Getting a straight answer on gay marriage

There is one big social issue being bandied about at this election. Should gay and lesbian couples be recognised by the government and should it be called marriage. It might have already been a big, throbbing political issue but Kevin Rudd thrust it into the spotlight at the start of the campaign.

So we know Kevin Rudd and Labor say yes – the government should recognise same-sex relationships and it should be called marriage. The Greens agree, but you would expect nothing less from a bunch of radical fringe activists who are intent on destroying society.

But where does the alternative government stand? The Liberal/National coalition says, well, they don’t know. That’s because the Coalition officially does not have a position on marriage. And don’t just take my word for it. Go and have a gander at what they actually say.

For instance, Tony Abbott has been asked personally about this question by Family Voice Australia.

How will he vote if gay marriage comes up after the election?

His response is ‘unsure’. That’s not very clear.

And pretty much all of his colleagues have given the same answer. On the issue of life’s greatest commitment, Coalition candidates can’t give any commitment.

The Coalition also gave a written response to the Australian Christian Lobby, outlining its position on marriage. And again, it’s not very clear.

Asked what it would do to protect the definition of marriage, the Coalition stated it supports the current definition but any change would be a matter for the Party Room – just like all other policies. But the Coalition doesn’t give itself that ‘get out of jail’ card for any of its other policies.

All of its other policies are commitments that the Liberal/National parties are taking to the election. Marriage is the one Coalition policy that it flags for change once people vote.

It’s important to note here that the very reason Tony Abbott gave no conscience vote on gay marriage previously was because he said it was an election commitment. No such commitment has been given anywhere by Tony Abbott or the Coalition in the lead up to Saturday’s poll.

Summarising up to this point, we know that Labor and the Greens are for gay marriage while the Coalition have a foot in both camps. I’ll admit that the perception is that the Coalition are against it.

But it’s just a perception and if there is one thing that Coalition governments have proven over the last couple of years it is this: despite the perception, Coalition governments actually support the homosexual movement.

Let’s give some examples.

  • Western Australia’s Liberal Premier, Colin Barnett, although personally against gay marriage, wants a conscience vote because he recognises the concept has growing support.

Then there’s the old civil unions chestnut in Queensland. It’s a backflip that tops all other backflips. In late November 2011, the LNP voted unanimously against civil unions. Then, during the election campaign in early 2012, the LNP couldn’t tell anyone exactly where they stood. Campbell Newman told some people the laws would be scrapped and he told others that they would be kept. Mostly, the perception in the media and the public was that the LNP would dump civil unions.

But that’s the funny thing about perception – it has nothing to do with reality.

In June 2012, barely 180 days after the LNP voted unanimously against civil unions, they turned 180 degrees and voted unanimously to keep them.

But that’s just all the old news.

What kind of noises have the Coalition been making about marriage during this election campaign – a campaign where it can’t tell us where it stands on marriage.

Well, for a start, the Coalition have promised to give $200 vouchers so gay couples can get ‘marriage’ counselling.

And Tony Abbott has promised that lesbian couples will be entitled to up to $75,000 in paid parental leave if they manage to convince someone outside their relationship to help them have a child.

Then there are all the Coalition candidates who are now campaigning publicly for gay marriage.

And in Queensland, Family First asked Coalition candidates to give a commitment to vote against gay marriage in exchange for preferences. Only nine were prepared to do so, with an additional late comer joining the party. That’s out of thirty. The majority didn’t want to get involved in outlining a basic thing like their personal position on marriage. The glue that builds families – the basic building block of society – was not worth their attention. Remember, this is in an election where gay marriage is a major issue.

These are not the kind of actions a party supportive of marriage would take. But then again, the Coalition doesn’t actually support marriage. Its official position is that it doesn’t know what its position will be until after the election.

Only one Coalition figure has objected to this analysis – Senator Boswell. I respect Senator Boswell, not only for his valiant actions taken to fight the good fight over his career, but also for trying to defend his party. Unfortunately for the good Senator – who sadly will soon be retiring – his response only highlights the problems inside the LNP.

Senator Boswell released the following letter to Catholic Coordinators last week.

