An appeal to my fellow conservatives: please stop congratulating that chap who has his boot on your neck. Even Tony Abbott did it, telling Parliament on 7th December, “I congratulate the Yes campaign for its victory”, as if the debate about same-sex marriage was a cricket match, not a profound struggle for our families and freedoms.
The Yes campaign shows no such magnanimity. Bill Shorten famously called No voters “haters crawling out from under rocks” while Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews urged a rainbow crowd to “get mad and get even”. On the last day of debate, leaders of the Yes campaign in the gallery applauded a reference to “the erosion of religious liberty”, which they regard as a license to hate.
This No voter has felt that boot on the neck: vandalism at work, multiple threats of violence, a vexatious case before the Anti-Discrimination Commission, a ban on my book by a major printer, and on it goes. Others have fared much worse, and the harassing of dissenters will only escalate under the new regime. As libertarian leftie Brendan O’Neill said, “Coercion is built into gay marriage”.
For gentle gay couples who need social affirmation, a law for same-sex marriage will bring comfort. But for serious LGBTQ activists, this debate has never been about marriage—which they despise—but about power: capturing the legal high ground from where their full coercive agenda can be implemented. This ranges from imposing radical gender theory on our kids to passing laws that let cross-dressing males use girls’ bathrooms; from bankrupting bakers who don’t want to write a gay marriage slogan on a cake to prosecuting pastors for teaching Christian doctrine on marriage and sexuality; from removing mother and father from birth certificates to changing “husband and wife” into “partner 1 & 2”, as we have seen overseas. Such is the seamless garment of the genderless revolution.
It’s not as if the revolutionaries have been coy about their plans. Michelangelo Signorile urged the LGBTQ community “to fight for same-sex marriage and its benefits and then, once granted, redefine the institution of marriage completely, because the most subversive action lesbians and gay men can undertake… is to transform the notion of ‘family’ entirely.” Lesbian social historian E.J. Graff agreed that “Same-sex marriage is a breathtakingly subversive idea”. Masha Gessen told the Sydney Writer’s Festival in 2012, “Fighting for gay marriage generally involves lying about what we are going to do with marriage when we get there”, and her preference was to abolish marriage entirely. Feminists like Ellen Willis celebrate this subversion of patriarchal power: “Conferring the legitimacy of marriage on homosexual relations will introduce an implicit revolt against the institution into its very heart.”
Subversion, lying, an implicit revolt… These are the words of culture warriors intent on deconstructing a despised hetero-normative institution and—to quote lesbian lawyer Paula Ettelbrick—“radically reordering society’s view of reality”.
Oblivious to the radicals, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull assured Parliament that same-sex marriage is a conservative cause that will bring “more marriages, more commitment, more love”.
Tell that to veteran gay activist Denis Altman. On the same Sydney Writers’ panel as Masha Gessen, he reminds us, “One of the things about gay male culture is that it is not a monogamous culture”. Q&A panellist Dan Savage agrees, as a gay man, that gay marriage can only be “monogamish”. So much for “more commitment”.
As to “more love”, how is that calculated? Marriage of two men institutes motherless homes; it destroys the primal love between mother and baby. Marriage of two women abolishes the love between father and child. How does that add up to “more love”? As a child of lesbian parents, Heather Barwick writes, “Same-sex marriage and parenting withholds either a mother or father from a child while telling him or her that it doesn’t matter. That it’s all the same. But it’s not. A lot of us, a lot of your kids, are hurting.” Another, Katy Faust, writes, “We are just the tip of the iceberg of children currently being raised in gay households. When they come of age, many will wonder why the separation from one parent who desperately mattered to them was celebrated as a ‘triumph of civil rights’.”
Even Mr Turnbull’s expectation of “more marriages” withers before the data: one hundred scholars of marriage and family testified to the US Supreme Court in 2015 that, in several US states and overseas jurisdictions, “after the adoption of same-sex marriage the opposite-sex marriage
rate declined by at least five per cent”. This abrupt decline was in addition to any existing downward trend—and it makes good sense. Why would a young man and woman bother marrying at all when their relationship is now no different in the eyes of law and culture to the two blokes and their cocker spaniel in the unit upstairs?
So our Prime Minister’s vacuous three-point slogan is dead wrong: his gay marriage victory will help subvert mono-gamy, devalue natural marriage and deprive future children of a parent’s love. What is there to congratulate?
Yes, his side has won and same-sex marriage is now legal, but it remains forever untrue and unjust, corrupting and coercive. Untrue to nature, which alone defines the male-female essence of marriage; unjust to future children who will be deprived, by law, of their mother or their father. Corrupting of our children’s minds through the imposition of disturbing and indecent LGBTQ sex education and gender ideology. Coercive of any who dissent from the new gay orthodoxy, harassed into silence by anti-discrimination law.
A lie has been legislated, an injustice institutionalised. A new power has been given to radicals to determine what our kids are taught at school and what conscientious objectors may say in public. This is the new battle-line. LGBTQ advocates now have same-sex marriage in law, but they must not have the minds of our children or the voices of our pastors.
So cut the congratulations and pass the ammunition.
Dr David van Gend is President of the Australian Marriage Forum and author of Stealing from a Child: The Injustice of “Marriage Equality” (Connor Court Publishing). This article first appeared in The Spectator Australia.