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Aug 24 2011

A gay Australian poll

I don’t even understand why this is a matter for debate, but yes, Australians are also wrestling with the idea of legalizing gay marriage. It shouldn’t be an issue, but there it is. One thing particularly notable, though: a Catholic(!) MP spoke out clearly in favor of gay marriage.

But Catholic Labor MP Graham Perrett said he supported a change to recognise gay marriage because it would protect young gay people from abuse.

Mr Perrett, who has two gay brothers, said if the Marriage Act was to be changed over night he would not notice a change.

He said his Catholic faith was a “private matter” and he had no qualms about speaking out in support of gay marriage.

So many things said exactly right — he’s my favorite kind of Catholic.

There’s a poll. It’s mostly going the right way, but you can play with it if you’d like.

Do you support gay marriage?

Yes 68.09%
No 31.91%

60 comments

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  1. 1
    jjgdenisrobert

    The site is Murdoch-blocked… (I filter everything from Murdoch-owned properties).

  2. 2
    Thomathy, Such A 'Mo

    It’s not incidental that this (Catholic) MP has two gay brothers. It’s always interesting to find that once a gay person is humanised, people close to that person tend to become much more accepting and much more interested in the well-being and equality of gays.

    I can’t wait for Australia to properly join the precious few countries that have equalised marriage.

  3. 3
    Sastra

    “He said his Catholic faith was a “private matter” and he had no qualms about speaking out in support of gay marriage.”
    So many things said exactly right — he’s my favorite kind of Catholic.

    Well … yes and no. Sure, the outcome of compartmentalizing contradictory beliefs is, in this case, a good one. If you’re going to believe stupid things then considering them a “private matter” is probably not only easier on others, but easier on yourself, too. You’re going to be consonant with reality.

    But there’s something so intellectually dishonest and even devious about the whole process of ‘compartmentalization’ that I have to hold back on the kudos a bit. When the method is wrong, it matters. I’d rather people drag their superstitions and prejudices out into the light of the public square to be examined and debated than pin my hopes on people being able to maintain that dicey little balance between believing something as cosmically true, but not true enough for public consumption.

  4. 4
    Gyeong Hwa

    This shows that the Vatican is really out of touch with most Catholics.

  5. 5
    PZ Myers

    Yeah, I should have qualified that.

    My favorite kind of Catholic is the ex-Catholic.

    My second favorite kind is the one who keeps his crazy beliefs out of government and public life.

  6. 6
    Mark

    Until now I would have guessed that the Catholic Church’s target demographic was, you know, Catholics. But maybe it’s just a subset of Catholics. The question is, how small a subset?

  7. 7
    GJames

    No, P.Z., you had it correct the first time. An EX-Catholic is not a Catholic. Leaving the “favorite kind” slot open for the “private belief” sorts.

  8. 8
    Anthony K

    I’d rather people drag their superstitions and prejudices out into the light of the public square to be examined and debated than pin my hopes on people being able to maintain that dicey little balance between believing something as cosmically true, but not true enough for public consumption.

    This works well for minor superstitions and incidental beliefs, but recent events within this community have taught me that such room for ‘debate’ simply provides bigots with public fora in which to repeat their idiocies ad nauseam, and that it’s not so bad if instead they’re forced to crawl back under rocks and die alone in the dark.

    In fact, isn’t the whole point of bills and charters of rights is that, once written, they’re not up for debate, so as to preclude demagogues from convincing the public through oratorical prowess to commit heinous acts?

  9. 9
    Anthony K

    From the article:

    But some MPs who oppose redefining the term marriage have backed civil unions to lessen discrimination faced by same-sex couples.

    Redefine the term marriage? One man, one woman was never the definition of marriage to begin with. Allowing for same-sex couples to marry requires no fucking redefinition, other than a legal one.

    See, this is what comes from letting theists talk at all.

  10. 10
    Rorschach

    This was a mostly embarrassing debate today. As the Herald Sun article mentions :

    GAY marriage has been rejected by the majority of MPs who took part in a special parliamentary debate on the issue.

    This country has a bloody long way to go on this. Especially while our spineless atheist unmarried living with her partner PM is dragging her heels to make any successions to same sex couples.

  11. 11
    Janice in Toronto

    Aww, they’re probably just afraid of stirring up earthquakes…

  12. 12
    niftyatheist, perpetually threadrupt

    Brownian #8 and #9 I totally agree with you!

