On Monday night, I watched the Four Corners episode dealing with same-sex marriage and the proposed plebiscite. On Tuesday came confirmation Labor will vote against this piece of hypocritical opportunism. I applaud their courage.
The plebiscite was a political construct dreamt up by Tony Abbott to appease the right wing of the Liberal Party; it was maintained by Malcolm Turnbull as he threw principled belief overboard in his grasp for leadership of the party.
The debate about the process by which we can achieve same-sex marriage has angered, frustrated and humiliated me and many of the people I know and care about. I am pleased this has now been ended.
There will now be the predictable outcry about the loss of the plebiscite; the hypocrisy of those who held up the democratic right of the public to decide this question knows no bounds. This is a matter which could have, and would have, been decided by the individual states well before now, but in 2004, John Howard changed the definition of marriage by an act of Parliament.
Where was the clamour for the "public to decide" when Parliament acted with haste at that time? If it was good enough for Parliament to outlaw same-sex marriage in 2004, it is certainly good enough for Parliament to revisit this question now.
The changing of this law will have no deleterious effect on the opponents to same-sex marriage; they will still have their religion, bigotry and homophobia to console them in their anger and self-righteousness.
What this change of law will do, is give legitimacy and fulfillment to a section of the community who have suffered as much as anybody from those same religions and from bigotry and hatred.
As seen on Four Corners, Senator Eric Abetz has a gay staffer who does not want to get married and this is taken by Abetz as another reason why this change of the law should be opposed. I have no doubt there are many straight people who for various reasons do not want to get married, but they would rise up in anger if this right was taken away. The mere fact that Senator Abetz's staffer had to "confess" his homosexuality is what this fight is all about.
All the gay community wants is for their sexuality and their love to be treated equally under the law. We don't want to convert the world to our cause and I, certainly, would not want my wedding cake to be made by somebody who did not share my joy. We don't want every gay to be married; we simply want for them to have the right to be married if they so choose.
As someone who had to endure the school yard, workplace and boardroom taunts about my sexuality, I am fed up with not being equal.
Having experienced all of the above and, then, having watched the joy and love with which my three daughters have embraced their gay friends, I am well aware of the effect this fight for equality will have on the hard-won tolerance and freedom that many in the gay community have done so much to achieve over the past 50 years.
As the grandfather of three, great young children, I would hope and pray they will inherit a world where tolerance and love has triumphed over bigotry.
A world where attending a wedding of their gay friends is no more exceptional than attending a wedding for people of different faiths or of a different colour. That, in essence, is all we are asking.
- Bruce Ingrey is a semi-retired real estate agent.