Advance Australia…Where?

If there’s one new TV show this year I’ve loved, it’s The Newsroom.

Being a fan of Aaron Sorkin’s previous work on The West Wing and The Social Network, I’ve really enjoyed his take on a cable news network helmed by arguably the more intelligent of the Dumb and Dumber pair as he plows his way through the Tea Party, Christian fundamentalists and gossip magazine columnists. The raw, take-no-prisoners attitude of main character Will McAvoy is a refreshing change from the gentle, eggshell-tiptoeing personas of a lot of real-life American news personalities I’ve seen over the years.

There’s one episode where he goes after Rick Santorum’s comments that link homosexuality to bestiality and incest. The thrust of his argument is that the desire for same-sex marriage and the conduct of homosexual acts should not be precluded by the need to preserve tradition or the ill-conceived notion that homosexuals in some way negatively impact the quality of life for the larger group of heterosexuals. McAvoy, in a few minutes of aggressive newscasting, breaks down and disproves the argument that homosexuals are harmful to our way of life, harmful to heterosexuals, and harmful to society in general.

Why the hell hasn’t anyone else taken that stand?

Ok, that’s probably a bit unfair – saying there’s no journalists out there willing to take a stab at advocating same-sex marriage would be like saying there are no vegetarians out there who’ve never eaten meat in their lives. But on the whole, it’s a view widely-held – at least, according to most forms of news media – that being gay, having gay marriage and propagating gay lifestyle choices is something that our society, flourishing with all the competent leadership and upstanding moral fibre we have these days, should fear.

At time of writing, Australian Senator Cory Bernardi has resigned for comments he made this week that insinuate the legalisation of gay marriage could one day lead to legalising bestiality and polygamy. I’ve seen the raw clip of audio and video taken from the Senate that shows him, unequivocally, linking same-sex marriage to the desire to copulate with an animal. This comes on the heels of a same-sex marriage bill being overwhelmingly nailed to the wall and defeated in the House of Representatives by a majority of 42-98.

Enough. Seriously, enough.

The issue of same-sex marriage isn’t new, isn’t unplumbed, and hasn’t been not covered by every major news organisation at some point in the last few years, so it’s likely I’m just treading over old ground right now. But seriously, enough is enough. There is nothing wrong with same-sex marriage. There is nothing wrong with those who prefer a homosexual lifestyle. There is absolutely nothing goddamn wrong with the desire to marry the person you love, whether they’re gay or straight.

In the aforementioned Newsroom episode, one of the questions Will McAvoy asks his interviewee, a gay black man who works for Rick Santorum, how it is that his being gay has affected Santorum’s lifestyle or his marriage to Mrs Santorum. I want to ask that question again now – HOW is it that gay marriage is an affront to God, or affecting all your lifestyles in any way? Why is it such a problem for two men or two women to love each other and want to express that love in a method that has been practiced for heterosexual partners since time immemorial? What is it about same-sex relationships and same-sex marriage that really riles you all so much that you feel the need to lambast, negate and halt its prevalency in a day and age where, I’d like to think, we’re more socially-conscious and intelligent than we ever have before?

Is it tradition? Is it the desire to stick to the tenets of the Bible – no matter how warped or skewed you might wish to make them – for no better reason than because it’s been one of the guiding pieces of humanist literature since the invention of the written word? Is it because some of you genuinely believe you’ll go to Hell if you embrace people who have different tastes, different desires and express different views to what you hold dear?

I’m fairly certain I’ve covered homosexuality at some point over the last couple of years on this blog, but let me reiterate and make my position ironclad – there is nothing wrong with same-sex marriage. There is nothing about it that really, honestly affects your lifestyle. Homosexuals are not religious fundamentalists, trying to convert you to their way of thinking or slamming their dogmatic diatribes down your throat with a steam shovel. They’re not terrorists, threatening your every existence because you don’t believe in what they do. They’re not the vast majority of politicians, who do nothing but brainwash the citizens of their countires and instill policies and world views upon you for no better reasons than fiscal gain, personal interest or self-serving desire.

They’re people. Ordinary, normal, loving people like you and I. There is nothing evil, or heretical, or unnatural, or undesirable about them. They have the same dreams and hopes you do, the same desires to see good in this world, and the fact they love members of their gender doesn’t change any of that. It doesn’t make them aliens, or heathens, or outcasts. It just makes them different.

I’ll ask once more – what is it about gay marriage that threatens you, specifically? What is it about the notion of a man marrying another man that gives you this persistent, outdated notion of needing to block the progression of homosexuality in contemporary society?

Personally, I’d like to think most of these squalid, undesirable social maladjusts who try to step of the homosexual community’s toes whenever they can are of a similar mindset to the bullies I had in school. They’re the big, tough, muscled kids with all the power while they’re the nerdy kids that get picked on for no better reason than “because they’re different to me”. It’s particularly disgusting for Australian politicians to take this view, since we’re a country that likes to pride itself on its cultural diversity and our willingness to open our arms to all who want to partake of our nation’s bountiful shores (asylum seekers and instant-detention boat people notwithstanding).

Our national anthem has a lyric in its second verse about “for those who’ve come across the seas, we’ve boundless plains to share”. Perhaps we should add a caveat to that lyric – “we’ve boundless plains to share, as long as you don’t marry your own gender”. Might not be melodically sound, but if we’re fine changing “Baa Baa Black Sheep” to show we’re not racially insensitive, should we not cave and proclaim we are a nation of homophobes? I mean, as long as these traditionalist, bandwagon politicians are in charge and representing us, isn’t that what we look like to the world?

/soapbox

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