    This is my very real problem with free speech. In principle, obviously I feel that I vehemently support it – even the speech I disrespect or even despise.

    But then, I look around at the way the most despicable ideologies are becoming mainstream (again!) and gaining/entrenching enormous power through superior control of messaging, and I realise that this is a dangerous problem!

    Yet, curtailment of free speech is, obviously, an even more dangerous problem, especially when I consider who presently holds the power to limit the freedoms of others (and are currently succeeding in limiting rights – including to free speech in some media).

    What I want to know is why oh why can’t liberal thinkers ever seem to do any better than play catch-up with the right-wing strategists? Damn it! Why?

  13. 13
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Aww, they’re probably just afraid of stirring up earthquakes…

    I guess I should be grateful, the way God does this “natural disasters as punishment” business, that earthquake would probably hit Europe.

  14. 14
    myeck waters

    Gyeong Hwa #4;

    No, just the adults.

  15. 15
    Leo Buzalsky

    Well, his Catholic faith may be private, but would the Catholic church make a public display of excommunicating him?

  16. 16
    Devin

    Excommunicated in 5… 4…

  17. 17
    Anthony

    I approve of gay marriage, or as I like to call it, marriage.

    What the hell is Gay Marriage, anyway? When I write this, I am writing, not gay writing. When I drove my car to work yesterday, I didn’t gay drive it. If I were gay and had a partner, I would kiss him, not gay kiss him.

    When are people going to see that when two people decide to get married, it doesn’t f’n matter what gender they are.

  18. 18
    Niblick

    I don’t even understand why this is a matter for debate, but yes, Australians are also wrestling with the idea of legalizing gay marriage. It shouldn’t be an issue, but there it is.

    It’s understandable that people would struggle with the notion that gay marriage is “immoral,” since they inherited a culture which taught that for a couple thousand years. People will struggle with anything that departs from their social norms. But I’d argue that the deeper problem is that people have an underlying belief that it’s OK to enforce their morality on others.

    Consider Pastor Martin “Eat da Poo Poo” Ssempa. His audience obviously had no familiarity with homosexuality or the practices of homosexuals; else they’d have had no need to listen to his introduction to the subject, and they’d have laughed him out of the room for his distorted reporting. These are people who are dubious, not to mention frightened, about homosexuality, and who–based on the reports they got–suppose that it’s awfully disgusting, if not immoral. To the extent they’re misinformed, and equate homosexuality with coprophagy, we can laugh at their ignorance, but they’re nevertheless entitled to their personal opinions.

    The problem is that they imagine it’s OK to forbid things they think are gross, upon pain of imprisonment, fine, etc. Suppose that Ssempa were strictly accurate: suppose that the anus is indeed a-licked “like ice cream”; and suppose that sometimes “the poopoo comes out”; and that “they eat the poopoo.” If all of that were true, it would certainly gross out many of us–but it still wouldn’t change the fact that we have no business forcing people to do or not do things based on our opinions. Don’t like it? Don’t eat da poo poo. Ssempa was counting on everyone’s unspoken assumption that it’s our business to forcibly prevent people doing things that in no way harm us, but that we find disagreeable.

    If we relinquish this belief that it’s OK to control others by force, then things like gay marriage, women’s rights, etc., fall out for free. On the other hand advocates of gay marriage, women’s rights, etc., often themselves subscribe to the belief that it’s OK to control others by force, in which case they’ve already granted the bigots’ core premise. They disagree only on who should do the controlling.

  19. 19
    'Tis Himself

    Anthony #17

    When are people going to see that when two people decide to get married, it doesn’t f’n matter what gender they are.

    You’re looking at it from a reasonable, mature point of view. You’ve got to look at it from the “gays is icky” and “gawd hates gays” and “it’ll make me divorce my wife and marry a man” point of view. You know, the idiotic, hating, fearful angle. :-þ

  20. 20
    Anthony

    You’re looking at it from a reasonable, mature point of view. You’ve got to look at it from the “gays is icky” and “gawd hates gays” and “it’ll make me divorce my wife and marry a man” point of view. You know, the idiotic, hating, fearful angle. :-þ

    I don’t want to look at it that way. Pass, thanks.

