I’m always on the lookout for an actual argument against marriage equality – it would make me feel better about the fact that, despite no-one apparently being able to offer one, it hasn’t simply happened here yet.
So it was in that spirit that I started reading Brendan O’Neill’s effort in this morning’s Australian. Can Brendan give us an actual logical reason for the Marriage Act to continue discriminating against people on the grounds of gender?
Sadly, no. Not today.
O’Neill actually argues that – get this – the government stopping trying to encourage gay people to marry straight people (which seems cruel to the straight people who marry them, to be honest) is “an invitation to yet more state interference” in our lives.
Yes, there’s less state control of our lives when the government arbitrarily tells us whether we can marry that man or that woman, purely on the grounds of our gender.
It’s the most bizarre black-is-white up-is-down argument I can remember ever seeing.
Brendan goes on to give us some even sillier stereotyping and false assertions (“A gay relationship is fundamentally one of romantic love, far more so than traditional marriage is”), absurd claims (“In Canada… the words husband and wife, even mother and father, have been airbrushed from official life”) and dishonest strawmen (“Collapsing together every human relationship under a mushy and meaningless redefinition of ‘marriage'”), but that backwards freedom-is-slavery line appears to be his main point, and, unlike the above common furphies, a line I’ve never seen before.
Still… I can’t see it being taken up particularly enthusiastically, even by those prepared to deceive with the other lines. It’s just too crazy. If the state stops imposing a fundamentalist interpretation of marriage on all citizens, then it’s imposing not imposing a fundamentalist interpretation of marriage on all citizens? And not being told who’s allowed to marry other people but not us – that is an assault on our freedoms?
Seriously, who would be persuaded by that insane argument? Who is Brendan O’Neill trying to fool? Is there really anyone out there sufficiently gullible to think Brendan’s hit on something that would cause a person to stop supporting equality?
I almost feel bad for newspapers compelled by notions of balance to present both sides of any current debate, even ones where one side really has nothing. Being compelled to publish this sort of mean-spirited pablum must be embarrassing.
PS Here’s a hint that someone’s trying to sell you utter rubbish: they spend the opening paragraphs ascribing ridiculous motivations to their opponents.