Dear Sir/Madam,

I write to address a media release sent out by Family First this morning claiming that a majority of LNP candidates support gay marriage.

On 21 August 2013, the Coalition’s Federal Campaign Director Brian Loughnane notified Family First’s Ashley Fenn of the Coalition’s official policy that it supports the current definition of marriage contained in the Marriage Act.

The Coalition leader Tony Abbott supports the definition of marriage as between a man and a woman.

The following are just some that I have spoken with today who are pro-marriage between a man and a woman.

  • Warren Truss MP – Wide Bay
  • Ken O’Dowd MP – Flynn
  • Hon Bruce Scott MP – Maranoa
  • Ted O’Brien – Fairfax
  • Teresa Harding – Blair

These candidates were ignored by Family First in their media release. In the case of Fairfax and Blair, Family First has stated they will preference against two candidates who are firmly in support of the traditional definition of marriage.

Whilst not wishing to criticise any other political parties in this environment, I do have to say that most importantly in the Senate, Family First has preferenced KAP’s pro-gay marriage James Blundell in front of LNP number 3 Matt Canavan and LNP number 4 David Goodwin, who would be your very best advocates for marriage in the Senate.


Senator Ron Boswell

Senator for Queensland


Now, for a start, Brian Loughnane has never given a statement that the Coalition support the current definition and will continue to do so after the election. He just rehashed Tony Abbott’s position, which is that after the election the party room will decide.

But I’d love for anyone in the Coalition to actually confirm this is not the case. And I’d back them, support them for it and do my bit to make it public.

Then there’s the problem of the candidates. Senator Boswell claims they were ignored by Family First. The reality is that they ignored Family First’s request in the first place – even though it was a public request, followed by high-level discussions and contact with each candidate and also came with a promise about the currency of elections: preferences and votes. And it also came with the knowledge of the actions that would follow a non-response.

And let’s also put aside the fact that it’s taken Senator Boswell to give us the position of these candidates and not question why they could not make a statement themselves. We’ll just assume that Senator Boswell is correct.

That still means that out of the thirty LNP candidates in Queensland, the numbers who have responded to Family First, plus the numbers given by Senator Boswell, add up to less than half the party.

This is important. After the election, the Coalition party room will decide its position regarding marriage. And in the state of Queensland – one of the most conservative in Australia – over half the LNP either support gay marriage, are undecided, or don’t think this issue is important enough to respond to.

And if that’s not a warning sign, consider this. Senator Boswell claims that the LNP’s third and fourth Senate candidates ‘would be the very best advocates for marriage in the Senate’. He may well be right.

But it also means that Senator Boswell thinks somewhat less of the LNP’s lead candidates. They are, in his mind, obviously not the best advocates for marriage.

Senator Boswell has good reason to hold that position. He knows them. They are progressives. And unlike the lower-ranked candidates in the LNP, who have made it clear that they will vote against gay marriage, the top two blokes have said they are ‘unsure’ how they’ll vote.

That’s not a great endorsement of the LNP’s Senate team. It’s also not much of an endorsement of LNP party members who voted to put a great Senate candidate, Dave Goodwin, in an unwinnable position, while electing someone who has voted for euthanasia, RU486 and embryonic stem-cell research, Senator Ian MacDonald, into top spot on the LNP’s Senate ticket.

The truth is that the Coalition doesn’t have a position on marriage as it goes into Saturday’s election.

And the truth is that the Coalition today sounds a lot like Labor did in the lead up to its decision to support gay marriage.

So what, you may ask. The Coalition is still better than Labor. So why am I so hard on it?

I’m hard on the Coalition for three simple reasons.

Firstly, we deserve better. Better is not another government that is moving in the same direction as Labor.

Secondly, there are better options than the Coalition. We don’t have to settle on second best just because they are bigger than everyone else.

Thirdly, for my entire lifetime, the political answer to fighting dangerous social policy has been to vote for the Coalition. And this answer has clearly failed. The Coalition has been in government at state and federal level for much of this period. Things have not gotten any better. They have got worse. The reality is that the Coalition is more part of the problem than part of the solution.

If we want to stop losing the social fight in politics, we need to stop doing those things that keep resulting in defeat. Voting for the Coalition is voting for more defeat.