  21. 21
    Anthony K

    When I write this, I am writing, not gay writing. When I drove my car to work yesterday, I didn’t gay drive it. If I were gay and had a partner, I would kiss him, not gay kiss him.

    But all those things sound fabulous! Fuck driving. Starting now, I am gonna gay drive* when I’m behind the wheel.

    *I am well aware that in my case, both driving and gay driving are merely shitty driving.

  22. 22
    atheistpolitic

    You know, that’s funny that you mention that this guy is a Catholic because Gov. Cuomo of NY is also a Catholic and he lead the same-sex marriage train to victory.

  23. 23
    madknitter

    @Anthony, #17:
    This is why I use the terms “marriage equality” or “marriage”.
    I’m not engaged in gay-commenting right now.

    I’m old enough to remember that the “gay agenda” once had the goal of dismantling the hetero-patriarchal normative political and social structures.

    And yes, we used to talk like that.
    ;-)

  24. 24
    NitricAcid

    When I read “A gay Australian poll”, in my head, I hear it being sung in the Flintstones’ theme song, where it used to say, “You’ll have a gay old time…”

  25. 25
    Zinc Avenger

    Effective immediately, I, as a man who happens to conform to currently conventional heterosexual orientation, shall henceforth gay drive to show solidarity with gay people everywhere. Watch me as I pass by… in the fabulous lane.

  26. 26
    Thomathy, Such A 'Mo

    I often instruct people to head gayly forward, rather than straight in my directions. I have a firm belief that everyone should comport themselves in a civilised manner. To do so involves moving in the appropriate direction.

    Countries that have not equalised marriage could learn something valuable here, I think.

  27. 27
    Shamelessly Atheist

    Up here in the Great White North, gay marriage was legalized under a Catholic Prime Minister while under the threat of the damnation of his eternal soul (evidence missing) by one Bishop Fred F*%!ing Henry.

  28. 28
    otrame

    Zinc Avenger gets a fabulous internet cookie for #25.

  29. 29
    Stonyground

    The positive side is that these days those who oppose gay marriage do have to try to come up with actual reasons why they think that it is a bad idea. Not so long ago the fact that God disapproved would have settled the matter. It shows how far we have progressed when God’s disapproval only invites derisive laughter, that and the fact that the Bible is pretty big on polygamy. When it comes to these actual reasons, they can’t actually come up with any, not only that, in the places where gay marriage has been legalised, non of their dire predictions have come true.

  30. 30
    Smarshall

    What they hate is that gay relationships are just pure sex with no risk of pregnancy. Sex is meant to produce babies; sex without that possibly is pure decadence. They see marriage is just to produce babies so gay partners are forbidden. Love is purely secondary to marriage; not its sole justification.

  31. 31
    Anthony K

    What they hate is that gay relationships are just pure sex with no risk of pregnancy.

    Considering the by-now-almost-expected hypocrisy among the anti-marriage equality proponents—the male ones, at least—it seems that what they hate about gay relationships is that out homosexuals have them openly.

    I doubt child-bearing or any of the other arguments they publicly make actually come into it for them.

  32. 32
    djfav

    Okay, everybody stop right now! Hijacking polls is wrong, and quite possibly maybe even perhaps illegal.

  33. 33
    Francisco Bacopa

    I am so going to totally try gay driving tomorrow. Any tips? What should I know about? Can I gay commute by bus too? I don’t know too much about this kind of thing.

  34. 34
    'Tis Himself

    Hijacking polls is wrong, and quite possibly maybe even perhaps illegal.

    Your concern is noted.

  35. 35
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    *stops suddenly and looks around in fear*
    *nudges the poll further behind the couch*

    What poll?

  36. 36
    Anthony K

    I am so going to totally try gay driving tomorrow. Any tips? What should I know about? Can I gay commute by bus too? I don’t know too much about this kind of thing.

    If it’s anything like gay sitting, which I happen to be doing this very momen—oops, fell back to traditional sitt—now I’m gay sitting agai—fuck, lost it—there we go!—it’s a snap, once you get used to it.

  37. 37
    'smee

    re: gay sitting, gay driving, gay eating, and so on…

    it’s all in the articulation of the hips, darling. (or is that lips…)

  38. 38
    Anthony K

    re: gay sitting, gay driving, gay eating, and so on…
    it’s all in the articulation of the hips, darling. (or is that lips…)

    Really? My experience is that—and forgive me for gay sharing a gaynecdote, but I don’t have actual gayta —it’s really no different at all from non-gay sitting, non-gay driving, non-gay eating…

    Other than driving fundies and their impotent and imaginary god crazy, that is.

