Should businesses and government departments get out of the same – sex marriage debate?

Canva images: lawyer, doctor and Quantas plane
Images: Canva

Today, Andrew Bolt criticised supporters of same – sex marriage and the Sydney Lord Mayor, Clover Moore, the ACT government, the Australian Medical Association, the ABC and the NSW Law Society for publicly campaigning for same – sex marriage.

In the past, Air b’n’b and Qantas has also been slammed for pushing for same – sex marriage.

This makes me raise a question: should councils, law firms and businesses get involved in political debate? On any issue: gay marriage, climate change, Recognition, etc? What if, as it’s the case with Qantas, the CEO is LGBTQ+ themselves?

Bullying is wrong. Full stop. I pointed that out yesterday.  That aside, there seems to be a push on both sides to limit or stifle debate, to be honest. One of the main arguments that businesses and councils should not be involved in these debates or taking sides is that the customers have a range of political views. In regards to the AMA, the clash is internal, with the organisation being criticised for false claims by some members regarding same – sex marriage and parents. However,  I have to say that I exposed one of the studies Bolt’s cited last year; Mark Regenerus, supposedly the largest study on same – sex families and its impact on children. However, even he admitted to Focus on the Family; a conservative organisation who promoted his findings that his findings actually didn’t prove same – sex families were worse for children.

Qantas has been a target by conservatives, most recently former tennis great and now Pentecostal pastor, Margaret Court who wrote a letter to The West Australian newspaper, threatening to boycott the airline ‘where possible’ because of their vocal support for same – sex marriage.

Now, the Sydney Council is under fire for allegedly supporting the “Yes” campaign financially, but not the ‘no’ case.

So, my question is: should corporations or governments get involved in any contentious political debate? Climate change? Safe Schools? Aboriginal Recognition? The asylum seekers on Manus Island and Nauru?

 

It’s not only Australia that companies have been under fire for their corporate stance on same – sex marriage. In 2014, Atlanta – based chicken sandwich franchise, Chick – a – fil – a caused controversy when the CEO, Dan Cathy vocally opposed same – sex marriage. He ended up backtracking kind of – not from his opinion that same – sex marriage was wrong, but by promising to refrain from expressing it publicly in the future.

Either the backlash against Qantas, Air B’n’B, the Sydney Council, the AMA and Chick – a – fil – a is justified or it’s not. Either CEO’s and companies can support political causes or it can’t.

Another thing, if a company, council or medical organisation ever does take a political stance, it’s going to have it’s opponents, regardless of the issue or side. Is this allowed or should everyone should be left with their individual views, with the company itself being neutral? I think it’s great when companies support the LGBTQ+ community or  Aboriginal people —the AFL is a great example of this — aiming to promote inclusion of the LGBTQ+ community and people from an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander background. Pushing a political cause though? I”m not sure.

 

What I do think is that all companies and brands should be held to the same standard. If Qantas for example shouldn’t publicly campaign for same – sex marriage, then a company shouldn’t campaign against it. Companies on both sides, I think, should show impartiality. Because, hey, some of their customers may be LGBTQ+ and/ or support same – sex marriage.

Should companies remain out of political debate? Share what you think.

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Anti same – sex marriage ad just reinforced old arguments

The Coalition For Marriage has released Australia’s first televised advertisement against same – sex marriage.

I don’t think it’s gone down too well, to be honest. Last night on Sky News’ Head’s Up both Chris Kenny and Herald Sun’s Rita Panahi criticised the ad for being off topic; focusing on the controversial Safe Schools program, rather than same – sex marriage itself. I think that’s a valid point.

In a way, I’m glad that they’ve had a ad for the ‘no’ campaign. Silencing opponents will not do anyone any good in the long run, especially the LGBTQ+ community. To be honest, they didn’t do a good job though. They regurgitated all the tired arguments that Australian Christian Lobby’s Lyle Shelton has been pulled up for numerous times.

I agree with Paul Murray and Patricia Karvelas (couldn’t find the video) when they pulled up Shelton for muddying issues like Safe Schools and linking it to the marriage debate. If Shelton and Coalition for Marriage want to oppose same – sex marriage, then just say so. If anything, it’s a moral thing for them. Lyle Shelton opposes same – sex marriage because of his faith, as do others. Why not just say that?

 

Having said that, some of the reaction to the Coalition for Marriage ad and the Australian Christian Lobby is NOT OK. Here are some tweets Andrew Bolt exposed on his blog today and that I’ve found myself (warning: coarse language).

Along with these and Tim Minchin’s I Still Call Australia Home parody, I Still Call Australia Home – ophobic, my heart sinks. This is the WRONG WAY TO ARGUE THE CASE! You are scaring potential ‘yes’ voters away with your vitriol. Enough is enough!

