This whole thing with Margaret Court and her open letter has got tempers flying again.

Which is great!

Personally, I love this woman. She’s given me and others the opportunity to once again talk up the pro-marriage equality arguments on our social media without it looking like we’re flogging a dead horse. I mean, she brought it up, not us. All we’re doing is gleefully responding.

Watching her interview on The Project was interesting, as were all the comments from people saying she was bullied. I didn’t think she was, but I acknowledge I’m biased and the fact is I came away disliking her a lot.

Initially, I wanted the Margaret Court Arena to have a name change. I sent them a message saying as much, and I sent Maggie a message too, through her church’s Facebook page, so she knew I’d contacted them. For me, sport is as much about inclusiveness and breaking down the social barriers in our communities through team work and shared experiences as it is about crushing your opposing teams into the dust. To have a national hero writing an open letter to a company head to say they shouldn’t support a position of anti-discrimination is, to me, unacceptable. I saw somewhere she didn’t think people should bring her tennis into it, which would be reasonable except she was the one who did that. She mentioned her legendary tennis status in the second paragraph.

But anyway, I’ve settled down now.

I’ve realised she probably can’t change, let alone want to. I think her current demeanour probably stems from the fact she’s just not used to losing. I daresay the letter went a lot further than she expected. I also realise she probably thought it would be a bit of a call to arms – she just didn’t realise it would be the opposing team she galvanised.

Furthermore, I’ve written again to the Melbourne & Olympic Parks people (and Maggie) and told them I happily accept the following compromise:

That sends the right message, I think. I mean, I can live with it. I just wonder if Rev Court can.

Her comments are a gift. I don’t go in for name calling and saying people who disagree with marriage equality are bigots or homophobes, but I do like using logic and my sense of fair play to counter their positions. Now that Maggie has all of Facebook talking about marriage equality again, who’s up for a chat?

Fifteen reasons we shouldn’t have marriage equality and what I think about them.

ONE: I don’t want to be gay

Then you’re probably not.

TWO: Catering 

‘It’s hard enough to book a decent reception room, the last thing we need are more weddings to compete with.’

Now I think this is a perfectly reasonable excuse, but it doesn’t come up. Go figure.

THREE: A rose by a different name

They can have the same rights, they just can’t call it marriage – because that worked so well with apartheid in South Africa and the blacks sitting on different seats in buses in America. It’s still segregating people into can and can’ts. It’s still saying ‘you’re different and we don’t like it’. It’s still discrimination.

FOUR: My holy book tells me gay is wrong

Firstly, I’m sorry to all those religious folk who are okay with marriage equality. You sort of get tossed in with this lot. But I’d just like to say ‘thank you!’ for taking a sensible stance and supporting your fellow Australians, regardless of their sexuality.

Secondly, to the rest of you, so what? I mean it probably doesn’t but mainly, so what? You can believe that if you like and totally take that onboard in your every day life, but you cannot insist someone else lives up to that standard. We are a secular society, not a church run state.

This argument is the silliest really. So often I see the same people insisting they’re against gay people marrying because they interpret the bible to say it’s wrong, and then on another thread they’re worried about sharia law. You know what? If you want to make sure you and your descendants can kneel and pray to your god in peace make sure the country is truly secular. Yes, that means taking your church out of the political mix.

Besides, those holy books say a lot of weird shit you’re happy to ignore. Do that with this too.

FIVE: We’ll end up with more gay people

You are gay or bi or straight regardless of what the law says is right. It’s not bed linen to be changed on a whim.

Therefore, you’ll have exactly the same amount. They just won’t have to hide the fact from friends and family and workmates and the community at large, in much the same way you don’t.

SIX: Marriage is sacred

Shows like Married At First Sight and The Bachelor sort of put paid to this notion. As do ‘shotgun’ weddings and arranged marriages and marriages of convenience. And then we have the stats on extra-marital affairs and divorce. Marriage is not sacred. It’s primarily a legal contract and, at best, a public display of love.

SEVEN: Reproduction

Gays can’t have babies because the bits don’t fit together properly: you can’t make a bacon omelette without an egg.

