On gay marriage, The Australian employs its favored two-pronged strategy: feigning neutrality in editorials, but lets its right-wing catholic cohort do the dirtywork. Some examples:
Like many in the anti gay marriage lobby, David van Gend (“A dad does matter to a child, whether gay couples like it or not”, 29/8) is unwilling to “come out” as anti-gay, but paints himself into a corner by trying to equate marriage with reproduction. Such arguments will always fail because they apply equally to childless or adoptive heterosexual couples. Angela Shanahan is a serial offender in this regard.
“A bigot is someone who refuses to see the other point of view” says Van Gend, a doctor who is still looking for causes and cures for homosexuality. If he is uncomfortable with that label, he should rethink his denial of people’s civil equality because of who they are.
Arguments were frequently made last century against interracial marriage, which, like Alice Woolven’s against gay marriage (Letters, 27/8), hid behind concern for the well-being of the children. But if Woolven had bothered to look at actual studies of same-sex parenting instead of irrelevant data about dysfunctional heterosexual families, she would know that those children do as well as any others.
Christopher Pearson errs by equating a change in tradition with relativism (“Vote against gay marriage”, 26/8). Traditions are not the same thing as absolute values; in fact, they may even stand opposed. Changing the tradition of marriage to include same-sex couples extends the universal value of equality before the law, just as it did when sanctions against mixed-race marriages were lifted. Not all traditions “persist for good reasons”.
When Bob Katter or others on the Right spout hateful anti-gay invective and are criticised for doing so, The Australian defends the invective as an expression of free speech, but condemns the criticism as suppression of it (“Same-sex marriage debate must not be shut down”, 26/8). Either they don’t understand what free speech means, or they can dish it but not take it.