Australia: Marriage equality is a galvanising movement, and we must embrace it

Amy Coopes, co-editor, Croakey

As the Marriage Inc juggernaut rears its ugly head, threatening to homogenise (all puns intended) every family in its wake, the detractors and critics have — quite rightly — raised their voices to ask whether this is what we have become. An imitation of taffeta and bustle, of extravagance and polite assimilation. What happened to the rioting, rambunctious queers of yore?

I would argue that we’re still here, we’re still queer, and we can see this as a watershed for equality without losing the sense that there is, and will be, much work left to do.

Firstly, it’s not about marriage. Or, at least, it’s not only about marriage. This should never have been reduced to a technocratic exercise outsourced to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, but as the rainbow Trojan horse has bolted, it’s rather too late for hand-wringing over the considerable — and mounting — collateral damage.

Some in the Yes camp wish to paint this as, quite simply, a question about amending the Marriage Act to allow two consenting adults to marry, and in a sense, of course, that is true. But as with any political exercise — and make no mistake, that is squarely what this is — there is much more at stake. The hysterical, vitriolic, sometimes violent (see: “gay people should be shot“, “that Hitler guy was onto a good thing“) and certainly bellicose rhetoric from the opposition camp exposes very plainly that there is a great deal more than a legislative amendment bound up in this exercise. They see a rampant secularism and humanism, which long ago displaced them from ascendancy everywhere except the halls of power, where they continue to enjoy a peculiar stranglehold. They see a rejection of the paternalistic demagoguery that insists, still, in 2017, that the confessional seal has more authority than the law in matters of child sexual abuse. They see this, and perhaps they are right. Read more via Crikey