I’ve got news for you – gays have babies already. They do. Where there’s a willy, there’s a way. Vaginas, more-so.

This argument really shows its silliness when you turn it around: If reproduction is the reason for marriage then why are old people allowed to get married? Why are men who’ve had the snip? Women who’ve gone through menopause? Marriage isn’t about having kids, it’s about commitment and love.

Marriage genuinely has nothing to do with reproduction.

EIGHT: Children need male and female roles in their lives

Again, marriage isn’t about children.

But also, have you heard the expression it takes a village to raise a child ? Male and female role models abound in life. Uncles, aunties, grandparents, teachers, friends.

I confess I don’t even know if the male/female role thing is true, I just know in our communities it generally isn’t any more relevant to children whose parents are gay as for children who only have one parent or rarely see one of their parents.

NINE: Gay families aren’t ideal for children

Why? Because the kids might be bullied at school about it? That’s actually something marriage equality will address.

And what is this ideal you’re judging families on? What are the criteria? Because straight families are always ideal, yeah? This argument was presented to me recently with an ‘article‘ quoting the president of Australian Marriage Forum, Queensland GP, Dr David van Gend saying, “On balance, it is clearly harmful to children to deprive them of one or other biological parent by a policy such as same-sex ‘marriage’.”

This, of course, didn’t stop churches being complicit in ripping babies off the tits of single young mums several decades ago because of that great evil, ‘shame for the family’. Where were the protests about the kid growing up not knowing their biological parent then? These days, now we’ve done away with the notion of there being any shame involved, kids can grow up knowing their biological parents, or being able to gain that information at some point, regardless of who is raising them.

We have seven kids and I freely admit our family is far from ideal, but there’s an abundance of love and that makes up for a lot of places we fall short.

TEN: Gay people are an abomination

You’re confusing them with Yeti. But also, even if it were true that’s not a reason to stop them marrying. I find Emos a bit off-putting to be around but they can still have their special day.

ELEVEN: Tough love

‘It’s because I love them I’m making a stand on this.’ Another argument I see from people hiding behind bibles. Again, it’s not your place to push your beliefs onto others.

Unless, of course, you’re okay with butchers being forcibly closed down because Hindus love you. How you feel about that is how I feel about you thinking you’re doing the right thing by rejecting marriage equality.

TWELVE: The slippery slope

This argument was around when people were fighting for equality for women – they were worried the government would end up entirely populated by women: something which isn’t even close to happening and which we wouldn’t be worried about anyway these days – and it’s proven to be as much a nonsense as it will be as in the instance of marriage equality.

These days you hear that the same arguments used to defend homosexuality and same sex marriage can be used to defend pedophilia and necrophilia and polygamy, to name a few. Put simply, they’re entirely different issues and the only reason they’re put forward is to evoke negative knee-jerk emotions and try tie those feelings into the ‘keep things the way they are’ side of the marriage equality debate.

THIRTEEN: Gays don’t want it anyway

Your sister/son/friend/roommate/workmate/imaginary friend is gay and they don’t want to get married. In fact, they’re sick of all the fuss and wish everyone would go away and leave them to get on with their lives.

No one says they have to get married. Not all straight people want to either. The issue is they should have the option like all the heteros.

FOURTEEN: It makes me feel icky

All that prodding and thumping and playing around the back nine. It’s just dirty and wrong, right? Firstly, not all gay men like anal sex. Secondly, not all straight men and women dislike the idea. Thirdly, and this is the kicker, it’s not your ass, or even your penis, so what does it matter to you?

Having said that, this is one argument which I think makes sense. It’s still no excuse to oppose other people enjoying the same rights as you (i.e. to be able to marry the person of their choice) but I get it.

Just maybe try get your head out of their bedroom. Stop thinking about it. We have curtains on the bedroom windows for a reason. What two consenting adults do in the privacy of their own bedroom – tent in my case – is their own business.

FIFTEEN: Change is scary

Another argument I think has merit. It wasn’t so long ago gay people were on the wrong side of the law in this country. Growing up with that mindset, and then suddenly it’s supposed to be okay and people are admitting their sexuality? Well, it’s a lot of change to come to terms with in one lifetime. And now we’re supposed to be okay with them marrying?

