Maybe polygamy/ polyamourous marriages are the next step?

Polygamy (polygyny) image via iStock images
Gay marriage then polygamy? Image: iStock

 

I hate to say it,Andrew Bolt may have a point about the slippery – slope argument on gay marriage. I say  “maybe”. I have checked online, and yes, the story does check out. Three gay men in Colombia have had their relationship recognised legally; Victor Hugo Prada, John Allejandro Rodriguez, and Manuel Jose Bermudez. They have been recognised as Colombia’s first “polyamorous family”. According to news.com.au, they now legally have legal and inheritance rights granted to them by the Colombian Supreme Court.

So what does this mean? Does this mean that gay marriage inevitably leads to the legalisation of polygamy? Last year, on an older blog, I wrote an extensive post about the potential hazards that polygamy can have on individuals, families and society. I linked an article by Zainab AL Hammadi.  

Since then, I have read more articles, including from those that have lived in polygamous households, particularly from ex – Mormon Penelope Lane. It was far less than ideal for her as a child. Due to pressure, she wrote another article citing studies from Professor Joseph Hendrich, further reinforcing her point.

Doing this research gave me reason to doubt the slippery slope argument against gay marriage. But I also noted there were differences between the two. So, with the latest revelation from Colombia, what conclusion can we come up with?

As I’m writing this, I’m researching Colombia’s marriage laws and it’s complicated – as there is a marriage law and a de – facto law. For foreigners who get married in Colombia, they have to prove that they’re legally divorced or a spouse has died if they’ve been married before, as well as having other documents such as birth certificates translated to Spanish. Anyway, I’m not a lawyer or an expert on Colombia, so I’ll just leave it at that.

So, this triad has been legally recognised under Colombian law via the Supreme Court. Does this prove Bolt right about what he’s been saying for years? Maybe. Will the legalisation of polygamy or polyamory be able to be argued against? Polygamy (polygyny), yes (as I’ve cited before and linked above). Polyamory? Last time I wrote about this in depth, I said that it was more complicated. At the time, I couldn’t find any conclusive evidence to suggest that polyamory is necessarily bad for men, women, children or society as a whole, unlike polygyny.

 

So, yeah, I’m a bit stumped with this, to be honest. Will it happen in Australia? Maybe. It probably won’t be decided by the Supreme Court as it’s happened in Colombia. Other than that, maybe it’s something we need to think about in Australia. If same – sex marriage is ever legalised in Australia, are we open to recognising polyamorous, or, dare I say it, polygamous unions?

What do you think? Will gay marriage lead to the legalisation of polygamy/ plural marriage?  Feel free to leave your thoughts or any information you know below. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Margaret Court saga – yes, she can say what she has a right to her views… and a right to be challenged

 

 

 

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Image: iStock

 

 

It’s a controversy that won’t die down. Former Australian Tennis champion and Pentecostal pastor, Margaret Court sparked a fierce debate after she claimed in The West Australian that she’d boycott Qantas over Alan Joyce’s and Qantas’ strong stance on same – sex marriage.

Since then, and other events (which I’ll talk about a bit later), Court has been both criticised and fiercely defended – even by self – professed same – sex marriage supporters for her stance.

The only person in mainstream media in my view that has both criticised and defended Mrs. Court has been Graham Richardson. In the Australian on Sunday, he slammed both Court and same – sex marriage supporters for trying to stifle debate. 

The pathetic blow – up this week over Margaret Court’s comments was the last straw. Both sides have become so obsessed and hysterical over not just their case but in attempts to stop any alternative view being put.

In my view, Court’s comments this week in criticising both Qantas and its CEO Alan Joyce for entering the debate in favour of marriage equality was as outrageous as it was stupid. Why should Joyce not have the right to argue strongly for what he believes in? Why should the Qantas board not seek to back up Joyce who has turned the company’s fortunes around over five years? Surely in a democracy which is supposed to believe in free speech, this should be applauded not rubbished. Joyce is an openly gay man and he is entitled to campaign for something close to his heart.

Richardson is right. Both Joyce and Court are entitled to have their own views and be able to express them freely. People should also be able to challenge and rebut them, including Court.

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Image: iStock

Unfortunately, I think the shambolic “interview” on “The Project” last Friday alienated same – sex marriage opponents even more, and quite frankly, Court has a right to bite back. Not only was she constantly interrupted, by Waleed Aly, but also ridiculed and interrupted by both Meshel Laurie and Anthony “Lehmo” Lehmann. Judge for yourself:

 

Things like this only aggravates everyone and, if we’re not careful, may be the one roadblock to same – sex marriage being legalised in Australia if it went to a public vote. They’re only shooting themselves in the foot.

