BY CYNDALL MCINERNEY
I’m sure by now that most people have seen Kevin Rudd’s emotive response to the creepy eyed Pastor on Q and A from Monday night. This Pastor questioned how a “Christian man” could justify defying the teachings of Jesus Christ. Rudd’s response provided this election with its first real taste of an emotive, honest, unscripted response to an issue. It really did feel like, as The Sydney Morning Herald described it, “an episode of West Wing”.
Kevin Rudd suggested that Christians preaching anti-gay passages of the Bible should look to what other teachings they choose to ignore, arguing that the Bible tells us that slavery is some sort of “natural condition”. This highlighted that human kind are guilty of favouring some teachings over others when they affirm our own ideologies or insecurities. Of course, after hearing all this, the Pastor’s expression resembled one of someone trying to perform a visual exorcism (or someone getting into a really intense staring competition).
Kevin Rudd asserts that his support for same sex marriage is based upon the educated research of a “Christian man”. Rodney Croome, the Australian Marriage Equality national director rejoiced, stating that such a proclamation is “unprecedented” from an Australian Prime Minister. However, he goes on to say that the defence of marriage equality was made “more compelling because it was from a Christian perspective.” Let it first be acknowledged that some Christians support gay marriage, and some atheists do not. So perhaps he is merely trying to suggest that religion is the justification for many people against marriage equality. However, this statement seems to equally imply that the issue of same sex marriage is not as compelling from a moral perspective.
There are many explanations as to why the opposition to marriage equality has become so hostile. A New York journalist states that this is simply because “The very idea of same sex marriage makes some people uncomfortable.” Clearly, this debate is more emotionally charged than other issues this campaign. Whether one supports marriage equality or not, it is no doubt a very personal issue.
Despite the fact that 52% of the Australian population supports gay marriage, it appears that Rudd has approached a fueled debate and sprinkled it in gasoline. Which begs the very basic question: What is actually the issue?
1. Legal: Same sex marriage creates a malleable legal definition of marriage.
The separation of church and state is one founded in the Australian Constitution under s 116 (Chapter 5). Under this provision, the federal government cannot enforce any laws upon the Australian people that impose religious observance. The definition of marriage is found under the Marriage Act (1966). Essentially, legal theorists are now concerned that altering a legal institution (that was originally based upon religious ideals) will cause marriage to lose it’s meaning. Thankfully the definition of marriage has never changed (much). Except, in 1870, when amended statutes declared that women were no longer legally the property of their husbands upon marriage. It was only in 1973 that Aboriginals were allowed to marry, and in 1981 it was recognized in NSW that rape within marriage is possible and “legitimate”. Reshaping the law to contextual changes is evidently disastrous.
2. Family: Same sex marriage will damage children.
Fear mongering flyers were sent around the Brisbane River area denouncing Labor candidates. The flyers pictured a Caucasian toddler with tears in her eyes, with the caption reading “I want mum and dad.” According to the pamphlet, if your children are lucky enough to escape the burden of same sex parents, the schools are the next poisonous apple. The text then states that “normalising” same sex couples not only confuses children about their own sexuality, but as to what rights they are entitled to (ie. A mum and a dad). This is despite the fact that parents empowering their children with rights are teaching them to deny other groups their rights. Several recent studies assert that in children raised by homosexual parents, there was no “[developmental] difference…in their intelligence, psychological adjustment, social adjustment, popularity with friends, development of social sex role identity or development of sexual orientation.”
3. Religion: Same sex marriage defies the teachings of Jesus Christ.
In Genesis, Onan of Judah “spilled his seed”, where God proclaimed that wasting semen, whether through self-pleasure, or as a contraceptive, is against the will of the Lord. More specifically, God kills Onan for “pulling out”. (Genesis 38:9)
For those of you who cut your hair around the corner of your head, cut the corners of your beard or get tattoos – sorry, Leviticus states that God believes all these actions are sinful. Maybe you do look so good it should be illegal. (Leviticus19:26-28)
When Australian law amended the definition of marriage to mean that women were no longer the property of men, they must have accidentally glossed over Corinthians 11. In the Bible, God tells man “the head of a woman is with her husband”. 1 Timothy, Chapter 2 states “ Let a woman learn in silence with all submissiveness. I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over men; she is to keep silent.” I need not go on.
This year, the world has seen the UK legalise civil unions and New Zealand legalise gay marriage. Despite aggressive protests in France earlier this year, the French government has legalized same sex marriage. Where sexual equality has become a hot topic internationally in the past decade, the almost pugnacious defense of heterosexual marriage has caused people to question the tangible justification for such anger. Despite however personal an issue this may seem, in the face of research and basic morality, the resolution seems rather simple.
If someone else’s marriage threatens yours, the issue lies within your own marriage.
If someone else’s love is different to yours, it’s really none of your business.