Miranda Devine

Oct 16, 2011

Why is everyone so nasty when we demand certain Australians be treated as second-class citizens?

Miranda Devine, in today's Daily Telegraph

Pure Poison IconMiranda Devine, in today’s Daily Telegraph, on those who are mean to supporters of traditional values:

WITH its intolerance and standover tactics, the more militant arm of the women’s lobby is shooting itself in the foot. The vitriol and vile abuse heaped on anyone who speaks up for keeping women out of the professions is no way to win hearts and minds.

Saying anything that is not wholly supportive of the equal-rights-for-women agenda is the new taboo.

No, wait, that’s not what she wrote. That’s obviously something from the 1950s. Hang on, we’ll try that again.

WITH its intolerance and standover tactics, the more militant arm of the indigenous rights lobby is shooting itself in the foot. The vitriol and vile abuse heaped on anyone who speaks up against letting aboriginal people vote is no way to win hearts and minds.

Saying anything that is not wholly supportive of equal rights for indigenous Australians is the new taboo.

No, wait, that’s not it again. Now it appears to be a mix of Miranda and the 1960s. I don’t want to hear anything about interracial relationships or stopping telling Aborigines who they can and can’t marry. Can we please quote her directly this time?

WITH its intolerance and standover tactics, the more militant arm of the gay lobby is shooting itself in the foot. The vitriol and vile abuse heaped on anyone who speaks up for traditional marriage is no way to win hearts and minds.

Saying anything that is not wholly supportive of the gay-rights agenda is the new taboo.

Ah yes, that’s it. I’m not sure why those things got all mixed up together.

Can you please be more tolerant of those who demand that one group of Australians be denied the same rights as everyone else for no logical reason? What is it about demanding the government continue to discriminate against people for no reason other than irrational prejudice that deserves unkind language in response? Why can’t you be nice to people who claim that your long-term committed relationship is a perversion that should be discouraged and akin to child abuse?

Let’s be civil when debating how the government must treat you as a second class citizen. Is that too much to ask?

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127 comments

127 thoughts on “Why is everyone so nasty when we demand certain Australians be treated as second-class citizens?

  1. Sammy Jankis

    Would you have come to a different conclusion if you had not had the good fortune to be born in the later half of the 20th century, or indeed had you been raised in Saudi Arabia today?

    Quite possibly, and guess what, that would not excuse the bigotry. In both cases the excuse is “tradition” and “I was raised that way”, and you refuse to explain why these excuses should preclude one’s opinions of being described as bigoted. If you wish to try and make an argument, then we might have more to discuss. Otherwise, I’ve had enough of your concern trolling. Adios.

  2. Howard,B.

    Sammy

    If you had asked the suffragettes of the early 20th century what they understood the concept of marriage to mean, I daresay you would’ve received the traditional definition. The point I would like to impress upon you, is that you have not come to the more enlightened definition of marriage solely through your own devices: you are a product of your time and environment. And though you have indeed come to the correct conclusion, you have only done so in a time in which the new definition is gaining widespread currency. Would you have come to a different conclusion if you had not had the good fortune to be born in the later half of the 20th century, or indeed had you been raised in Saudi Arabia today?

  3. Sammy Jankis

    If bigotry is the ‘predjuiced and intolerant views of other’, I would hesitate to call someone a bigot just for holding to the traditional view of marriage alone.

    So you are saying that believing that homosexuals should be discriminated against on the grounds that it’s tradition can’t be considered bigotry. Ok – that’s all I wanted you to say.

    “Hey, I’m not bigoted with regards to mixed race couples and marriage! I just hold a traditional view of marriage!”

    “Hey, I’m not bigoted with regards to women voting! I just hold a traditional view of voting!”

