I was downtown yesterday when I was accosted about my very public stance on same sex marriage. Several times.
Now I should point out I like chatting about this sort of thing because I think equality is important and I refuse to simply hope it comes along all by itself. I’m determined to do my part. But I’m so tired of having to battle against the same old arguments regardless of how many times I spell out what I see as plain & common sense, not to mention decency towards other members of our community.
“Tell me honestly how you’d feel if one of your kids turned gay,” this one bloke asked me yesterday.
A bloke. I’ll add, who I’ve known for years and who I have a lot of time for…and who obviously reads the local Gympie Times, which I’ve been quoted as pro-SSM and have even had some letters to the editor about my thoughts on the matter. In fact, I responded to the first one and they printed my response yesterday (the two letters are reproduced below).
“It wouldn’t bother me,” I assured my elderly friend. Because it really wouldn’t. Genuinely. Not a bother in the world. It’s not the sex of the person my kids date which I’ll be worried about. It’s the character.
But I was quickly told I was wrong and, unbeknownst to me, I would be very worried about it.
“Because they’d have such a hard road ahead of them,” he said.
“Which is kind of why I’m doing what I’m doing,” I told him.
Not just for my kids though. I don’t think it takes a lot of empathy to understand when the society you’re a part of treats you like a freak you’re not in for a great time.
Then he gave me the slippery slope argument about how things are going to the dogs.
“You’ve got women in Rotary and Lions,” he pointed out like this was a problem.
“Hmmm, and they can vote and shit,” I continued for him.
He didn’t catch my sarcasm.
Then, like he’d reached the crux of his whole argument, my old friend said something odd. He told me young people are impressionable and implied they can be turned gay.
“I don’t think they can,” I told him. “You sort of are what you are.” Then I plucked a scenario from my own personal experience. “I went to an all boy boarding school for five years and I didn’t have the urge to touch a single cock.”
It’s true. All those magnificent penises in the showers going to waste because it turns out I have a thing for boobies.
But perhaps the most telling point my mate made through his spittle and frowns was when he recalled a trip he took overseas when he was a young man.
“I was given a lift by two men and it turned out they were gay,” he said. “And I thought to myself, what if they fancy me?”
There was no zinger moment. That was his whole argument.
Which was probably the saddest point he made.
Instead of focusing on the good deed these blokes had done for him, giving a hitchhiker a lift between towns, he was focusing on their sexuality and a ‘what if’ which not only didn’t eventuate but wasn’t even on the cards. His fear of gay people was dictating his memory of an otherwise fairly innocuous good deed.
And this is the real issue the YES camp is fighting against: fear, what ifs and prejudice.
All things which will eventually, once we allow for same sex marriages in this country, start to diminish as the discrimination against people in same sex relationships continues to slowly fall away from our collective consciousness and we can all just get along with our lives.
I’ve been riding this bandwagon for years now. I’m keen to talk about other stuff. Let’s get this done.
God will stop listening
MADAM, with regard to Bruce Devereaux’s reported comment that “most opponents of the change (to same sex marriage) of being old and bigoted” (The Gympie Times, August 9).
With age comes experience, and with experience comes wisdom. I fear greatly for our younger generations.
They have had it so good (comparatively) for their entire lives and have become so spoilt that they have no concept of what things can really be like.
I am old enough to have seen what life can be like and those older than myself have experienced it (including a world war).
When was the last time that Bruce even saw a non-disposable nappy, and how would he be without all that government (family) support that he receives?
Human nature does everything that it can to decide for itself what is right and what it is wrong and in doing so will do everything that it can to justify doing that and to justify the decisions that it makes. There is only one true standard for true morals and that is God’s law. The physical House of Israel was called out of Egypt to be a physical example to the rest of mankind of God’s system of governance.
That system of governance was based on God’s commandments, statutes and laws. Under the Covenants that the House of Israel agreed to there came (with their compliance) physical and material blessings and (with their non compliance) physical and material curses.
Time and time again when Israel became well off and prosperous as a result of their submission to God’s governance they would turn against God and bring upon themselves the curses of the Covenants. Is this not exactly the condition of this nation at this time?
Who needs God, most will say. Well let me tell you, “In our distress we will cry to God early but the day is coming that He will not hear us.”
Below is my reply. Well, the Readers Digest version of it. My initial response was about 900 words and included an example list of Christian institutions (Catholic, Anglican, Mormon, Greek Orthadox, Brethren, Quaker, Seventh Day Adventists, Pentecostal, Windsong, Baptist, Messianic, Apostic, Southcottism, Lutheran) competing for the souls of the faithful and some of the Spaghetti Monster’s divine noodly nonsense, but apparently I wasn’t allowed to commandeer a whole page of the paper.
Discrimination at it’s core
Alan, I assume you missed The Gympie Times restating what was attributed to me: “Bruce said he did not use the word bigot”.
I’m not anti-old people: I am old people.
Older Australians have the one proper excuse for finding the idea of same sex marriage difficult, having grown up in a period of our history when it wasn’t simply frowned upon to be gay, it was illegal.
From that to “okay to be gay” to them marrying is maybe a step too far for such an ingrained prejudice.
I get that.
Now I freely admit I’m wary of religions, but I generally quite like religious folk.
That said, my beef in relation to same sex marriage is firmly set against religious institutions who should stop attempting to instruct people who aren’t part of their congregation.
Regarding your wonderful fire and brimstone sermon on the “one true standard for true morals”, your conviction you know God’s mind seems surprising given within your faith’s umbrella there’s such varied Biblical interpretations.
Hundreds of splinter groups all saying they have it right and the others, of course, are the false prophets (Matthew 7:15-20).
Regarding your odd inquiry about cloth nappies, I confirm I’ve extensive encounters with them – none good and lots involving rashes and soaked bedding.
Thankfully, lots has changed on that front since those heady days of “poofta bashings”, cassette tapes and camera-less phones.
Responding to your assertion my family is living on “all that government (family) support” we receive, I politely mention we both have businesses we work, submitting returns and paying our share, unlike churches who don’t and still feel they should have a say in state matters.
For me, SSM comes down to discrimination at its core.
The pro-marriage equality side of the debate isn’t about more rights for our gay citizens but that these Australians deserve the same rights as the rest of us.
I’m an atheist and no biblical scholar, but maybe check out James 4:11-12 and Matthew 7:1-5.
Raising a family on little more than laughs
Don’t forget to enrol to vote