They could appear to themselves every day… the rest of us wouldn’t have to watch

It’s a lonely political life being a sane and intelligent conservative. For most people, the last sentence was akin to ‘It’s a lonely geometric life being a square circle’. Conservatives (like me) have only ourselves to blame.

The gay marriage debate has erupted again in Australia.  It seems to be the case that all homophobes are conservative but, fortunately, not all conservatives are homophobic.

I can sort of understand why marriage is on the statutes but I certainly don’t think it should be there.  While that’s a great one-liner, there needs to be an alternative: I can’t think of one.  Do we turn all marriages into civil unions?  Isn’t that just importing the old (religious? cultural?) system into the secular future?  In the short term, at least, we’re stuck with marriage being a legal construction.

For conservatives — like me — the question ought to be: ‘Which values are we trying to protect?’

It’s only been since 2004 that marriage has been a union between a man and a woman to the exclusion of everybody else.  Before that, the homophobes had just assumed the position.

The legislative change was eerily reminiscent of changes proposed only decades earlier to deny people of different ethnicities the right to marry.  Had those laws been successful, marriage would have been between two people of the same ethnicity to the exclusion of everybody else.

I don’t think it’s in our interests to conserve the nastiness of the past.  In one respect, the homophobes are correct.  This isn’t about love.  A heterosexual couple can passionately hate each other and still get married.  Hell, with arranged marriages still being legal, a heterosexual couple barely have to know each other before they can get married.  It’s harder to get a spouse visa than it is to get married.

But the very nastiest comment in the whole debate is the: ‘I don’t care about this issue and neither do the people of Gippsland.  Therefore, we should stop talking about it.’

If it doesn’t matter to you, why prevent corrections in favour of people who do care?

We can wait for the elderly generation of conservatives to die off, or we can conserve the values that are important to us.  Either way, it seems like a complete waste of effort to fight same-sex marriage so bitterly and spitefully.

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