    What you seem to be suggesting is that there’s an acceptable form of bigotry. If someone hasn’t thought through the issues, and just wants to play the “It’s always been this way, and that’s my understanding” card, then it’s not fair to identify their position as bigoted. Sorry, but if you can’t come up with a good reason to discriminate against a certain section of the population, no amount of “It’s just what I believe” will make the stance any less bigoted. No doubt opponents of universal suffrage would have insisted they weren’t ‘intolerant’ of women (“Hey, my mother was a woman!”), they just “held to a traditional understanding of voting”. Rubbish.

  4. Howard,B.

    Sammy

    If bigotry is the ‘predjuiced and intolerant views of other’, I would hesitate to call someone a bigot just for holding to the traditional view of marriage alone. This isn’t intolerance to homosexuality per-se. You could say they have a discriminatory understanding of marriage, and you would be correct, but that does not imply they are intolerant of homosexuals full-stop. For this reason I feel the term bigot is too strong and counter-productive to be applied to such people.
    All that needs to be done is to reiterate the facts:
    -Homosexual couples maintain loving long-term relationships.
    -Homosexual couples can raise children.
    This is not to consider genuine homophobes for whom nothing can be done.

  5. Howard,B.

    Catsy, I have no idea what those terms mean, but I assume they’re some sort of term of convenience used by those who don’t like what’s being said and haven’t got the faculties to reply to it.
    If you think I’m trolling, ignore me. If you’ve got something to ‘add’ to the discussion other than limp crys of ‘troll’ then, please feel free to do so.

  6. Catsidhe

    [You certainly won’t change many minds by calling people ‘bigots’ for something they don’t consider bigotry is the point being made, Sammy. Do keep up.]

    So basically, everything you’ve said in this thread can be summarised as Tone Argument, with a large serving of Concern Trolling.

    Please, if you’re going to continue to “add” to the discussion with more of the same, please consider doing everyone a favour, and not.

  7. Sammy Jankis

    But it is bigotry, isn’t it Howard? Or is “that’s what we’ve always believed in these parts” a valid defence of treating people differently for no good reason. Well?

  8. Howard,B.

    Jankis

    You certainly won’t change many minds by calling people ‘bigots’ for something they don’t consider bigotry is the point being made, Sammy. Do keep up.

  9. Sammy Jankis

    It is not a question of ‘demanding’ the ‘taking away’ of rights, it’s a question of agreeing to the ammendment of a long-held definition of a social institution in order to grant a section of the community new rights.

    Is this for real? “Hey, I’m not asking for rights to be taken away, I’m asking that existing rights for some not be granted to others.”

    I guess it wasn’t misogynistic to oppose giving the vote to women. I mean, people weren’t arguing for rights to be taken away from women, they were just trying to make sure they weren’t granted to them in the first place. And why? Well because “it had always been that way”, or “that’s how they were raised”, or “that was their understanding of the right to vote”. You see, it can’t be bigotry if it’s tradition, or if it’s “how you understand things to be”. Can it?

  10. Howard,B.

    It is not a question of ‘demanding’ the ‘taking away’ of rights, it’s a question of agreeing to the ammendment of a long-held definition of a social institution in order to grant a section of the community new rights.

  11. Jeremy Sear

    “Such people are not ‘demanding’ anything, it’s just what they understand marriage to mean if you ask them. I think you diminish what bigotry is when you choose to use the word in this manner.”

    What a cop-out. I will make sure my political leaders know that I oppose change, will answer polling saying that, will vote for politicians who discriminate against gay people on my behalf… but my hands are clean. I’m not personally taking away their rights!

    But in a democracy you are, mate. You are.

  12. Tomus Barava

    I’m just pleased that there appears to be some movement on the issue.

    As someone who supports same sex marriage, I obviously would like to see bi-partisan support from both sides of the political spectrum.

  13. Fran Barlow

    Eponymous said:

    [Fran, I no longer think a conscience vote would be of any value. And would almost certainly fail.]

    On balance I think it more likely to succeed than fail with a conscience vote. Those opposing the concept are going to haver to defend their position, and that will entail repeatedly asserting offensive nonsense on stilts. Few people in public life like the idea of being ridiculed or seen as bigots, especially when people on theior own side are on the other side of the argument.

