between frogs and humans? Does she think that marriage is a heterosexual-only institution because children are best brought into a heterosexual relationship? Doesn’t she want to protect the children whose parents are gay by allowing them the security of married parents?

 

The truth is there is no rational reason - as in, not a single one - to oppose gay marriage. None of the arguments against it stand up for a second against standard principles of logic and reason. The only people who can reasonably oppose it are religious folk like the Leader of the Opposition. The Prime Minister, who is clearly very brainy, can’t come up with a good reason, which is why she falls back on her ‘‘belief’’ whenever she is asked to explain her position. And because so many people don’t think she has honestly-held beliefs on many things at all, it is very hard to understand her her position on gay marriage. It’s even harder to respect it.

68 comments

  • Ms Gillard may not support gay marriage, but at least she will allow her party a conscience vote on the proposed legislation - something the backwards, religious nutter-supporting Coalition won't.

    Whilst I do not understand her stance either, I can see her reason for maintaining it and not jumping on the bandwagon - I can just see all of the witty Juliar references that would come from the Julia haters now ...

    Commenter
    J
    Date and time
    May 14, 2012, 11:00AM
    • Gillard has missed the boat with this dreadfully. Obama did something positive and progressive - but, undoubtedly, equally politically motivated. Economic concerns are obviously paramount but this issue has the potential to galvanise young voters (here and in the US). This is a relevant issue that is attracting enormous worldwide media attention. Gillard has been an exceptionally poor leader. Rudd too, was an egotistical clown. Hopefully someone comes along soon... Labour do not deserve to be reelected... but the prospect of Tony Abbott as leader is frightening and embarrassing.

      Commenter
      MrPJames
      Date and time
      May 15, 2012, 6:35AM
  • Is there any 'rational reason' to support gay marriage and yet reject polygamy? It is legal in other countries to have more than one spouse and the sky hasn't fallen, nor has it destroyed the institution of marriage, nor is it necessarily harmful to kids (any more than single-spouse marriages).

    It's a bit rich to claim that those resisting gay marriage are irrational when supporters of gay marriage have the same stance towards polygamy! Come on, let everyone who is in love marry!

    Commenter
    Zuma
    Date and time
    May 14, 2012, 11:43AM
    • what exactly IS the rationale for denying polygamous marriages, complicated legal issues or yet another religious trauma/drama?

      Commenter
      crowgrrl
      Location
      redfern
      Date and time
      May 14, 2012, 1:28PM
  • I welcomed Julia Gillard's elevation to the office of PM but I would never vote for her again

    I can handle the dumped 'promise' not to introduce a Carbon tax, she didn't think she was gonig to have to rely on the Greens and Independants.

    But there are two things I can't abide that show the mesure of the woman, and they aren't nice.

    I can't abide her backdown over the pokies promises.

    The changes proposed, to get people to nomibate an amount of money they are prepared to lose that day, and stick to it! are supported by the majority of Australians - but she caved to the moneyed minority.

    The only opposition are gambling interests - we expect them to oppose any restrictions on gambling, it's their job.

    She is supposed to represent all Australians, but she didn't lead, when the negociations got a bit tough, she caved.

    In respect to her 'views' on same sex marriage, I can't abide the fact that I am required to support her lifstyle and relationship choices, accomodate, feed and transport her defacto partner, while she decides not to support people's right to choose the relationship they want.

    She is a coward and a hypocrite, who stays in power with the support of 'Independants' who know they are one term wonders, tossed out at the next election.

    Her government will be remembered as a shameful lot corrupted by power desperately clung to power using any means possible.

    Commenter
    Hypocritical and cowardly
    Date and time
    May 14, 2012, 12:15PM
    • I don't believe for a second that Julia herself doesn't support gay marriage. I think she's just having to tow the party line and pretend she doesn't.

      It's not her mind you need to change ... it's the minds of all the backwards 1950's thinking fat, conservative 50-60 something "blokes" who mostly run our govement that you need to convince. And hell freezing over first is MUCH more likely!

      Commenter
      me
      Location
      here
      Date and time
      May 14, 2012, 12:16PM
      • I agree!

        Commenter
        idealizer
        Date and time
        May 14, 2012, 2:41PM
    • How can any smart person leave common sense at the door and make a word into something it can never be?

      Can a man be a mother?
      No!. Never!
      He may be able to perform motherly duties but will never be a mother.

      The same goes for SSM.

      Marriage implies "potential".

      Around the world the universal concept is exactly the same in its understanding when it comes to something like the Marriage of Food and Wine. Two different but complimentary items united that brings something new from WITHIN their union. To marry two wines only results in two wines.

      Can smart people understand this simple concept?

      What about property?
      The international valuation standards use the phrase Marriage value. Legal precedent supports this concept. It is where two properties when brought together have the potential to create something extra from WITHIN their union.

      The same concept has always been applied to people.

      The male and female union have the "potential to create something extra from within their union. This extra thing is new life.

      This is the basic concept of what marriage is and it can never change even if some in society believes absurd things which is the equivalent of a man being a mother. Even if the law changes it just confirms the law is an ass.

      Commenter
      Free Thinker
      Date and time
      May 14, 2012, 12:19PM
      • I'm astounded a reasoned comment has been allowed past the thought police's filter.

        Commenter
        Alex
        Location
        Finley
        Date and time
        May 14, 2012, 12:50PM
      • Following yoru argument through to its logical conlusion, infertile heterosexual couples should not be allowed to marry. Is this what you are proposing?

        Commenter
        CL
        Location
        sydney
        Date and time
        May 14, 2012, 1:07PM

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