From the Australian:
Date/Time: 2010:07:15 19:31:16
I WAS an opponent of gay marriage for years. I doggedly followed the ignorant, almost homophobic line
without really thinking it through.
Marriage was only for men and women because that’s just the way it was.
Forget the fact that loving relationships between same-sex couples lasted as long, if not longer, than many marriages,
despite those couples swearing before God “til death us do part”.
Only four years ago I wrote a book called You Are So Beautiful: the passion and the pain of relationships. There was
a seemingly empathetic chapter called The Pink Revolution and in it I wrote: “Homosexual men and women have had,
and many still have, added pressures in their relationships. There is the partner who won’t come out of the closet. The
partner who wants to keep it quiet because he (or she) doesn’t know how to tell their parents. Even though you could
usually bet money that a mother’s intuition has already told her. A gay person whose lover won’t-can’t acknowledge
their relationship must feel a bit like a mistress who doesn’t exist in that partner’s public world.”
But when it came to voicing a strong opinion on gay marriage I wimped it. My editor, Anouska Jones, thought I should
remove the whole chapter.
She said: ‘Your attitude also comes across as ambivalent – as you openly admit – and I think that adds to the problem,
as for the rest of the book you express definite, unswerving opinions on each theme that you tackle. For these reasons,
I would advise not including it.”
It was wrong of me to oppose gay marriage | The Australian http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/it-was-wrong-of-me-to…
I did include it and eventually wrote: “I will admit that I have had difficulty coping with the non -traditional idea of a
marriage between two men or two women but I am learning and I know that the day will come soon when it is as
accepted and as protected as any other union.” What a fence-sitting cop out.
It took two women – my wife and my ex-wife – to convince me that my attitude was irrational and discriminatory.
And such discrimination is illegal because you cannot discriminate on the grounds of sex, religion or race. It is also
I also found my justifications increasingly hollow and unconvincing, even to me. It took me back to the days when my
mother couldn’t satisfactorily answer a question. After the third “Why?” she would respond: “Because it just is. That’s
And that’s about the best the opponents of gay marriage can come up with in 2010: it just is.
That is why I was surprised, disappointed and dismayed when Julia Gillard recently said that heterosexual marriage
was not only her government’s view but her personal view.
Now let me get this straight. And, I guess, straight is the operative word. Our new Prime Minister is an atheist. She
doesn’t believe in God, but she believes in the sanctity of God-blessed marriages except for gay people.
Sounds hypocritical to me. She lives with her partner Tim Mathieson, a condition the church would quaintly describe
as “living in sin”.
If the hairdresser with whom Gillard lives had been female I wonder if her views would be different? And where does
Penny Wong stand on this? She is a cabinet member who has fewer civil rights than her colleagues, purely because of
Gillard said: ‘We believe the Marriage Act is appropriate in its current form, that it’s recognising that marriage is
between a man and a woman.”
That statement came on the same day the female Prime Minister of Iceland married her female partner. In Mexico City,
capital of a fiercely Catholic country, same-sex marriages and adoption by same-sex couples have been legal since
March of this year.
In the US some states recognise same-sex marriages although those laws have been rolled back by referendum in
places such as California. Closer to home, the Labor-dominated territory government in Canberra legalised same sex
marriages, but was overruled by the federal government, in the same way the Howard government blocked voluntary
euthanasia in the Northern Territory. The Victorian Labor Party (Gillard’s home state) supports gay marriage.
Gillard says her government (and Kevin Rudd’s government) had taken steps to equalise treatment for gay couples over
matters such as social security benefits.
But she is not going to scare the voters, especially the religious Right, by advocating anything more than that.
The Liberals and Nationals are even more locked in. After all, Tony Abbott has admitted he feels “threatened” by
homosexuals. That’s weird. What’s also weird is the strident opposition when most marriages in Australia are these
days conducted by celebrants and not in churches, only about 10 per cent of Australians are weekly churchgoers, two
out of three marriages end in divorce, and one in three Australian children are born out of wedlock. What are people
The only encouraging thing for gay people is that they know their day will come. Equality will prevail. One day.
Remember, how many African-Americans living in Georgia in the 1960s could even dream of a Barack Obama in the
Derryn Hinch is a presenter on Melbourne radio station 3AW.