Mass-debating same-sex marriage.

What a political wank this Australian discussion on the issue of same-sex marriage, otherwise known as marriage equality, is turning into. The Labor Party appears to be in favour of it, but, having formerly advocated putting it to a plebiscite of the Australian people, now opposes a plebiscite because the Liberal-Nationals Coalition wants one.

And clearly the Lib-Nats wants to fob the decision off to the plebs to avoid an embarrassing divorce between its left or small-‘l’ liberal faction and its faux-liberal right or rather wrong wing.

So, while the Coalition may rule, confusion reigns. Especially since the double-dissolution election that Prime Minister Turnbull rashly called to shaft a troublesome Senate has rendered him even more electorally impotent than before.

Confusion reigns in my mind too, I have to confess. Not about whether I personally approve of same-sex marriage, of course. Like anybody else in his or her right mind, I believe that people of all sexual persuasions should be legally free to marry – or not marry – whoever they please.

And that preventing them from doing so, whether by legislative fiat or weight of public opinion, on whatever pretext, from defence of alleged ‘family values’ or fear of giving offence to so-called ‘religious’ or other sensibilities, is a vicious example of what the great liberal J.S. Mill decried in On Liberty as ‘tyranny of the majority.’

It also seems pretty clear to me that the majority of Australians, for a variety of reasons, have no desire to tyranise their fellow citizens in matters of sex and marriage.

But I’ll bet most of them are as confused as I am about why this of all issues should be singled-out for putting to a plebiscite.

There don’t appear to be any proposals for plebiscites on any other pressing matters that we have elected parliamentarians to decide on our behalf, like the budget, for example, or whether the renewable-energy industry should continue to be starved of funds as long as the Coalition has the word ‘coal’ in its name.

So why a plebiscite on, of all burning issues, same-sex marriage? And while we’re on the topic of confusion, what the hell is a plebiscite, actually? The same as a referendum, only different, or what?

Whatever. The point here being that, as far as I and a good many other Australians are concerned, the mass-debate about marriage equality has been going on far too long. And before we all go blind or grow hair on the palms of our hands, federal parliament should put an end to it in a single legislative stroke.

 

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