Friday, November 3, 2017

Meanwhile, Down Under

Australia is one of the last of the major Western nations to grapple with marriage equality. After endless to-ing and fro-ing, they settled on have a non-binding postal referendum, asking the people yes or no. Only then will Parliament bring marriage equality up for discussion.

As you might imagine, there has been a lot of the usual stuff, with conservative religious figures barking for a "No" vote and a diverse and apparent majority going for "Yes". This isn't going to be as tear-jerking as the Irish referendum, but the pundits are predicting "Yes" will win.

But as with Prop 8 here in California, there has been a substantial amount of abuse from those of faith, including a A$1 million donation from the conservative Anglican Diocese of Sydney.  More on the fight  detailed here:
Sin and damnation have figured little in the arguments of the last months. The deliberate strategy of the no campaigners has been to muffle their profound hostility to the LGBTQI whose lives are in question here.

It’s only a gambit. Nothing has changed. In the eyes of these warriors, my lot are still bound for hell. They just don’t want to say so right now.
Fortunately, they don't seem to be winning.
The polls in Australia are unequivocal: Christians strongly support equal marriage.

But in August, Shelton brought a dozen faiths and factions of faiths together in the Coalition for Marriage to fight reform. They were an odd bunch from very different traditions with not much in common but this: a deep commitment to the old hatred of homosexuality.

It’s always been a great ecumenical cause.
The real question is, of course, what role to these rump Christian conservatives see for faithful LGBT people?  Considering the Anglicans, the author submits
Forget marriage. Sydney Anglicans are talking no sex for life. “For many, this is a struggle and a frustration. It is one of the many painful consequences of living in a broken and fallen world … ”

Is that bigotry, hatred or simply cruel?

It’s certainly the most fundamental argument of the clerical opponents of equal marriage. All of them come to the same point: no sex ever for gays and lesbians. In a truthful contest that demand should have been a prime focus of debate.
As for the Roman Catholics, the author ponders,
Catholics are directed to accept homosexuals “with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.” 
So what just discrimination does the church wants to exercise? We asked the archbishop for a brief list. Again we were disappointed. No reply. Surely they have a list somewhere? It seems Australians will be told what freedoms the rest of us are expected to give up for the church only when the votes have been counted.
The referendum concludes on Nov 7. Let us hope for a resounding "YES!"

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