  39. 39
    Mr. Fire

    That gay parking quote in poster form.

  40. 40
    Timberwoof

    djfav, saying that hijacking polls is wrong, and quite possibly maybe even perhaps illegal, is wrong, and quite possibly maybe even perhaps illegal. Lucky for you, I had already gay-finished my coffee, else I’d have gay-spewed a gay mouthful of it on my gay MacBook Pro*.

    Let me draw you a picture. Online polls are silly. There is no way to verify that their results represent the constituency you thought. Their only purpose is to give readers the illusion that their opinions matter, and in some cases, to try to validate those opinions in the face of outnumbering contrary opinion.

    If hijacking polls is wrong, and quite possibly maybe even perhaps illegal, then closing, resetting, or rewording polls is also wrong, and quite possibly maybe even perhaps illegal. We’ve seen that happen a few times once the publishers became aware that their little poll was being hijacked.

    We’ve also had polls get hijacked the other way once in a while. We’re not clutching-at-perls upset when this happens, for simply illustrates the thesis. Online polls are silly and deserve to get hijacked.

    * I don’t know if it’s actually gay, but it’s really quite elegant and looks really good when illuminated with track lighting. And I happen to know that some gay people worked on it. You know what they say about such things.

  41. 41
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    Okay, everybody stop right now! Hijacking polls is wrong, and quite possibly maybe even perhaps illegal.

    Every-time you hijack a poll, Quetzlcoatl strangles a Collared Peccary

  42. 42
    Geoffrey Brent

    Thomathy: “It’s not incidental that this (Catholic) MP has two gay brothers. It’s always interesting to find that once a gay person is humanised, people close to that person tend to become much more accepting and much more interested in the well-being and equality of gays.”

    Unfortunately it doesn’t always work that way. One of the most virulently anti-gay MPs in Australia (Bob Katter) has a gay half-brother who recently came out on national TV.

    (Funnily enough, Katter is currently in a Tea Party-style alliance with a well-known public figure who is generally assumed to be gay. But it’s never quite been confirmed, so said person’s fanbase manage to stay in denial.)

  43. 43
    sandiseattle

    FYI
    Yes 71.61% (8969 votes)
    No 28.39% (3556 votes)

    Total votes: 12525

  44. 44
    Alethea Kuiper-Belt

    @Timberwoof, I have given up clutching at perls. These days I mostly clutch at the SAS, and I have hopes that I may one day be able to clutch at pythons again.

    I’m not surprised at the vote so far. The many FB dodgy polls going by tend to run at 90-95% pro, but that’s a younger and urban generation. Even there the country lads can be very disappointing. Sad example: http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2011/08/24/3300695.htm

  45. 45
    dartigen

    This was a debate when I was a kid. I’m now an adult, and it’s still a debate. I’m starting to wish that it would just be settled already.

    With that being said some parties do have a policy of booting out any members who cross the floor on a conscience vote…which immediately undermines the entire concept of the conscience vote. If this was put to a conscience vote (as it ought to be) most will vote with the party rather than lose their jobs, which is probably why they keep voting no even though majority public opinion is in either the ‘for’ or ‘don’t give a fuck’ camps.

    Or maybe they just don’t get the concept of democracy, that is to say ‘we elected you to represent our opinions and if you don’t we’ll vote you out’. Sometimes I think politicians need a reminder of exactly how they got into office.

  46. 46
    Alethea Kuiper-Belt

    dartigen, perhaps it will hearten you to realise that it wasn’t a debate at all when I was a kid. Back then, it was utterly verboten to so much as mention the existence of gays or lesbians. When I was a teen, the debate was whether to *decriminalise* homosexual acts. Marriage wasn’t even thought of! The first Sydney Mardi Gras – a protest march, not a pride parade – was in 1978.

    So we are moving. Not as fast as you’d like, but still it’s a huge change over a few decades.

  47. 47
    F

    Hi Niblick #18

    On the other hand advocates of gay marriage, women’s rights, etc., often themselves subscribe to the belief that it’s OK to control others by force, in which case they’ve already granted the bigots’ core premise. They disagree only on who should do the controlling.