When my parents were young Catholics couldn’t even marry Protestants – even though both parties had the prerequisite opposing genitalia.

Change is scary, but it can also bring about great things.

Things like seat belts in cars, for example. Can you believe people were up in arms about having to wear them?

Things like iPhones with games like Word Trek and Pokemon Go!

Things like women politicians.

And things like women clergy, Marg dear. Think about that for a second while I peer at you over my spectacles.

Change isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Less discrimination for our gay brothers and sisters is a fantastic thing for them and our communities as a whole so let’s do the right thing and make it happen so we get this sorted out and focus on the really big issues, like lowering the alcohol tax on beer.

I know I’ve left out a lot of arguments, and better answers to them, but I’m no expert on this. I just care about people and our community and the world I’m leaving my children. The world is moving ahead of us on human rights and that is not a thing to celebrate.

For much betterer responses, try sites like this.

Look, I know Mags got served on The Project, and Facebook has been giving her a proper walloping, but she was the one who issued the challenge. I’m blown away by Christians who clearly choose to ignore the teachings of their Christ. The personal attacks on you for your ill-will towards people who bare you no ill and simply demand the same rights as you should be coming from within, not without. The fact is, though, we owe Maggie a big wet one for bringing this up so controversially into the public space, because every time this subject is debated more people are convinced it really is a matter of discrimination and join the rainbow.

Now, I’m off to bed to cuddle my wife. I have that privilege. I hope it won’t be long until everyone else who wants to can too.

Umm….cuddle their own husband or wife I mean. Not mine.

But also, great chat, Maggie. Thanks for that. Balls in your court. Let’s do this again sometime.

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  • Well done again Bruce!
    My cousin and her girlfriend recently got engaged and I for one and super happy and excited for them! ❤️????

  • I’ve disagreed before, so – another tact
    So we all want the choice to be married or not;
    So why cant we have the choice to be rich or not.
    I want to be rich.

    I want less govt (with less politiicians and less cost to the taxpayer)
    so lets abolish State Governments.
    Can I have the choice fot that?

    • You’re the right to get rich. Gay people don’t have the right to marry. Having the right doesn’t mean you’ll make lots of money or find love, but it’s there for the taking if you can make it happen.

      But I am totally onboard with getting rid of state government 😀

      • Back to basics.
        1. We all need to ask – do i believe in God? that is your choice
        2 to believe in God requires faith
        3 if i believe in God i should get to know him.
        4 if i dont believe in God it is difficult to understand his principles for living eg marraige
        5 God blesses societies/nations that honour him

          • The Bible does condemn gay marriage. It also says we can’t judge people. Only God can be the Judge…. so maybe the religious people should read it again .

            • That’s what I took away from it. I wish the big guy had been less ambiguous with his important messages

          • I’m not forcing my religious beliefs onto others.
            No 1 gives you the choice.
            I’m giving my position.

            If a plebiscite decides in favour of the change to the definition of marraige, the matter will be decided.

            I am giving my view the same as you are.

            • A plebiscite. Why? We don’t have plebiscites for anything else our politicians decide on, why this? Why when it’s clearly discrimination?

              • A plebiscite was promised.
                Surely it ensures a majority rule. Otherwise a minority may well decide.
                Is it clearly discrimination?

                A side issue. Why the rainbow? That is God’s promise to the world that he will not flood the world as in Noah’s day.

              • You can think that about rainbows if you like. But you can’t claim it for your church. You guys chose the fish and cross instead ?

          • Yes. I will be disappointed. My wife and I married as a man and women before God within Australian law and I would like to retain the uniqueness of that.

            • Uniqueness?? You’re joking, yeah? You can’t seriously be saying anything is taken away from YOUR marriage because someone else – anyone else – gets married too. I’m married. My marriage didn’t detract from yours. And I didn’t give anyone else’s marriage a second thought on our special day ???

              • But do tell us what other things take away from your marriage to your wife. Shows like Farmer Needs A Wife? Someone else’s divorce? Someone’s third marriage? (I know someone who’s had five – twice to the same guy). What sorts of things have made your marriage suffer and wither, in the same way gay people marrying will?