Whatever happens on Saturday, Kevin Rudd won’t be Prime Minister when the counting stops. That means you can vote for a good candidate, and you don’t need to vote for a Coalition candidate.

And in Queensland, every Family First candidate is pro-marriage and pro-life. But there are also other options as well. You do have a choice. It’s up to you whether you want to take it.

Finally, it’s always possible to vote for a good candidate and then preference the Coalition over Labor. That way you support the best person and ensure Labor’s demise.

Author: Bernard Gaynor

Bernard Gaynor is a married father of nine children. He has a background in military intelligence, Arabic language and culture and is an outspoken advocate of conservative and family values.

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  1. I have decided to study law, especially family law. My reasons are: It looks like the push for gay marriage will not back down; no matter how often the house of representatives/senate rejects it. My main reason is that due to the very high turnover of partners in homosexual relationships, there will be a lot of money to be made from divorce settlements if this bill is passed…. cheers >>>future divorce lawyer specialising ($$$) in gay divorce ($$$$)<<<

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  2. What is the REAL agenda here? The REAL issue isn’t just same sex marriage rights. The ultimate aim of the LGBT activists is the promotion of blatant “in your face sexuality” as normality. The Gay Mardi Gras is an example of “in your face sexuality”. That very fact is not normal. If heterosexuals had a blatantly sexual Mardi Gras, that wouldn’t be normal either, and it should be condemned. If a heterosexual teacher made a big thing about their sexuality to school children and described the ways their partner “satisfied” them, that wouldn’t be normal, and it should be condemned. Yet the LGBT thinks blatant displays and descriptions of their sexuality should be considered “normal” and anything less is discriminatory! What a bunch of hypocrites! Some examples of what has happened in Massachusetts as a result of SSM:
    Make no mistake, the SSM Trojan horse is a very small part of the LGBT activist’s much larger social agenda.

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    • The ‘gay movement’ as you see bears no resemblance to what it is in reality.

      The LGBT ‘community’ is a disparate mix of people pushing for any number of causes. There is no secret group that meets to see the ‘gay agenda’ gets implemented. Most gay activist groups argue with each other constantly and don’t agree on anything. It’s hardly the behaviour of a sinister group of people with a well organised plot to bring about the downfall of humanity.

      If you truly believe that that’s what LGBT people are up to then you can rest assured it’s never going to happen, especially if it’s true!

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    • Gordon, believe it or not, I actually agree with you. I don’t believe in discrimination based on sexuality (I don’t really see denial of gay marriage all that discriminatory), but their in-your-face attitude gets on my nerves. Believe it or not, the Gay Mardi Gras actually started as a protest march, which later devolved into the gay pride event we all have the dubious pleasure of experiencing, watching, or hearing about today.

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      • So Webboy42 the Mardi Gras started off as a protest march because why?
        Most people think homosexuals have never suffered from any form of Discrimination.
        Some think they still don’t today…Some even think what Russia is doing in great…so great that you can be arrested for waving a gay pride flag. Or being bashed in front of russian police who do nothing just because you are gay. There are even videos of young gay men being bashed and having urine poured all over them and yet the russian police claim no law has been broken.

      • Paul why do you say nothing in protest about countries where it is the law they execute gay people like Iran? Russia has not banned homosexuality, it has banned propaganda and public display of homosexual activity to protect children from being exposed to the sexual perversity of homosexuality. Russa has foiled the real agenda of the gay lobby, to corrupt children and confuse them into thinking homosexuality is acceptable.

      • Paul, it’s been some time since I looked up the origin of gay pride events, so I couldn’t tell you what specific grievance they had (although I remember it was some kind of discrimination or violence they suffered), but gay pride events, as far as I know, haven’t always been about getting in everyone’s face, and today, that’s all it really is, an opportunity to say, “Look at me! I’m gay! Aren’t I great?” It’s fine with me if they want to feel proud about who they are, but they don’t need a spectacle to do that, and they sure as hell don’t need to mock the religions of others and/or urinate on cathedral steps and doors.

