Malcolm Turnbull gave a speech on equal marriage and how perhaps Australia should have civil unions first as several other countries have, in order to demonstrate that the sky won’t fall in if same-sex relationships are recognised. I’m not going to engage in this debate here other than to say I support marriage equality now.
The Age wrote about this today, and for some reason quoted Lyle Sheldon from the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL), I have no idea why:
The Australian Christian Lobby, which is campaigning against the gay marriage legislation, is warning the Labor Party it risks the creation of a US style religious right if it continues to push for a change to the definition of marriage.
“At the moment both sides [of politics] have policies that appeal to Christians but this issue is damaging Labor,” the lobbby’s chief of staff, Lyle Shelton, said.
Mr Shelton said the rise of the religious right in America had been “polarising politics horribly” and “we don’t need that in Australia at all”.
Now, how I look at this collection of statements is as follows, the Australian Labour Party (ALP), for the most part, supports marriage equality. The ACL warn that if the ALP continues to support marriage equality and not the ACL’s favourite form of bigotry, then there is the potential for the (small) religious right to get political and active in Australia, the way that the religious right is active in the US. The ACL are suggesting that if the ALP continues to support (for the most part) marriage equality, then Australian Christians (and by this suggestion they think most of them although this is not the case) will abandon the ALP and will form their own political party. The ACL go on to suggest that this is a bad thing.
Here’s a small hint for the ACL. Australia has been for many years now a far less religious country than the US. To even suggest that the religious right (such as the ACL) could suddenly be more polarising and horrible than they already are is somewhat laughable. It is sad that the ACL has focused so much energy and fear marriage equality when the majority of Australia is on-board with the idea.
As we know the ACL is linked to the religious right in the US and Dominionism. I suspect their “Warning, warning, you will create the religious right in Australia” is far more of a “YAY RELIGIOUS RIGHT”.
If the ACL want to stop “polarising politics horribly” they should just get out of the marriage equality debate and stop spreading fear and bigotry. After all they cannot know the mind of their god, they cannot practice unconditional love while denying rights and recognition to others and there are so many other social justice issues to look at, poverty, war, the continuation of the NT Intervention, etc. So many issues where Christian compassion, unconditional love, and care can be better spent, in my opinion, than continuing to fear a group who just want to be like everyone else.