It seems that the great Aussie tradition of solving the problems of the world over a couple of beers with a mate or two, is the latest casualty from the push by same-sex marriage activists forcing compliance with the campaign to redefine marriage.
Brewing giant Coopers Brewery were bullied to ‘take the pledge’ and sign up as corporate supporters of Australian Marriage Equality, following a social media attack from same-sex marriage activists and a boycott from inner-city bars in Sydney and Melbourne.
As Brendan O’Neill, editor of Spiked, reports:
In Australia, Coopers beer… has found itself the target of a bizarre, shrill hipster boycott after its wares featured in a Bible Society video debate about gay marriage. In the vid, Andrew Hastie, the Liberal MP for Canning in Western Australia, and Tim Wilson, Liberal MP for Goldstein in Victoria, battle it over gay marriage... The slogan is ‘Keeping it Light’. That is, light beer, light chat. But the response has been anything but light. It has been, and this is no exaggeration, hysterical.
Twitter went into meltdown. Coopers is fuelling homophobia by letting its beer feature in a discussion about gay marriage, said irate Twits. Bars started throwing away all their Coopers. A hotel in Melbourne posted a photo of the Coopers sign outside its venue with the letters ‘RIP’ spraypainted over it. Another bar posted a notice on its Cooper beer tap: ‘We apologise but we are not serving Coopers beer until a positive response is received to the marriage equality debate.’ Shorter: ‘Back gay marriage, beer companies, or we’ll punish you.’
The outrage forced managing director Tim Cooper, and finance and corporate affairs director Melanie Cooper, not only to apologise, but to pledge the company’s support for marriage redefinition.
The deep irony is that the video in question was part of a series being produced by the Bible Society of Australia, which attempted to demonstrate that a ‘light’ conversation could be had even over serious topics, like same-sex marriage. But the same-sex marriage activists did not care: they choose instead to create a “storm in a schooner” over the video, proving that their goal is to shut down even reasonable discussion on the meaning of marriage,.
What is more, the same group who argued that the impossibility of respectful debate on same-sex marriage was a reason to deny Australians the plebiscite they were promised, tried to shut down an example of how a civilised discussion on the issue could occur. The irony was not lost on those who saw the saga unfold:
Publican-turned-Liberal MP Craig Laundy said he found it ironic that the same-sex marriage lobby used the potential for vilification as an argument against holding a plebiscite, but used a respectful debate to boycott a product.
In the same article, Marriage Alliance’s spokeswoman, Sophie York, highlighted the consequences for free speech:
“What we have seen with Coopers is the same we see with other corporations and everyday Australians — the strangling of free speech by those advocates for changing the definition of marriage,” Marriage Alliance spokeswoman Sophie York said yesterday. “It is simply not tolerable to disagree, to express a different view. Australian businesses are forced to ‘take the pledge’ and conform to the same-sex marriage agenda with a reputation gun held to their heads. Coopers is just the latest example of this.”
The economic and social consequences for Coopers Brewery, which occurred as a reaction to a video in which the brewers played no role, confirmed the fears of many Australians about the consequences for free speech which come from the push for same-sex marriage.
Brendan O’Neill nicely sums up the consequences for everyone, not just businesses:
Let’s make no bones about this: this is crazy. This attempt to trash Coopers’ business and reputation simply because its product featured in a short online discussion about gay marriage is rash and mad and weird and intolerant... if you do or say anything to oppose gay marriage, or even to facilitate a for-and-against chat about it, you will pay a heavy price. It’s a warning to everyone, not just businesses: bow down.
The Coopers incident is just one battle in the fight to protect marriage, and the rights of all Australians. We must continue to fight, to speak up and demand that our voices be heard. If we do not, then the madness and intolerance from the same-sex marriage campaign will only get worse.