Friday, September 21, 2012

Gay marriage and angry Muslims


What a blustering time this past week was.

It kicked off last weekend in Sydney with some very rowdy scenes in Hyde Park and elsewhere in central Sydney, featuring placards such as:


Being held up by children, it sparked quite an understandably reactionary response from the media, state government, Gillard & Abbott, and various community leaders who expressed about a possible backlash.

Opinion articles were spat out of the big papers at lightening speed, all of which were overwhelmingly full of condemnation and were calling out for answers as to why Sydney's CBD could be gummed up with violence on an otherwise lazy and peaceful afternoon.

The prime reason we're told is because of a very lame movie that wasn't even fully released out of America, and had very low production values, and for all intents and purposes, probably made to get this type of response.

It's inflamed the Muslim world elsewhere, and the response has been somewhat silly, and I think somewhat embarrassing for Muslims, who have seemingly been doing nothing but protest and scream at the West and their old regimes in their own lands.

Obviously, any integrated and informed Australian citizen would not react so viciously to blasphemy.

The religious element of Islam always hinges on defending the prophet at all costs - which is either admirable, or imbecilic, depending on your point of view.

However, I do wonder - what if the gay marriage reform passed the Parliament this week.

Would we see rallies and demonstrations from the Christian community? Would we see an outpouring of disgust from the fundamentalists, who would viciously attack homosexuality?

It's my own personal opinion that I think we very well would.

After the reform failed in both the lower and upper houses, there was a collective sigh of relief expressed on forums and on social media from the conservatives about it's failure.

Some of them even saw it as an opportunity to lay the boot into gays and lesbians, and express their disgust that Australia could even consider such a thing as marriage equality.

Which I personally feel is dangerous, and it once again shows how much influence religion actually has on the Australian political apparatus - look at Hillsong for example.

Gay marriage is usually seen as a leftists issue, and it is true that many left-leaning politicians try to squeeze that precious political capital from it, but of course more often than not, they are genuinely for reform.

I found it interesting that Kevin Rudd voted against it - while Greg Combet voted in favour of it.

Rudd was considered for a longtime as Howard Lite, and I suppose he still is; even union heavies such as Combet see marriage equality as a positive thing.

I wonder what Paul Howes thinks? Sure he's not in Parliament (and we all pray to whatever deity we can) that he never will be, but his own opinion is probably a moving target, just as it was on the carbon tax.

Of course, Abbott didn't allow anyone in his party to vote how they felt - which is a failure of democracy in itself, as everyone was expected to tow the party line, no matter what.

The problem in summary is that gay marriage has been politicised, with the aid of the religious overtones that our conservative politicians like to brush everything with.

"We're a Christian nation," they will say, followed by the teary-eyed story that only a man and a woman can have a family - even though there are already a plethora of family models in existence in this country, and there's plenty of broken families that started out with a man and a woman.

They will then say the Marriage Act reflects our Christian values - even though according to that act, you're allowed to marry your aunt, uncle, first cousin, niece or nephew - so long as they're the opposite sex.

Divide and conquer, a crusade can be made out of anything.

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