 

I actually do have a gripe with conservatives with this too. To Bob Katter and the like – the LGBTQ+ community are not some giant conspiracy theory. No, they are not out to turn your children LGBTQ+. Most aren’t wanting to ‘steal’ the word ‘marriage’. They just want the same rights, and yes, label. Heterosexuals can still have it, so chill.

Many, dare I say most of LGBTQ+ who want to marry a same – sex partner just want to do that — marry their same – sex partner who they may have loved for years. As I’ve demonstrated, yes, there are people who have been abusive and put forward some bizarre statements on wanting to ‘destroy marriage’, but I’m sure the vast majority of LGBTQ+ people are not like this.

I’m not going to say how anyone should vote in this upcoming postal vote. All I ask is that both sides be respectful. Also, if anyone is struggling during this debate, please, please get help. If you see someone distressed, please comfort them and allow them to open up to you. It’s not easy, frankly, for either side at the moment. Let’s just hope we can keep the next couple of months relatively civil.

For those who are struggling, you can call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or

Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636 or visit the Beyond Blue website.

Kudos to Mamamia for giving LGBTQ people a voice in the same – sex marriage debate

The debate on same – sex marriage has raged on, although going down recently just a bit. At times, I’ve wondered, where are the voices of the LGBTQ+ community and who’s listening? I’ve got to say I’ve gotten qannoyed when comedian Magda Szubanski and Senator Penny Wong were criticised for expressing their hurt, both as gay women, and how their lives are debated, and, at times denigrated.

That said, I truly believe that the LGBTQ+ community really owes appreciation to our allies and the platforms that do  give LGBTQ+ peop,ea voice. One platform that has been a repeat supporter of the LGBTQ+ community is the women and news site, Mamamia.

I’ve written before how they have helped the asexual community become more visible. I think I nearly cried when I read the entry from Jo Qualmann back in 2014.

Screenshot of story featured in Mamamia on asexuality in 2014,written by Jo Qualmann
Jo Qualmann had a story published in Mamamia on her experiences being asexual.

But, this time, it’s all about gays and lesbians and how they feel about the upcoming plebiscite (memo to Mia Freedman: how about homnoromantics as well, like the Huffington Post Australia did a few months ago. Just a thought.) Semantics aside, as I’ve written before, Freedman deserves a hug for her tireless advocacy and inclusion of LGBTQ+ people.

Some of the posts may seem a bit too passive aggressive, I think that overall, the staff at Mamamia should be applauded for allowing LGBTQ+ people to be raw and honest about their experiences and their views on same – sex marriage. In doing this, I believe they speak for, not just for themselves, but for those LGBTQ+ people who  do struggle, who do feel vulnerable, those, when they see the debate played out in the media, it does make them cry (before anyone jumps up and down, yes, there’s been vitriol on the other side and that needs to stop. Right now).

 

Same – sex marriage aside for a second, (again), I’ve loved the way that Freedman has supported LGBTQ+ people in her own life. The way Mia Freedman responded to Rosie Waterland when she came out as bisexual last year was so beautiful, it was almost a tear – jerker. In this uncertain and emotional climate, I think it’s important for LGBTQ+ people to know that there are people who care, who stand up for their rights and allow them to speak freely and be heard. It’s one thing to say that you’ll vote for same – sex marriage and to speak against anti – LGBTQ hate (and for those who do, I sincerely thank you).  But I think it’s another thing to allow LGBTQ+ people themselves to own their voice and to express how they feel about the nature of same – sex marriage debate and the upcoming postal vote/ plebiscite.

So, big hug for Mia Freedman and all the team at Mamamia. Please continue what you’re doing. Please keep giving a voice to members of the LGBTQ+ community about what’s going on right now. I don’t think you realise the impact it has. *Big hug*.

Were the homophobic posters fake?

Yesterday, I criticised Andrew Bolt for not criticising homophobic posters allegedly plastered over Sydney and Melbourne. Well, today, he has commented on it — to raise doubts about the claim.

To be fair, he said that he wasn’t passing judgment, just a bit wary, which I get. Maybe I should have done the same thing?

I shouldn’t be so hard on him, should I?

 

For Sydney – ites and Melbournians, have you seen any of the alleged homophobic posters in either city?

Why doesn’t Andrew Bolt condemn hateful posters against LGBTQ+ families in Sydney and Melbourne?

Trigger Warning: homophobia, homophobic language, Orlando shooting last year

A person has informed Andrew Bolt of slanderous anti – LGBTQ posters that have been seen in both Sydney and Melbourne:

Once again a simple vote for marriage equality turned into a fight for survival by Bolt and the hard right.

