Homophobia Hits Home: Australia To Vote on Marriage Equality

Australia is having a plebiscite pretty soon on gay marriage. If you don’t know what a plebiscite is (I didn’t until I’d heard about this one in Australia), it’s when everybody who’s registered to vote gets a letter in the post asking them if they want a parliamentary vote on something. So in this case, everyone in Australia will get a form in the post asking them if they would like the government to have a vote on same sex marriage. I know, I know, it’s ridiculous, harmful to the LGBT+ community, and a massive waste of time, because they could just have the vote on gay marriage. But this is the direction Australia has decided to go down. The news regarding this plebiscite has been as tempestuous as you can imagine, with Sydney having a HUGE turn out for a political rally for the Yes campaign, to an advert by the No campaign saying, “In countries with gay marriage, parents have lost their right to choose”. (The advert was about how gay marriage is a downward spiral to boys being allowed to wear dresses. Like that’s a bad thing.)

What’s really depressing about Australia’s politics right now is that the main arguments from the No campaign are that gay marriage will damage schools, gender binaries will be no more, and all hell will break loose as society becomes a massive, incestuous, paedophilic sex den. I don’t understand why these people believe that legalising gay marriage means that all of a sudden, people’s morals will melt. There is no scientific evidence for this, either. I think the No campaign think that gay marriages and straight marriages are completely different because most of the discussions seem to involve straight people assuming that ALL gay people are promiscuous, and morally loose when it comes to sex. For some reason, the No campaign doesn’t seem to realise that when queer people want to get married, it’s because they want to share their lives with each other. And I don’t know why the No campaign seems to believe that they should be privy to queer people’s sex lives.

Ben Rogers and Mark Poidevin met 15 years ago on a website called gay.com (not even joking) and they seem like a lovely couple apart of the fact that they’re voting No. Mark is Catholic and the couple that prays together stays together, but weirdly he was the one who proposed and ended up changing his views from Yes to No. “When I first came out I think one of the consequences was giving up marriage and children and things like that,” says Ben. It’s sad that he thinks being gay should have consequences, and it’s even sadder that he believes he deserves them. “It’s confusing for the children,” say the people who believe women came from Adam’s magic rib. They seem to believe that gay marriage being legalised will cause the apocalypse, will cause the descent of humanity. But according to that narrow-minded Biblical view, the descent already happened and Jesus died to save everybody’s sins, so sin away, hunz. (This is a joke, please do not sue me.)

I wonder if the No campaign is actively seeking out gay couples who think gay marriage is wrong. Because I know the Trump campaign in the U.S. loved to project their BAME supporters. It’s sad because there’s little the rest of the LGBTQ+ community can do to convince LGBTQ+ individuals that are against gay marriage that they shouldn’t be against it. “You’re not intolerant if you don’t support a view,” says Mark. But if you’re supporting an intolerant view, then doesn’t that make you intolerant?

Legalising gay marriage is not about if you want to get married. It’s about letting other people get married if they want to. There are so many people I know, both gay and straight, who believe marriage is a sham and shouldn’t exist, but they would vote Yes because this isn’t just about personal beliefs. It’s about making sure that everyone has the same access to the same rights. Marriage has always been more than ‘just a piece of paper’; it means that your spouse is your next of kin, and it means you’re legally recognised as a couple.

Straight people, now is the time to be allies! You LOVE to tell us queers how much you don’t hate us, so prove it! Talk to your friends and family, talk to your coworkers, and urge them to return their postal vote with a Yes. Also, here’s some arguments that don’t help: “homophobes are secretly gay, so let’s mock homophobes by saying they’re secretly gay.” Please, stop photoshopping Trump and Putin together. Sure, being gay is probably Trump’s and Putin’s worst nightmare, and it plays on their insecurities about their masculinity. But you’re still weaponizing the stigma of queer people just to prove a point. Also, it’s just unimaginative comedy and sends such an awful message to the younger LGBTQ+ community; that their sexuality is a joke, and fodder for straight people to poke fun at bigots with.

Maybe this will be Australia’s Brexit/Trump moment, but hopefully, it won’t. And hopefully, love will win. Hopefully, Ben and Mark will see past their own ideologies and vote Yes. I doubt it, but hopefully. I mean, Australia could just ditch the plebiscite, and just have the actual vote on marriage equality without the hassle of the Australia Post potentially f*cking up, and they wouldn’t be humiliating the LGBTQ+ community by having a vote on whether there should even be a vote on marriage equality.



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