A close look at the arguments against gay marriage

Last week, the Australian parliament took a step backwards by voting 98-42 to uphold the ban on same-sex marriages, despite opinion polls that favor allowing it. (On a more encouraging note, here are photos of a same sex marriage held at a Buddhist monastery in Taiwan. It is not yet legal there, though legislation has been pending since 2003.)

It is interesting that the Australian prime minister is believed to be an atheist, demonstrating that being an atheist does not mean that one can be relied upon to oppose things that are purely religion-based.

The satirical show The Hamster Wheel decides to examine the biblical arguments against same-sex marriage in close detail.


  1. Tim says

    My teenage son reported yesterday that his high school government class recently had a “hot topics” week, with gay marriage being one of the hot topics.

    My son reports that the entire class agreed that gay marriage is a non-issue that keeps us from discussing larger, more important issues.

    … and people say high schoolers are dumb.

  2. Trina says

    I honestly believe, and I’m not alone in this, that some religious group has Gillard by the metaphorical balls. She has a record of being pro gay-issues from university, so her stance on equal marriage is baffling.

    The Catholic Church has a lot of influence on the Labor Right, and since she flouted the Right in introducing the carbon tax, its possible that she traded off support for so called ‘gay marriage’.

  3. Francisco Bacopa says

    Does anyone know whether there is an Australian equivalent of Gerrymandering? This might be part of the explanation.

    Things are a bit worse in the US because the Senate will always over represent rural voters, though I have to say that the Senate is mostly better on social issues than the House. But even in the house, some states are gerrymandered so that rural areas are over represented. In Texas, Lamar Smith’s district is a good example. Why does it it need those two thin branches into Austin and San Antonio? And a couple of the Houston area districts are even worse. One solid liberal district in the NW side was split into two other districts that include huge rural areas, One almost reaches to Austin. Other boundaries were shifted so that the most hardcore liberal area was grouped with a district that votes Dem anyway. This sort of thing happens in many other states as well.

    Maybe Australia has the same problem.

  4. mandrellian says

    It’s worth noting (possibly even crucial) that the conservative Liberal/National Party Coalition (our version of the UK Tories/US Republicans) were forbidden a conscience vote, whereas members of the remaining parties and the independents voted as they chose. This meant that the Coalition essentially voted as a bloc, according all 70 of their votes to the negative. That’s not to say the ayes would have had it even if the Coalition had allowed a conscience vote, but the point is that the Coalition denied their members the democratic right to voice their own opinion – which I think is shameful.

    However, the debate isn’t over: although quashed federally (for now), the question is now open for debate among the various state/territory governments. Tasmania, I think, is the first state to be debating marriage equality and the results will be out soon. Hopefully state conservatives are accorded more respect for their wishes than their federal counterparts.

    This of course raises my usual question: what the hell is the point of opposing marriage equality, especially to the point of enforcing a bloc vote? This is an inevitability, as much as women’s suffrage and the Indigenous vote. Dozens of other nations have marriage equality and no descent into societal chaos and horse-marrying has ensued; we could choose to be among the leading edge of progressive societies if we had something resembling a spine, but even our atheist and allegedly liberal PM is sticking to the “tradition” of heteros-only. Apart from short-term political pandering (especially on the part of PM Gillard, who was installed as party leader by a powerful right-wing faction of the Labor party who may well require certain things of her), I fail to see the payoff. I certainly can’t see how this obstruction of a right that’s ostensibly granted at birth but taken away as soon as one’s orientation becomes apparent is a positive thing for our country. We have far more pressing debates on the schedule.

  5. mandrellian says

    Yep #5, as always we must leave it to the jesters to speak the truth. We certainly can’t leave it to our leaders.

  6. Suido says

    It’s purely a case of being in a political straitjacket. She followed party line in being against gay marriage, then became Prime Minister. Since then, she can’t change her official position without alienating potential voters and giving Abbott ammunition.

    Abbott is known as a politician of conviction, and Gillard has been hammered for switching positions regarding the carbon tax. Any chance for Abbott to portray Gillard as weak/fickle is gold for him. If Turnbull were still leader of the Opposition, or it wasn’t a hung parliament, I think Gillard would have felt safer in changing her official position.

    Unfortunately for her, she’s now held fast on the position for so long that any change of heart will be used as evidence that she was only opposed to gay marriage due to political convenience, so I think her strategists have stuck her with this for the rest of her political life.

  7. Suido says

    Yes, there is gerrymandering in Australia. However it’s not the reason for this.

    This vote failed because the governing party allowed a free vote, while the opposition party enforced a no vote from all their members. In a hung (deadlocked) parliament environment, this ensured that unless every member of parliament not in Opposition voted yes, it was not going to pass.

    Australia is historically a very socially conservative country, and Christian lobby groups have a lot of power, so it’s no surprise that many politicians from both major parties were voting no, even without the enforced no vote from the Opposition.

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