 

Even though Court does have a right to have her say, it’s also got to be pointed out that her comments have hurt others – even unintentionally. Tennis player, Casey Dellacqua, who has two children with her partner, Amanda Judd blasted her on Twitter over a comment Court made about a letter she wrote about same – sex parents.

Even though Court has fervently denies that she’s against gay people, her comments have opened wounds by those who have been hurt by Pentecostal pastors, some of which, until very recently, behind “ex – gay” therapy, a widely condemned by the American Psychological Association and other bodies.

Her comments both on The Project and The Bolt Report have conflated myths that have been used by “ex gay” therapy activists – one that being gay has anything to do with gender expression (i.e. being a “tomboy”) or that people are gay because they’ve been sexually abused are statements that should be (respectfully) challenged. This also goes for her comments on same – sex families, which, again are largely disputed..

 

There has also been debate over whether Margaret Court Arena in Melbourne should be renamed. While she doubts this will happen, Australia’s Sam Stosur, along with other tennis players, have stood behind Dellacqua and Judd, even going as far as vowing to boycotting Margaret Court Arena in protest. I do applaud Stosur and other tennis players standing behind Dellacqua and Judd, and they have a right to do so. Whether they boycott Margaret Court Arena, is still to be seen.

On the renaming controversy, I don’t agree that Margaret Court Arena should be renamed. For the simple reason that Margaret Court is an Australian tennis champion, who in the 1960’s and 1970’s made huge achievements and undoubtedly revolutionised how women were viewed in the sport. No one can take that away from her, regardless of her views. That’s why her name’s there. If Stosur or others want to protest by not playing in the arena, I guess that’s their prerogative.

 

I can truly understand why this whole culture war has hit a nerve with some in the LGBTQ+ community. This is often a very personal and deep issue. But the same – sex marriage supporters here are largely at fault. While Court’s views about marriage and family can be challenged and debated, attacking her for having views has done nothing to better gay marriage or LGBTQ+ rights. In fact, it’s only made opponents more determined. We need to clean up our act and allow debate, rather than shut people up.

 

Councils commemorating IDAHOBIT: is that such a bad thing?

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Image: iStock

 

 

This week, Geelong City Council raised the rainbow flag on City Hall as a part of International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT).

Good idea? I didn’t actually know this until a few hours ago, but May 17 marks the day when the World Health Organisation officially declassified homosexuality as a mental illness back in 1990. Sine then, transgenderism is slowly being destigmatised and is no longer officially being classed as a mental illness. With that, the western world has continued to make advances into ensuring the full participation and well – being of LGBTQ+ people in society. Of course, this hasn’t been smooth sailing, with continued discrimination and all out culture wars which still affect LGBTQ+ people in the West today.

Back to the Geelong City Council, like I said, I think almost any move to show acceptance and advocacy for LGBTQ+ is a good thing. However, if you watched a discussion on shows like Sky News’ ‘Paul Murray Live’ this week, you would sense a bit of ‘here we go again’. Panellist like ‘Herald Sun’s’ Rita Panahi attacked Labor again for voting down the proposed plebiscite earlier this year.

The thing is, do gestures like the ones that the Geelong City Council made win hearts? To be honest, I think the answer is no. Pushing ad nauseum, while attacking opponents of things like same – sex marriage, or even the signalling of IDAHOBIT by raising the rainbow flag on a government building isn’t winning anyone over.

So, what can we do?

First thing that comes to mind is… talk. Talk about same – sex marriage, homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, etc. We need to work together to work it out so LGBTQ+ are included and accepted without others feeling unfairly targeted and silenced.

On a similar point, let LGBTQ+ talk. This is what has frustrated me over the so – called debate on same – sex marriage. On one hand, you have groups like Socialist Alliance running amok making LGBTQ+ look bad, then on the other end, you have conservatives (almost always straight), telling LGBTQ+ to suck it  up and how we should have just had the plebiscite.

There are LGBTQ+ Australians who don’t want same – sex marriage to be legalised, and yet there are those who do and take the debate hard and did have aerious concerns. I think I’ve said before that mental health was a topic that was unfortunately not talked about in the lead up to the vote on the plebiscite until it was too late and the bill was blocked in the Senate. This isn’t about treating LGBTQ+ people as ‘special snowflakes’ or ‘precious petals’, but acknowledging that, because of their circumstances, past trauma or toxic beliefs about gender identity or sexuality, that such people may have needed support in the lead up to the plebiscite.

