The Conundrum of a Marriage Equality Plebiscite
WE REPUBLISH A SERIES FOR ONGOING DISCUSSION BASED UPON THE POST OF NOVEMBER 3RD LAST YEAR.
From last time:
Consider the context? Are we, as members of a political community who may soon have to cast our vote in a plebiscite, going to do so conscious of our international or global citizenship? Are we going to vote so that we, as a member of the United Nations, will stand with those 171 member states that have still not capitulated to this the most neo-colonial movement of recent times?
171 out of 193 sounds like a good majority, but let us become more specific: are we, as a political community, going to understand what we are doing in this proposed plebiscite, this stitched up deal that is as much to keep the Liberal-Coalition together as it is to legislatively reform the Marriage Act? Do we really want to politically understand the issue of marriage in its political dimensions, as a structure of human responsibility that is found all around the world? Or will we be voting just to “get it off the agenda”? To vote to “get it off the agenda” will be a vote to ignore our own responsibility and it is not an issue that will so easily go away.
There are those who suggest that a Parliamentary vote after a Labor victory at next Saturday’s poll, will mean that the issue will be finally resolved once and for all. Such suggestions are little more than a trick with mirrors.
So, by voting “Noe” would we not be aligning ourselves with the traditional view of Christian marriage that is so strongly held among Pacific island nations in our region – among the Micronesian states, the Polynesians and the Melanesians? This dimension of our current political debate is barely on our political horizon. (Our media reports have not covered this current alignment at all; Murdoch, Fairfax et al have been more concerned about reporting on commercial “wedding” opportunities in New Zealand for same-sex couples, that is when they are not ambiguously playing all sides by either fomenting panic or trying to calm worries about commercial surrogacy trips to Thailand, or neo-Marxist demands that pre-school curriculum introduce youngsters to the theories of “gender fluidity”).
So, as an “old Commonwealth” country, can you imagine our Parliament deciding to stand with the Christian peoples of Melanesia and Polynesia and maintain a stand that seeks to persuade our New Zealand cousins, the United Kingdom, Canada, and South Africa and the USA that they have gone down the wrong path? Is that what a “Noe” will mean? Further, as participants in what is said to be a “liberal democracy” do we want to take a stand which would clearly oppose the global reach of the legal and political forces that support “marriage equality” so decidedly emphasised by Hollywood, corporate capitalism and any number of global initiatives in aid and development projects? Do we have any idea what it would take to defend marriage internationally against the beckoning legal mistake which has been a constant feature of Australian Federal parliamentary debates with coinciding support of mass media, glossy magazines, and talk-back chatter in recent years?
That is why I am suggesting that for us in Australia at this time, the issue in its most important (world-view) aspects appears to have already been decided in the hearts of so many. This means that the religious dimension of such a liberal-humanist viewpoint so central to our national decision-making has evaded criticism in public debate. Why? It is quite simple. Our national political decision will simply be about whether we are willing to break ranks with the self-proclaimed enlightenment of a global oriented neo-liberal political ideology (headed in Australia by the “Public relations firms” headed by Messrs Turnbull and Shorten and their deputies). It is this humanistic world-view, as religious as any Christian, Muslim, Buddhist or Hindu perspective, that is committed to human self-sufficiency. It will not rest content until it has formed a total way of life subject only to the laws that we humans say we have made for ourselves. That subjection reaches beyond mere parliamentary legislation about the kind of marriage to be recognised in this jurisdiction to a demand that marriage be recognised in law as the creation not of the Creator but of autonomous human choice.
It is that religious view that continues to dominate political parties in these “enlightened” (western) polities. It is that religious view that continues to shape the international relationships that pertain between us in this country with our traditional friends and also the smaller more vulnerable states of our South West Pacific region.
To put it quite frankly: we didn’t need to support the opponent of Donald Trump to be already in line with a neo-colonial global initiative. And indeed it will be rather interesting to see how the Presidency of the woman who is now co-president of the Clinton Global Initiative unfolds. And because of the taken-for-granted world-view underlying the projects, policies and actions of self-proclaimed “movers and shakers” (as per the Clinton Global Initiative) of this planet , those with whom we have been so desperate to align ourselves, we simply cannot avoid being part of the “marriage equality” movement in international terms – consider, for example, the recent demand made to our Department of Immigration that they petition the Nepalese Government to allow babies born of commercial surrogacy to leave that country and come to Australia.
Christians of all persuasions may have warmly welcomed the 2007 blockbuster movie Amazing Grace that re-told the story of William Wilberforce’s challenge to the slave-trade in the late 18th and early 19th century. But have we considered the implicit slavery that is countenanced by trade in human seed, by the export of human embryos for research purposes, by the experimentation on human subjects for drugs like RU486? By the political responses of our own parliaments for decades to such issues, and implicitly with our compliance, the possibility of a “market niche” that specialises in the “free-range” commercialisation of human seed has opened up. Our political leaders from both sides have taken us down this neo-liberal path that for some time has adopted a selectively ambiguous stance when it comes to framing laws that would restrict such commerce and trade. So, rather than take a stand against such celebrated trends, to preserve the common good that has its true root in healthy marriages and family life, our Parliaments across the country have already done much to make us into an (albeit slightly) inconsistent parliamentary democracy where a libertarian morality is being imposed day after day. We simply move on to the next stage where we are expected to give our uncritical “inclusive” adherence to the dogmatism of a theory – namely that marriage to be just must be socially-reconstituted by a parliamentary (or judicial) endorsement of a libertarian abstract political theory about human rights.
And what have we Christians done about it? How have we advocated justice for all our neighbours so that, as a consequence, ways are found that give just, fair, vital and healthy expression to the way we view our responsibilities as the disciples of Jesus? What is to stop the further advance of neo-liberalism into how we are induced to view marriage, how we are induced to view family life, how we are induced to view households, how we are induced to see our own bodies?
From last time:
To next time: