Why there should not be a conscious vote on gay marriage.
There are periods in history that all political parties face issues that will forever define them. For the United States Republican Party it was slavery. For the Democratic Party in the United States it was the adoption of Keynesian economic frameworks, particularly the New Deal under Roosevelt and the Great Society under Johnson. For the Australian Labor Party it was arbitration.
We are now at a crucial moment in Australian history, will we honour and defend our pluralistic society or allow religious intolerance to dominate our mainstream political parties?
At the heart of the struggle is a very simple concept: will we provide human dignity to homosexuals by providing recognition of their relationships and family life equal to that we provide to heterosexuals?
We say that human rights provide equal recognition and protection without discrimination on the basis of sex, religion, age, political beliefs, race or sexual preference.
Why is it that mainstream politics baulks at the provision of the same rights and protections for homosexuals?
Why is it that a homosexual's love of their partner is not afforded the same status as a heterosexual's?
The Australian Labor Party has a proud history of embracing a modern secular pluralistic society. So too have elements of the Liberal Party.
However, our history abounds with religious organisations attempting to subvert our cultural and proud support of a pluralistic society. In the 1950s we had the Movement led by B.A. Santamaria attempting to control Australian unions to deliver a Christian Democratic society. Thankfully the broad Labor movement was successful in resisting this intolerant crusade.
However, Tony Abbott, one of his disciples, has taken control of the Liberal Party hence any chance of bipartisanship on gay rights is impossible. The Christian soldiers have a mission to end our secular society and unless they meet opposition they will continue their crusade.
Gay activists are lobbying the ALP for a conscience vote. This is a mistake. We should demand that elected representatives legislate to provide equal status and protection for homosexual relationships. Providing the ability for a conscience vote on a fundamental human right is intolerable. To suggest that it is OK for elected Labor representatives to succumb to the power of the Christian crusaders and abandon fundamental human rights would be a tragedy.
This sort of weakness to take a principled stand can only lead to further erosions of human rights.
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