For the life of me I cannot fathom Julia Gillard’s position on same-sex marriage.
As Bernard Keane points out here it’s a ludicrous issue to stake her authority on (that is, it’s not a ludicrous issue, just so well- supported in the community she’s going against the tide) yet she’s gone ahead and done that right from the start.
The day after Gillard took office she announced the proposed detention centre in East Timor (boing) and her intention to retain the current wording of the Marriage Act which declares the institution to be solely the domain of heterosexuals. This wording was only introduced in 2004, BTW, when the Act was reformed by John Howard to prevent same-sex marriage in Australia. It’s not as if the PM is protecting a long-standing legal definition.
At the time the PM stated her intention and her personal belief that marriage can only take place between a man and a woman, I desperately asked why? Why? It wasn’t as if it was an issue at the time. KRudd MP had just been knifed, we were all in shock including the media, and the last thing on anyobody’s mind was same-sex marriage. With the exception perhaps of the Australian Christian Lobby who think about it all the time. All the time, I tell you, to the extent that they have now produced a three-minute video urging the ALP not to change its stance on marriage and gathered 100,000 signatures on a petition they plan to present to the ALP.
And here a little joke from my Twitter friend David Horton of The Watermelon Blog:Is a Christian backlash a kind of religious porn?
Interestingly, one of the luminaries featured in the ACL’s video is Joe de Bruyn, National Secretary of the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association, and member of the ALP National Executive.
Gillard’s objections are not religious because she’s an atheist. She doesn’t seem to value marriage particularly highly in her personal life, choosing instead to live in a de facto relationship. Her efforts to contrive a conscience vote on the issue are a manipulative cop-out: same-sex marriage isn’t a matter of anyone’s “beliefs” it’s a matter of equality.
If Gillard has her way and the Marriage Act remains unchanged, the PM is going to look sooo two centuries ago. If she’s out-voted she’ll lose considerable face, and her authority as leader will be tarnished. Why would anyone put themselves in such a position over this issue, especially when she has no personal investment in the institution?
Julia Gillard has benefited enormously from societal changes over the last thirty years. Even ten years ago, it would have been difficult for a female atheist living in a de facto relationship to become Prime Minister of this country. It is particularly disappointing that someone who has gained so much from society’s ability to make enormous changes, cannot bring herself to support further changes that will bring equality to people of the same-sex who love each other. Time to give something back, Julia.