            • Also your disappointment isn’t a reason for anyone to deny equal rights to others. Says something telling about you, is all.

              • You are getting heated now. A personal attack ????
                Carefull or I will be discriminated against by stating my position on an issue that should be decided as promised by as many as possible ie a plebiscite.

              • I’m just blown away by Christians who clearly choose to ignore the teachings of their Christ. The personal attacks on you for your ill-will towards people who bare you no ill and simply demand the same rights as you should be coming from within, not without.

  • Well said Bruce, love your work. EVERY citizen/resident of this country deserves to be covered by the protection of ALL our laws, not just select ones.

  • So is this a valid summary of the 2 views

    (a) People who want to be married, who aren’t a male and female, are being discriminated against by the current definition in Australian law.
    All people have the right to be married.
    Discrimination is wrong and should be eliminated so therefore change the definition of marriage to include these people.
    There is no negative effect on anyone’s life who was married under the current definition.
    In fact there is no negative effect on anyone, just positives for those that will now be able to marry.

    (b) God created us.
    God defined marriage as between a man and a woman.
    Christians believe in God and rely on him for many blessings.
    God doesn’t get things wrong, so don’t change what he has defined.
    To believe in God takes faith and God gives us the choice to believe in him or not.

    So for humans is is difficult to reconcile these opposite views with logic.
    So we use democracy.
    Democracy says we discuss and try to understand all views.
    Democracy says we resolve opposite views by a vote (in this case a plebiscite) and the majority rules.

    • I think there’s a (c) people who aren’t religious but don’t think it’s right, and (a) should extend to include people who are religious and think it’s fine.

      In response to your point (a) and (b): If god doesn’t get things wrong, explain the NT having to fix the slavery etc in the OT. Furthermore, Jesus says nothing about homosexual relationships or marriage in the NT, except that people should not divorce – something Christians almost universally have no issue with. As for saying god doesn’t get things wrong, that works even better for point (a) than point (b). Fact is, the bible’s flaws are entirely human because humans passed the stories on by word of mouth, wrote it, voted on what to include and translated it. And that’s all before humans interpreted it and poisoned it with their own biases. But also, and more tellingly, your faultless god made gay a thing.

      • i’m done – discusssing this topic in “one minute” bites. It needs a good coffee and an hour. So next time you are near Woodgate (Bundaberg area) i will shout you a coffee.

    • Point (b) requires a prior step.
      Firstly you must provide evidence for this god that you have faith in and explain why the thousands of other gods (both past and present) people believe in are false.
      ‘Faith’ doesn’t cut it I’m afraid. Faith is just the purposeful suspension of critical thinking.

  • Hey its not the Rainbow they only have six colours. I followed and was a member of a beautiful organisation that had the seven colours of the rainbow (as in from Genisis and Noah) in our symbol and I got labeled a gay as a young girl.!!

    • When I was growing up we used gay and faggot and poofta as insults. We weren’t anti-gay or anything we just never considered it to be insulting actual gay people and the damage that might do mentally to them. So I guess I’m on a journey of learning too. That being said, I would like to apologise to you for what you went through. I didn’t say it to you, but I said it…so sorry. Society has come a long way. I hope we can do better sooner. Not sure what your rainbow point is though, sorry.

  • Hi Bruce. I just have to write to tell you how much I am enjoying catching up on your blog, as well as the back and forth you are having with some of your other readers, (Dennis). LOL.
    I just wish I had taken the opportunity to have further conversations with you when we were camped beside you in the Lowood Showgrounds. (5th wheel). I like the way you think, and I reckon I’d have enjoyed talking to you.
    I particularly enjoyed this piece, and marvelled at the restraint you displayed when dealing with Dennis and his religious homophobic BS. Keep up the good work.
    We headed north after Lowood but will be heading back south soon so I will keep track of you in the hope that we may cross paths again.
    Safe travels,
    Alan and Kay.

    • Next time, Alan & Kay 😀 As for Dennis – my tactic is always to remain calm and present sensible arguments. It never wins over the person I’m communicating with but it’s not for them – it’s for the people who take the time to read it 😀

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