There was quite a media frenzy when Kevin Rudd changed his position on same-sex marriage and came out in favour of redefining marriage. Since then, he has returned to the position of Prime Minister, and has been billed by many as “the first Australian Prime Minister to support marriage equality.”
This of course ignores the little detail that he hasn’t been re-elected Prime Minister yet by the people, and when he was actually elected back in 2007, he supported the traditional definition of marriage, as did Julia Gillard when she won the 2010 election.
But that aside, Kevin Rudd doesn’t seem particularly interested in the topic. Whenever he is asked about the marriage debate, he turns the question on the Coalition Opposition Leader, Tony Abbot, saying that Coalition MPs should be given a conscience vote on the issue.
Tony Abbott has ensured that the Coalition vote as a block in favour of retaining traditional marriage (which makes sense given that the vast majority of Coalition MPs agree with that position).
He is often criticised for this position, as there are polls showing most people want the Coalition to have a conscience vote on the issue. But these polls are disingenuous. The idea of making MPs vote along party lines on any issue whatsoever is counter-intuitive to most people, and if you ask the public if there should be a conscience vote on the carbon tax or asylum seeker policy, for instance, then they would probably be equally supportive.
Now, Kevin Rudd did raise the issue of possibly having a referendum on the issue of same-sex marriage, but when he did so he was slapped down by the same-sex marriage lobby. It was claimed that a referendum on redefining marriage would “be a platform for fear-mongering” (in other words, it would allow supporters of traditional marriage to have a proper say, and we can’t have that!).
Let’s face it. Most Australians aren’t particularly passionate about the marriage debate. And if a referendum was held on the issue, there is a very good chance it would lose. It is quite ironic, however, that in spite of all the argumentum ad populam and “inevitability” rhetoric put forward by supporters of same-sex marriage, the same people vehemently oppose any suggestion of actually finding out what Australians think. As long as that is the case, it looks like the movement to redefine marriage in Australia is going nowhere.
In the meantime, some sections of the media are doing their best to help the same-sex marriage lobby keep the issue alive in Australia.
Such as this story at news.com.au, one of Australia’s most popular news websites, Ministers take aim at religious extremists: we accept equality (yes, that is actually the title of the “news” article).
Apparently, there are some religious people in Australia who support same-sex marriage.
And if that doesn’t give you a heart attack, there was actually a petition by religious people in favour of same-sex marriage signed by…wait for it…77 people!
It’s all happening here Down Under.