  3. Adam and Paul, you’ll probably be surprised, but I’ve decided that gay marriage should be legalised. I’m not convinced that homosexuality is genetic and completely safe for those who practice it, but it’s obvious that gays and lesbians cannot change their sexuality and should have the same opportunities as straight couples. I have no right to tell homosexuals what they can and cannot do with their personal lives. I understand that gay marriage is against the beliefs of religious people, but that’s not a justifiable reason to disallow them the right to marry. The basic Human rights of homosexuals should not be suppressed just because a religious group takes exception to the way they live. I think all religious people should think about the positives that will come from allowing gays to marry. If it encourages gays to live in monogamous relationships then surely that will have a positive impact on their health. So if comes down to a referendum them I’ll vote “Yes” for gay marriage.

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    • Bruce you fail to see the bigger picture. Gay relationships have everything equal in regard to defacto payments fom centerlink etc. GLBT want to gain the title of marriage, because in doing so they can gain access to adopting children as well as rewriting sex education programmes directed at children to include their practices and indoctinate children against the parents wishes. They also seek to force religious people to accept them as ” normal” and expect pastor preists to “marry” them in the pretty venue of a Church. in Sydney during the mardi gras, men dressed up as brides and women as grooms and urinated on the Catholic Cathedral steps and doorways. Homosexual activists do what they like and think that they are above the law, what thy do in their own bedroom is their own business, but do not shove it in my face or try to corrupt my children as well as insult and desecrate the Churches Cathedrals that mean so much to me and many people. Also gay relationships very rarely last long, the long term averaging around 5 years. The health risks of homosexuality are still high even in monogamous relationships, Monogamy, meaning long-term sexual fidelity, is rare in GLB relationships, particularly among gay men. One study reported that 66 percent of gay couples reported sex outside the relationship within the first year, and nearly 90 percent if the relationship lasted five years.

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  4. And now I also see that you moderate your comments, which is pretty smart cos 99% probably have a different opinion to you and that’s not something you want to be made public, is it? Well, know that you can control your website but you can’t control Australia, mate.

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  5. I would like to say that I respectfully disagree with your comments but sadly I can’t. I hold no respect for you or your views. How can you possibly put forward the view that LGBT relationships are morally wrong? I think that denying people their happiness is wrong. Being gay is something you’re born with, it’s not a choice. Now for a minute, imagine if you were born gay. Maybe then you’d actually recognise the feeling of empathy. You say that children raised by gay parents ‘suffer’ but is this merely an assumption or stereotype? I don’t think any study or survey can accurately capture this matter. Anyhow, I for one would much rather grow up with two gay parents than two straight parents in an abusive or noncomitting relationship. It’s quite sad that you’re so defiant on being stuck in the past because in a few years time, you and your views will simply be remembered as what we remember racism as in the 20th century (although it continues to be a prevalent issue).

    But fair enough, you oppose gay marriage, that’s your opinion. Have you considered the following scenario however… Gay marriage is legalized and you don’t participate in a gay marriage! No one’s forcing you to participate in any sort of LGBT activities. Now with that thought in mind, have you come to realize how selfish and ignorant you sound, allowing your personal views to interfere with the happiness and quality of life of the LGBT community, even though the legalization of gay marriage will not affect you whatsoever?

    I see that you’re religious and that’s probably a large reason behind your homophobia. I would like to remind you that although Christianity is the prevalent religion in Australia, not everyone shares your religion and therefore it shouldn’t be used as a reason to stop a country from legalizing gay marriage. It’s perfectly fine for Christianity to oppose gay marriage if that’s what your religion believes in but it is absurd that Christians attempt to impose their views and values onto atheists and people of other religions. I have friends who can’t eat meat because of their religion but never once have they slapped a chicken pizza in my hand. I don’t see them trying to force their vegetarian diet on the rest of Australia either, so why don’t you take a leaf out of their book.

    All formalities aside… mate. after typing your name into google, it doesn’t come up with a lot of favourable articles. You boast of military intelligence but the ADF doesn’t seem too happy with you do they? And you’re asking for donations for a blog where you spurt homophobic opinions out of your ass, so obviously you’re not in a strong place financially which is understandable since you pretty much got fired from Katter’s Australian Party, which in turn renders your political views as irrelevant, really. Sorry but I just don’t think you’re in a capable position to judge people due to their sexuality which just happens to be different to yours.