    I suspect many of the antis will choose abstention as the safer course.

    It’s much easier to hide behind party discipline, so if a conscience vote is not allowed, they can simply invited people to suppose that they had no choice and woirk both sides of the political street.

    I also think that given that the party didn’t run for office on the proposed policy, and indeed declared the opposite, you couldn’t really get reform this side of new elections in which you did run on it. A conscience vote sidestaeps this problem.

    Finally, debate is a good thing. Regardless of the state of the law, the state of the public mind is an indispensible factor in changing public attitudes in areas of policy like this. It is important that a thorough discussion be had — so thorough that people come to say — just get on with it so we can move on. That’s why even a defeat, while a setback in the campaign would nevertheless ensure that when the measure was adopted, as it surely will be in the near term future, the measure would be a product of an unimpeachable consensus.

  14. Howard,B.

    Jeremy

    Such people are not ‘demanding’ anything, it’s just what they understand marriage to mean if you ask them. I think you diminish what bigotry is when you choose to use the word in this manner.

  15. Eponymous

    Fran, I no longer think a conscience vote would be of any value. And would almost certainly fail.

    So, the ALP allows a conscience vote; because they have received a few angry letters most of them vote no on marriage equality. You know who these members are. Then what? You move to their electorate and don’t vote for them? You start a massive campaign against them in their electorates? I do not think we have much recourse in the event that a conscience vote fails.

    My preferred option now is ‘leadership’, which despite my initial misgivings, might actually be happening.

  16. Fran Barlow

    While I’d certainly like the ALP to adopt marriage equality as policy I’d actually prefer a conscience vote on the matter. It’s a useful thing to be able to identify and distinguish those who attitutdes to this matter are out of step with contemporary attitudes.

    It’s also a valuable thing to be able to say that the parliament as a whole approved the matter rather than people trolling the decision as having been “rammed through by party bosses based on political correctness”. If that means that the proposal fails, that’s still the lesser evil because the case can continue to be made against those who voted it down.

  17. confessions

    [About time!]

    A conscience vote would be defeated. The best way to achieve marriage equality is for Labor to adopt it as formal policy, and not to have a conscience vote.

  18. Jeremy Sear

    It’s extraordinary how many words Howard can take to say nothing at all.

    “The standard procedure for ignoring someone is not to reply. You may wish to practice this.”

    Really, Howard? Really? FFS. I note you didn’t actually address the point made, just a childish little snipe that I couldn’t resist asking you a question. That of course you didn’t answer.

    ” You did seem to get it right, though, by ignoring being pinged for making unfounded personal assumptions twice during our little exchange.”

    What, making entirely logical inferences from what you’d written?

    “You are confusing bigotry as in ‘the predjuidiced and intolerant’ view of others with holding a certain idea of a social institution as entrenched by collective history.”

    If you are arbitrarily picking ONE idea and it happens to be a bigoted, prejudiced and intolerant one then… sorry, you’re being bigoted, prejudiced and intolerant.

    “A person who actively hates gay people is a bigot, someone who has no ill-will towards homosexuals but still subscribes to the historical definition of marriage is not a bigot, merely in the thrall of cultural norms which we both realize to be dated.
    So, whilst the former implies the latter, the latter does not imply the former.”

    Yes, it does. They might not be “a bigot” in general, but if they demand government discriminate against gays in law, then they are on that issue.

    “This is why I think it is unhelpful to scream ‘bigot’ at people for simply being in the thrall of their collective cultural definition of what marriage is.”

    Which I didn’t do. But it is a bigoted position to take, regardless.

    “But ask her what she understands the term marriage to mean and you’ll get the answer that it is the union of a man and woman. This does make her immoral or bigoted, simply behind the times.”

    It makes her all three of those things. She may not be in other ways, but on that issue, she is.

  19. Tomus Barava

    About time!

