Tag Archives: vote

It’s a ‘yes’ and other things.

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.

Drawing of the young boy 'Salai' by renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci

Salai, Leonardo’s ‘life companion’ was such a pretty thing…

 

LGBTQI March in Sydney and 13 year old wants to marry his idol.

Been in the Sydney burbs house sitting and with added cat and fish feeding duties which is not all that exciting and so last Sunday I made an effort and went into the city hoping to get some good pictures at a ‘Vote Yes’ march. That been of course the same-gender marriage thing again. I took a few hundred pictures most of which are useless as I anticipated they would be given the location (between very boring high rise buildings) and time of day (excessive contrast between sunlit and shaded areas) but was hoping the LGBTQI event might create opportunities for some good human interest pictures. That didn’t work out all that well either because for the greater part the marchers were all white middle class young adults with a few bringing along the kids. Not sure the march would have convinced a single ‘No’ voter to vote ‘Yes’ if that was the intention because where it failed was in not putting forward a reason why a person who believes marriage is between a man and a woman should change their voting intentions. Stamping your foot and screaming ‘Not Fair!’ is not a valid argument as many children find out when they try it on their parents.

I’ve been over this same-gender marriage thing more than enough already and will maybe just post some pictures when I get around to sorting and processing what is worth salvaging but there is one I think speaks in support of Ginsberg’s piece I published here recently in which he argues amongst other things for the need to deal with the sexual rights of teenagers. Something the mainstream LGBTQI have run away from out of fear of rejection by the conservative hetero majority. I took the picture below in a railway station as I waited for the train back to the suburbs. I had to be quick because the kid frequently repositioned the sign between bouts of whatever he was doing on his phone and therefore the less than perfect quality of the snap shot.

:Picture of 13 year old boy on station platform with pro same gender marriage sign.

Wish them both well.

We understand from what he has written on his placard that he is thirteen and wishes to marry a male — and edit, my flatmate set me straight on who this Chris is, an actor apparently, but the point remains — end of edit. Anyway, there you have it, out in the open that young teenagers make choices, identify as gay and fall in love. None of this can be swept back under the carpet which means that limitations on what can be said in debate, written or represented in the visual arts is useless and this all encompassing taboo is even dangerous given that youth have discovered – and I have this from sources and NOT from my own research – other platforms where their expressions of sexual desire are, let’s say, welcomed and eagerly encouraged.

Of course legislation is needed but by itself it will not resolve this issue. We also need intelligent and informed discussion and up-to-date sex education. I hear already those who would say that a strict environment in which kids are ‘kept innocent’ is the way to deal with what they would describe as sexual promiscuity in children and to them I would reply that research carried out by a NYT journalist some years ago found that half of all boys working as under-age male prostitutes in New York are from fundamentalist Christian families. Makes sense – in a conservative religious family a same-gender-attracted child quickly learns that receiving love from those he or she loves depends on he or she accepting to self-hate in silence and isolation. They will seek out their kind but are likely to do so in a self-destructive way because that is how they have learned to express and interact with their sexuality. I can remember myself growing up under those circumstances and thinking back it’s a miracle I survived to adulthood. I used to fantasize about been able to bring a boyfriend home and receive the same approving reception as I did if I came home with a girl. I liked girls but most often the relationship failed because of my lack of physical interest. I could manage a half-decent performance – I think – but only when drunk and at a time when I was still young enough to be less fussy about what was in the bed.

OK – blabbered on a bit more than planned but there is just one final thing I want to add and it’s the reason why I will vote ‘Yes’ in this postal plebiscite despite as all who come here know, having reservations based on the possibility of a backlash caused by a lack of clarity on issues such as the rights of the child in same-gender families and lack of discussion about how all this will change the institution of marriage. A major concern of those intending to vote ‘No’.

With regard to the institution, same-gender marriage will – possibly – reshape marriage into an institution based on the celebration of love between two equals and not on child raising and property. Same-gender marriage presents an opportunity for heteros to also rethink their marriages, most of which fail, and therefore same-gender marriage could benefit all of society.

The second reason for my ‘Yes’ vote is that as same-gender-attracted people we have fought and won many battles and now that we have started this one, we can’t afford for the sake of younger gays like the boy in the picture, to lose it. Even if I still think it is strategically risky and it might have been a better idea to win this debate in factory lunchrooms and by the water bubbler of city offices before asking the public for a decision. The fact of homosexuals having to ask the heteros for their approval also doesn’t sit comfortably with me. Anyway – blessings to all and vote with your heart.