    So regarding gay marriage, Labor and Greens are for it, and as you say, Liberal’s turning around pretty quick. The conclusion drawn in gay marriage is happening. Deal with it.

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    • Lilly, people are not born gay, there is no such thing as a gay gene.
      Also do you know the full extent as to what homosexuals engage in, the medical health risks involved as well as the shortened life expectantcy? I am not afraid of people who have gay tendencies nor am i afraid of those who practice homosexuality, but yet you seem to brand people who speak out against homosexuality as a homophobe. Your direct attack toward Bernard for stating the truth regarding homosexuality shows you are bothered by his ability to front up and face a minority who forces their sexual perversion down our necks everyday, may it be on TV radio magazines newspapers etc. Here is a story of a woman who was exposed to the gay subculture and suffered greatly, not a life for a child.
      Low life expectantcy of practicing homosexuals
      I will not get used to homosexuality, so deal with it.

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      • Kat, How do you work out life expectantcy for homosexuals is low?
        Does a death certificate show what the persons Sexual orientation was?

      • Kat, we meet again. A “gay” gene has not been discovered, you’re right about that, but genetics is not the only factor that might determine which sexuality someone is “born” with. Most of what I’ve read suggests that homosexuality most likely results from a combination of nature and nurture. In any case, I doubt that most homosexuals just wake up one day and consciously decide to be gay. I mean, why would they? What do they have to gain from it?

      • Ave Webboy42,
        Contributing factors during childhood and adolescence are the reason why people present with homosexual tendencies, the most common is strained relationship with same sex parent or absence of same sex parent.
        I could write an essay regarding this issue in todays society, however I would much rather be an example and raise my children the way a mother should with my husband by my side in a loving enviroment, the way nature intended.

      • Sorry but an article’s not going to convince me that being in a ‘gay environment’ is harmful. LGBT communities do not FORCE their ‘sexual perversion’ down other people’s throats. Once they achieve equality and their basic rights they will live quietly and happily, but sadly this isn’t the case just yet. Do you see gay people on the streets preaching to convert people into being gay? Never. Do you see Christians on the streets attempting shamelessly to convert people to their religion while knowing that the people they are approaching may practise a different religion or no religion at all? Always, and you can always see that area of the street being avoided because of the sheer awkwardness discomfort. As for whether people are born gay or not … It’s quite obvious that the gay youth are extensively bullied in society today. subject to offensive language and even physical violence. If being gay was a choice, why would anyone choose to be gay and deliberately subject themselves to such cruelty?

        Once again I repeat. When (and note that I say when, not if) gay marriage is legalized, you don’t need to go and get a gay marriage. YOU can raise your kids in a ‘loving environment as nature intended’. But you do NOT get to decide how other people live their lives. Don’t say you’re concerned for gay people’s kids growing up in a harmful environment because there are many kids who live in a single-parent family, kids who have abusive parents and kids who don’t have parents at all, but hey you’re not standing up for them, are you? Let’s face it, it’s not your concern for them, it’s your inbred nature of hatred and lack of empathy. It astounds me that people can say that being gay is something awful and morbid when they themselves who pride themselves on being straight commit hold such vile, hating thoughts inside their tiny tiny brains.

      • Actually Lilly I have been called derogatory names by homosexual people in unprovoked attack. I was also bullied as a child, at school everyday.
        I also do not support child abuse and think it a national disgrace when DOCS lets these children down.
        I have helped women through unplanned pregnancy which also includes the health and welfare of the child involved. Children are often the victims of selfish adult politics and lifestyles, Children are not commodities they are little people, who deserve better than what our society has created.
        And I am not peddling hate speech, but you seem to be directing your hatred toward me because I obviously seem a threat to your cause by being a mother. But not to worry I will continue to raise my children in a loving home the way nature intended.

      • Lily, you said gay people don’t try to convert people into being gay. That isn’t where the real issue is, although some might think differently, the real issue is that a lot of gay people are trying to force people to fully accept them regardless of beliefs. Let me ask you, if gay marriage was legalized, would you support the right of a church to deny them a marriage ceremony in accordance with their traditions and beliefs? Or would you expect a church to accommodate a gay marriage ceremony regardless of their traditions and beliefs? Now, I don’t know about anyone else, but I don’t think the gay community will be happy with legal recognition of gay marriage by itself. Some will more than likely want an unwilling church to marry them.

