So freedom of speech is no longer a value of the Liberal Party – that is the only conclusion that I can reach following the “sacking” of Senator Cory Bernardi from his front bench position in the Abbott- led federal Opposition.
Unfortunately, Senator Barnardi’s comments have been misinterpreted, intentionally or otherwise. Clearly, Senator Bernardi’s comments were more than reasonable.
It is a simple fact that, if we are to extend the “right” to marry to homosexual couples, we must also face the reality that others in the community will appeal that their “right” to marry should also be accepted.
Currently, there is a traditional moral basis for our definition of marriage. If this moral base is removed and replaced with a “rights”-based definition (and it should be noted that the Tasmanian premier claimed that this was a simple matter of rights) then those whose concept of marriage may include polygamy, child brides or, yes, even as Senator Bernardi noted, bestiality, may clearly argue that they too have “rights” and their right to marry should not be seen to be inferior to the right of homosexual couples to marry.
If it is said to be inferior, why?
Who determines why one person’s “right” is greater than another’s?
One could argue that the rights of the child would over-ride the right of those who want child brides (and surely we would hope that this would be the case) and maybe animal rights may remove bestiality from the list, but polygamy is arguably the free choice of consenting adults, so why would their right to have their marriage legitimised be less than those of a homosexual couple?
So Senator Bernardi may not be so far from making an extremely valid point, albeit one that some people, including the members of the federal Liberal Party, simply don’t want to hear or confront.
But ignoring the reality won’t make it go away. Neither will sacking a senator who dares to break this taboo!
I do not know Senator Bernardi, however the fact that he was forced to resign over a speech that represented the views of many Australians, is morally unacceptable.
I suggest that everyone should be concerned by the Liberal Party’s action. If a senator can be removed from the front bench for mentioning this issue, what other issues are to be made “taboo”? Will other parties follow suit?
It would be morally wrong if the homosexual lobby was not permitted to present its case for marriage rights in the public arena – we live in a democratic society, so those who have such a case to present must be free to do so, but the same must equally apply to those who wish to argue that marriage should remain as the union between one man and one woman.
But the Bernardi incident is not an issue about changing the definition of marriage – it’s an issue of freedom of speech.
Senator Bernardi has been censored, silenced and those who believe that freedom of speech is an essential part of our society, especially in our parliaments, should be very concerned.