    Could you expand that bit a little? I know there is always some authoritarian types in any crowd, but you said often.

  48. 48
    Mrs Tilton the Gay-Commenting Gay Heterosexual

    This gives me the perfect opportunity to quote Scalzi, which I love doing at every opportunity because he says it so much better than I could:

    I support gay marriage because I support marriage. I support gay marriage because I support equal rights under the law. I support gay marriage because I want to deny those who would wall off people I know and love as second-class citizens. I support gay marriage because I like for people to be happy, and happy with each other. I support gay marriage because I love to go to weddings, and this means more of them. I support gay marriage because my marriage is strengthened rather than lessened by it — in the knowledge that marriage is given to all those who ask for its blessings and obligations, large and small, until death do they part. I support gay marriage because I should. I support gay marriage because I am married.

    Gay-read the whole gay thing, of course.

  49. 49
    Qwerty

    PZ says:
    “Yeah, I should have qualified that.

    My favorite kind of Catholic is the ex-Catholic.”

    My sister, now an evangelical christian who believes the earth is 6,000 years old, is an ex-Catholic.

    My brother, now a Baptist who has been a member of the John Birch Society, is an ex-Catholic.

    Some, sad to say, ex-catholics trade their nutty beliefs for even nuttier beliefs.

  50. 50
    Nick

    Poll after poll shows that the majority of Australians support (gay) marriage equality. In fact, a lot more people support (gay) marriage equality than voted for the present government. The government continues to spout the fact that they have a mandate from the people to govern. How then is the mandate of 51% of the public enough to legitimise a government, and yet support for an issue that has been at over 70% for several years now not enough to get the government to act. More people support (gay) marriage equality than do the carbon tax. (Gay) marriage equality will have zero economic impact on anyone, except florists, caterers and gift shops. It wont disadvantage a single person. It will increase the happiness of not only the GLBT community, but all those others in the community who will be able to celebrate and share in the social ritual of marriage. That this government, and this Prime Minister, can continue to deny every Australian the right to marry, is a matter for which they should be deeply ashamed.

  51. 51
    Qwerty

    Mrs. T – Nice to see you commenting again. For a heterosexual, you seem to be a very gay person.

    (I am always amused when a homophobe talks about how we ruined the word “gay.”)

  52. 52
    Tigger_the_Wing, Back home =^_^=

    Qwerty,

    (I am always amused when a homophobe talks about how we ruined the word “gay.”)

    I’m in solidarity with you; from now on, instead of ‘happy’ or ‘happily’ I will use the words ‘gay’ and ‘gaily’.

    As in:

    “Are you married?”

    “Yes, I have been gaily married for 31 years.”

    Or:

    “Is your marriage a happy one?”

    “Yes, I have a very gay marriage, thank you!” =^_^=

  53. 53
    DanDare

    Poll alert!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    The NO vote is winning

    Poll alert!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Do you support gay marriage?

    Yes 49.64% (10105 votes)
    No 50.36% (10253 votes)

    Total votes: 20358

  54. 54
    DanDare

    You can remove the cookies and refresh the page in order to re-vote.

  55. 55
    'Tis Himself

    Cath the Canberra Cook #44

    These days I mostly clutch at the SAS

    You clutch at commandos?

  56. 56
    Tigger_the_Wing, Back home =^_^=

    Two ‘no’ votes for every ‘yes’ vote going in at the moment. :-(

  57. 57
    DanDare

    Got revoting down to one in every 6 seconds. Block cookies for the site. Refresh. click yes. vote. back to refresh.

    Some bad guys must be doing the same thing. Need more help.

  58. 58
    Belfast Atheist

    I just voted and was surprised to see that the ‘No’ vote is winning. How disappointing.

  59. 59
    Robert Day

    Dear Tentacular Horde,

    Where are we all?

    I voted last night, and predicted that as the US day dawned more Pharyngulites would vote down the increasing No vote.

    I just voted this morninh (within an order of magnitude of once) and current standing is

    Yes 41.87% (10460 votes)
    No 58.13% (14520 votes)

    Total votes: 24980

    The No side has piled on about 4000 votes to our 300 odd.
    I suspect the fundagelicals have awoken.

    Of course I know these things don’t matter, but it would be nice to pull it our way a bit further…

  60. 60
    here

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