    • I’m sure there are many homosexual couples who have the best of intentions and are as nice and caring as any straight person in the world, but the fact is kids fare the best when they have a mother and a father. Gay marriage should be legalised, but children should be kept out of it. Children have rights too.

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  6. “under no circumstances should the government provide recognition to relationships that are harmful”
    Wow Bernard that really is a powerful statement.
    Then that would mean you disagree with centerlink counting the income of homosexuals couples to determine if any benefit is affected or cancelled.

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  7. Bernard are you just against homosexual couples getting the Coalition’s relationship vouchers or are you also against heterosexual de factos couples getting it?
    Are you also against a single mother the same as a lesbian in getting the paid parental leave?
    Or do you think that homosexuals shouldn’t have the same basic rights to benefits?

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    • Paul, under no circumstances should the government provide recognition to relationships that are harmful. It is morally wrong on many levels, not least because it undermines what the government should be doing: supporting relationships that help build a stronger society.

      Government does not have a blank cheque book. So funding needs to based on a careful analysis of its necessity. Supporting married couples is a laudable aim because they provide the best environment in which future citizens are formed. Do they need $200 marriage counselling vouchers? Quite possibly, given the obviously disastrous state that the concept of marriage is in today. So I don’t oppose the idea.

      When it comes to single or de facto relationships, I am not in favour of government measures that support them. They are not the ideal; they are a problem. Not least because commitment is lacking or gone entirely. Many studies show that children raised in these environment suffer from a range of factors that are not nearly as prevalent in marriages. But as I always say, if you need a study to tell you you what you should be able to work out with any commonsense, you are probably beyond the point where you are of much use to society in general.

      It is best if children are not exposed to these type of environments. Government spends enormous amounts trying to sort out the problems created by these relationships. It has a duty to protect children and ensure that they do not starve and are educated. So sometimes assistance is required – it should be made very clear that this assistance is for the child and not an endorsement of the relationship.

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      • Bernard, I have to disagree with you on this one. I think it’s more harmful to exclude gays and lesbians from mainstream society. People do all sorts of crazy things when they’re ostracised for being different. How many gays and lesbians have taken drugs and had numerous sexual encounters with strangers in parks and committed suicide because they’re a marginalised group? If allowing gays to marry lowers the rate of promiscuity among homosexuals then there will be a smaller amount of them acquiring HIV, taking drugs and committing suicide. Think of the money that the government will save by having to treat fewer cases of HIV, depression, and substance abuse.

  8. Oh no! God forbid that the major Australian parties actually… move with public sentiment! Dear Lord no! What is the world coming to when our parties reflect the majority opinion of the public?!?!?! God save us alllllll!!!!!!

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    • Oh but Adam! You forget that democracy is a BAD thing! Communism all the way!

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    • Sound laws, the assurance of public order, are not built on public sentiment. They are built on its opposite – reason. Pretending that homosexual relationships are “marriage” is about as contrary to reason as one can possibly get.

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    • Adam, if that was truly the case, gay marriage advocates wouldn’t be opposed to putting it to the people for a direct vote. Instead, gay marriage advocates were quite violently opposed to that idea when it was suggested, based on some silly fear that the ad campaign for the no vote would somehow vilify the gay community. If gay advocates are so sure that being gay doesn’t present potential and/or actual risks to the people involved, or the wider community at large, why are they scared? Sure, someone opposed to gay marriage, and homosexuality in general, could twist things to make them look worse than they are, but if the gay community are so unsure of themselves that they need to avoid public debate, then they have much bigger problems than whether or not their relationship is legally recognized, and whether that recognition is called marriage.

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  9. Good read, and well put Bernard.
    I especialy like your closing remarks, its very important to point out the problems with both the major parties, that they do not always represent what is right and tend to change policies with the fashion or fad of the moment.
    The Pope has called for a day of prayer and fasting this saturday for a peaceful outcome regarding the conflict in Syria, Its seems timely also considering it is Australian election day.

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