Still no mention of those horrible posters, Andrew?

“Nicholas” has a point. It’s the principle not the side that counts, right?

True, true, Bolt has condemned homophobia in the past, including on the assault of Qantas CEO Alan Joyce last year. He has also criticised Mark Latham and Ross Cameron for making unsavoury comments about LGBTQ people. Good on him for that. He has also spoken with compassion toward LGBTQ+ he personally knows during this debate.

Pic of Andrew Bolt last year being interviewed on "Think Again" conference
Andrew Bolt expressed regret on the strains on his relationships with LGBTQ+ friends and family over same – sex marriage.

There have been other times when, at least to my knowledge, he’s missed an opportunity, such as the threats against Melbourne’s Joy 94.9 FM last year.

I know, I know I keep bringing these things up. But, what is it, the principle or the side that is important.

Even more important than that, who wants to be told (falsely) that their LGBTQ+ loved ones are more likely to abuse children? I don’t think for a second that Bolt thinks that’s true. So, why silence?

 

I think this is more that the posters are more than just a bit off or espousing an unpopular or controversial opinion. The posters used the F word meant for gay people, especially gay men. Not only is the term considered to be a form of verbal abuse by members of the LGBTQ+ community, but it is often associated with physical homophobic violence.

The myth that LGBTQ couples are more likely to or are the equivalent of child sexual abusers needs to be stamped out, too. The aftermath of the Orlando Pulse Night Club last year sparked fear in the LGBTQ+ community. What wasn’t talked about in Australia was that people —non Muslims, mind you — praised the gunman, saying that the victims should be executed. In their venom, these people equated gay people to pedophiles. One preacher said from the pulpit that Orlando, Florida is a little safer tonight”Yes, he and others did receive condemnation, but it still freaks me out. It shows that words do matter. Regardless of your views on same – sex marriage or even LGBTQ+ people in general, comparing LGBTQ+ people and their families to pedophiles, as well as derogatory terms, must be condemned. And it needs to be called out by people with a major social and political influence and voice, like Bolt has.

People have scoffed at the idea that LGBTQ+ have negative feelings about the plebiscite. To be quite honest, for a while, I was in favour of it, even the postal one. Since the postal plebiscite is likely (if it passes the Supreme Court), then LGBTQ+ must be supported. Abuse must be condemned. These posters are not just a matter of “free speech”. This is purporting a dangerous view of LGBTQ+ people, which for too long justified violent attacks on people based on their sexuality or perceived sexuality or gender. In the name of ‘debate’, it’s about time people started calling this out and condemning it.

If this post has raised any issues with you, you can contact Lifeline: 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636. For emergencies, ring 000. 

Rainbow Pride flag
Image: iStock

 

Magda Szubanski demonstrates the personal side of the same – sex marriage ‘debate’

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fiwakeupwithtoday%2Fvideos%2F1709373355763989%2F&show_text=0&width=560

(From Today Show Facebook page)

In this ‘debate’ on same – sex marriage, I have often wondered who are letting LGBTQ+ people speak.

Things are starting to look up. The latest example is from Today Show (Australia) where comedian, actress and LGBTQ+ advocate, Magda Szubanski gave an emotional interview explaining why same – sex marriage is so important and the effect of the debate.

This isn’t the first time she’s opened up about her experiences and her passion for the legalisation of same – sex marriage in Australia. In 2012, she came out publicly on The Project and explained how she felt about the same – sex marriage debate. Her coming out was a classic!

I think Magda Szubanski’s story demonstrates that same – sex marriage is not a ‘non – issue’ for some members of the LGBTQ+ community. It’s real, it’s raw and it’s personal. In both The Project and The Today Show interviews, Szubanski emphasised her own struggles as a young gay person, obviously remembering what it was like to have your life and love under scrutiny (this was when homosexuality was still illegal in many parts of Australia. Tasmania was the last state to decriminalise homosexuality in 1997).

I think this is what needs to be thought about when debating, not just same – sex marriage, but anti – discrimination laws, the back pedalling of anti – vilification laws and advertising standards, etc.

So, what can be done?

Can I say, yet again, please, PLEASE, keep an eye out for LGBTQ+ loved ones. If they are struggling, be there for them. Encourage them to get further help if they feel they need it.

For LGBTQ+ people who are struggling, please don’t suffer in silence. Talk to someone, or at least take the steps you need to make yourself feel better. Switch off from news and social media if you have to.  Regardless of what many people, including allies, might say, this can and often is very taxing emotionally. Please look after yourself.

If anyone needs any support you can contact:

Lifeline: 13 11 14

 Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636. (The website has great information about mental health too).