    JULIA Gillard is set for a reversal on gay marriage, with government sources claiming she would announce within weeks a conscience vote on the issue. Government sources said the Prime Minister would state her position ahead of the Labor Party’s national conference in December.

    http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/sydney-nsw/julia-gillards-free-vote-on-gay-marriage/story-e6freuzi-1226172312137

  20. Howard,B.

    Joni

    I never suggested you shouldn’t try and change it, and you have more support in the matter.
    I’m simply saying you can’t call someone an immoral bigot because of their ingrained and otherwise benign cultural norms. My grandmother would happily invite you and your partner in for tea and scones in the full knowledge of your sexuality without hesitation. But ask her what she understands the term marriage to mean and you’ll get the answer that it is the union of a man and woman. This does make her immoral or bigoted, simply behind the times.
    I’m sorry to hear of your predicament, unfortunately it is a problem that is played out many times when people move between jurisdictions that have different definitions of marriage. Whilst it may be of cold comfort to you now, this matter will inevitatably be resolved in the affirmative.

  21. Howard,B.

    Jeremy

    The standard procedure for ignoring someone is not to reply. You may wish to practice this. You did seem to get it right, though, by ignoring being pinged for making unfounded personal assumptions twice during our little exchange.

    You are confusing bigotry as in ‘the predjuidiced and intolerant’ view of others with holding a certain idea of a social institution as entrenched by collective history. A person who actively hates gay people is a bigot, someone who has no ill-will towards homosexuals but still subscribes to the historical definition of marriage is not a bigot, merely in the thrall of cultural norms which we both realize to be dated.
    So, whilst the former implies the latter, the latter does not imply the former. This is why I think it is unhelpful to scream ‘bigot’ at people for simply being in the thrall of their collective cultural definition of what marriage is.

  22. Angra

    Mind you – I do know an Australian girl who married an overseas student for $5,000 so he could get residency, only to sue him for ‘breach of contract’ when he only paid her $2,000.

    It was only a Platonic relationship.

    It backfired somewhat.

  23. joni

    Angra

    We have had to do that before too (prove relationship). But for the German visa it is quite simple. Married = visa.

  24. Angra

    joni – I have just been through this. My wife (legally married to me with all the bells and whistles) had to prove she has a ‘permanent relationship’ with me, as proof of marriage was not regarded as sufficient evidence for Australian Immigration.

    Sex (as in gender) was not the issue, just that they didn’t take marriage certificates issued in ‘foreign’ countries as being sufficient.

    Apparently such things as club memberships, photos of us together, joint tenancy agreements and anecdotal evidence from relatives etc was all OK. But a marriage certificate certified and registered in another country was not.

    Strikes me as a bit strange.

  25. joni

    Howard

    Any response?

  26. Jeremy Sear

    I will ignore Howard’s last comment (as he has ignored all the questions put to him in mine previously) and instead wait for him to justify the discrimination joni describes.

    PS so “axiomatic” that they had to change the Marriage Act in 2004 to shove the “one man and one woman” definition in, Howard? And I look forward to your defence of other ancient bigotries (slavery, racism, ownership of women) on the basis of their “axiomatic” nature.

  27. joni

    Howard B

    I am working in Germany at the moment on a work permit. As I cannot marry my partner in Australia, we are unable to gain a visa for him to live with me in Germany because we are not married. As a result, we have to spend long periods apart on different sides of the planet.

    One of my co-workers is Australian and is wanting to bring his long term partner to Germany (with their children). To do this, they will be getting married – because until they are married they cannot get the visa either.

    Married = visa, unmarried = no visa. A very simple equation.

    And so – one couple can get married and get the visa, the other cannot.

    The reason – discrimination because of our sexuality. Now does that explain why we feel like second class citizens? What do you propose we do? Just sit back and accept it? It’s not the Germany with the problem, it is Australia.

    I also have lost count of the Germans who are amazed that Australia is such a backward country in not allowing same-sex marriage. They thought that we were more progressive (sorry to use the dangerous GetUp word Jeremy 😛 ).

    PS. we cannot get married in Germany as neither of us is German.

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