Leyonhjelm: Labor and Greens Stifling Marriage Debate

Marriage-Alliance-Australia-Debate-Leyonhjelm.pngSenator David Leyonhjelm, an ardent supporter of same-sex marriage, has spoken out against Labor and the Greens for their stubborn refusal to support a people’s vote. By refusing to allow the Australian people to vote on the issue of same-sex marriage, politicians are ensuring that the issue of same-sex marriage remains unresolved. 

In a column in The Australian, Senator Leyonhjelm pointed out the hypocrisy of Labor and the Greens in holding up the marriage debate, describing their position as “remarkably stereotypical, if not homophobic”:

A plebiscite was never my preferred method of going about it, but I voted in favour because I believe that a liberal democratic society like ours can stand the strain of open debate, with room left over to celebrate at the end. All the feedback from Ireland is that it was a positive experience overall.

Sad to say, both Labor and the Greens love talking about same-sex marriage so much they don’t actually want to achieve it. Both know that while the issue drags on, it allows them to rally support and accuse the Coalition of being opposed.

To reinforce that, they came up with an argument that relies on a remarkably stereotypical, if not homophobic, premise — that gay and lesbian people are just too fragile to countenance a public debate. Apparently this affliction applies only to Australian gays and lesbians, who are not quite as tough as the Irish. What surprised me was how quickly the same-sex marriage lobby fell into line behind them, making me wonder whether their psychological need to demonise conservative politicians is more powerful than their desire for their friends and colleagues to get married.

And although I remain the only senator to have voted in favour of same-sex marriage at every opportunity, my support for a plebiscite was enough to make me the target of obnoxious slurs from sections of the gay community that would make a homophobe blush.

The LGBTI lobby has consistently demonised even its own supporters – especially those who support allowing all Australians to have a say in the issue of same-sex marriage. Leyonhjelm is a prime example, as is Malcolm Turnbull, who was cast out of the fold by LGBTI activists despite his consistent support for same-sex marriage.

Labor played politics with marriage last year in its refusal to support a plebiscite. Bill Shorten argued that it would unleash a wave of homophobia, and used the threat of LGBTI youth suicides to justify brazen politicking. He said:

“Let me be as blunt as possible: a 'no' campaign would be an emotional torment for gay teenagers, and if one child commits suicide over the plebiscite, then that is one too many.”

LGBTI activists and the entire LGBTI community should be outraged at the utterly condescending way in which politicians have treated them. Labor and the Greens have, as Leyonhjelm suggests, treated LGBTI people as if they were too “fragile” to handle a debate. 

The result of such conditions is the rise of totalitarian forces seeking to strip away the legitimate rights of citizens to make up their own minds about marriage: 

The problem now is that the authoritarians have taken over the debate. The Greens and Labor not only want to legalise same-sex marriage but compel civil celebrants to solemnise same-sex marriages and suppliers of related services to offer their services. This would fill our courts with conscientious objectors.

It is a model of intolerance that fundamentally undermines the argument that people should be free to choose their own path.

Even worse, some of the more belligerent supporters of same-sex marriage also seem to have declared open season on Christians, forcing conferences to close because of threats of violence, targeting Facebook pages, and harassing business people for the having the temerity to identify as a Christian.

Replacing authoritarians who won’t allow them to marry with authoritarians who want to make support for same-sex marriage obligatory is a recipe for resentment and divisiveness. It is losing support and won’t help those who want to get married. Indeed, it is only for their sake that I retain an interest in the issue.

It is highly unlikely that freedom of conscience will be protected if the definition of marriage is changed.Same-sex marriage lobbyists made it very clear at a recent Senate Inquiry that the LGBTI community opposes any rights for ordinary Australians to disagree.

Regardless of whether one disagrees with Leyonhjelm’s views on legalising same-sex marriage, he makes a compelling case that a people’s vote is a perfectly reasonable way forward, and that rational debate on the issue is necessary.

Unfortunately, Labor, the Greens, and the LGBTI lobby are trying desperately to stifle an open and honest discussion about marriage.

Opponents of same-sex marriage are regularly labelled as bigots and fascists. Ironically, as Senator Leyonhjelm pointed out, its supporters are becoming just that. 

For more on the same-sex marriage debate, click here

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