Same gender marriage passed with a 61.5 percent ‘yes’ vote with a participation of 80 percent of eligible voters. How that remaining fifth would have voted is something the far right and other conservative groups are probably trying to figure out. Were they so opposed they threw the ballot paper in the bin or are they all people who couldn’t be bothered walking to the post box? If for the most part ‘no’ sayers then the result would have been different or at least a lot closer had they voted. I’d guess Australia is split down the middle on the issue and this same-gender marriage went through because a lot of the against didn’t vote.
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation news was happily reporting statistics on participation rates by age group forgetting this was supposed to be an anonymous survey. It appears some were right in being suspicious of the bar codes on the ‘anonymous’ yes or no only form and the government has collected data on how each individual voted.
The yes camp also said there would not be any further social consequences to a ‘yes’ outcome such as gay and lesbian issues being introduced into primary school classrooms. Wrong again – yesterday, the day the result was announced, a mother contacted me saying her 9-year-old son was put in the ‘wrong’ group in a classroom debate on same-gender marriage. Influenced by an ultra conservative Catholic grandparent, he said God made marriage between a man and woman.
The federal senate as I write this, is debating the bill that will legalise same-gender marriage and the issue is freedom of religion, guaranteed in the constitution, and freedom of speech, itself implied but not guaranteed in the constitution. Should a priest be able to refuse to marry a same-gender couple on the basis that marriage is a sacrament in which God himself joins a man and a woman? On the Australian Broadcasting Corporation news this morning a person looking as though her day job is schoolboy impersonator, said that would be ‘discrimination against LGBTQI people’.
Etc, etc and we are now just a day into this and already two basic tenets of democracy, the right to speak one’s mind and the right to religious freedom, are under attack. And we haven’t started on the kid issue yet. Anyways, as Bill Clinton said at the funeral of Helmut Kohl, “we must also let the young make their own mistakes”.
Myself, and as I’ve said before, I support the right to marriage for all but I also support the right to free speech, the right to religious freedom and the right of children not to be dragged into highly emotional adult debates. It’s called believing in democracy and anyone who has a problem with that is welcome to fuck off to countries like North Korea or Saudi Arabia.
The other ‘good’ news is that the Australian soccer team will be heading to the World Cup in Russia next year. Great game last night in Sydney with the Aussies defeating the Hondurans 3 – 1. I’m not a great football fan but the World Cup is a different matter. National pride.
OK – have to also mention the sale today of Leonardo da Vinci’s “Salvator Mundi” for 400 million US dollars. Aside from all the issues related to social equality this raises, I also could not help but wonder why a single painting is that desirable? It’s like it is a piece of the very material from which the most successful culture in the world was built and laugh out loud, it’s also a painting done by a dude who would be in jail and/or subjected to the reporting conditions of a sex offender were he alive today and lived and created as he did five hundred years ago. Says a lot about what actually created western culture as we enjoy it today – so far.