 

I do any council or other institution who work to make LGBTQ+ people feel secure and included in their area. i do think LGBTQ+ need to be heard. Whether putting a rainbow flag on a government building, even for a week is a way to do it is I think questionable. Let’s hope it doesn’t have the exact opposite effect.

 

 

Apologies

Hi all.

I know it’s been a while and I apologise. The cold is going around.

Hopefully, I’ll be back in full swing next week. There’s so much I want to write about including the possible end of Everyday Feminism. As I always ask when media outlets face financial trouble, I’ll be wondering what it means for writers/ bloggers in the future, including left – leaning/ feminist writers.

Although I didn’t watch it very much, I realized that the comedy “Last Man Standing”, starring Tim Allen has been axed in the U.S. What does that mean for free speech, etc.? (More details shortly).

Geelong Council in Victoria raises rainbow flag until gay marriage is legal in Australia. Is that OK? I’ll offer my thoughts.

I might do a piece on the Alan Joyce vs. “Pie Man” saga. That’s another gift that just keeps on giving.

 

Anyway, there’s a few things that I’ve noticed this week. I usually like to keep on top of current events and try to write about them when they’re being talked about, but what are you going to do?

 

What’s been happening with you? What’s caught your attention this week? Leave your thoughts below in the comments section.

 

Gay marriage and fluid sexuality

South Australian Senator, Eric Abetz caused an uproar when he suggested that gay people can form straight relationships on Sky News when talking about the push for same – sex marriage. This has caused outrage among members of the LGBTQ+ community with accusations of Abetz using the harmful rhetoric that was used to make LGBTQ+ people believe they could become straight; a practice that has been condemned by mainstream health bodies. Former pastor, Anthony Venn – Brown has dismissed Abetz’s claims, saying that gays and lesbians don’t change their orientation when married to someone of the opposite sex. He said it was a case of ‘situational heterosexuality. I want to play the devil’s advocate here. Researchers have suggested that sexuality can be fluid for some people. That’s been explored in the media quite a lot the past few years. Some people are bisexual (sometimes on varying degrees), so theoretically, they’ll be able to fall for a man or woman (or other gender). There must be a distinction here, though:

Some people are, always have been and always will be gay. 

Also, fluid sexuality is said to have environmental factors, whether it’s to do with epigenetics ,  (a theory that is rejected by some in the LGBTQ+ community), or not I don’t think anyone has determined… yet(?). However, that’s not to say that LGBTQ+’s sexuality is definitely going to change due to environment. 

 

To be honest, I think the theory is quite pointless in the same – sex marriage debate (which I think that’s what they were debating on Sky). So some people experience fluidity in their sexuality and/ or fall in love with someone that doesn’t fall in line with what their orientation. So? That doesn’t mean that there aren’t gays, lesbians, people who are homo-romantic, etc, that want to get married. Some in the LGBTQ+ community, along with their allies, feel that marriage is a crucial step forward towards LGBTQ+ acceptance (I still argue that’s still an overly simplistic argument, but that’s another post for another day and it won’t be a magic bullet, but that’s another post for the future).

 

While I think Senator Abetz wasn’t entirely wrong in his statement, I think it was pointless and was bound to be taken negatively by members of the LGBTQ+ community, especially given his clashes with members of the LGBTQ+ community over same – sex marriage over the past two years. And I think it’s important to reinstate – I believe that some people may experience fluid sexuality or degrees of bisexuality. But there are people who are, always have been and always will be gay. Let’s not use the fluidity theory or bisexuality to bully and shame LGBTQ+ all over again.

 

 

Cooper’s Brewery receive backlash over gay marriage debate

 

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QANTAS boss, Alan Joyce has been a vocal supporter of same – sex marriage, despite public criticism.

Coopers Brewery have copped a whopping from same – sex marriage supporters after they agreed to have their product featured in Bible Society’s “Keeping it Light”, which was a debate on same – sex marriage. When they withdrew their support and reinstated their support for same – sex marriage, they got a backlash from conservatives.  The debate was between Goldstein Liberal MP Tim Wilson and former SAS officer and Liberal MP for Canning, Andrew Hastie.

I saw a segment of the debate on same – sex marriage on YouTube between Hastie, a conservative Christian and Wilson, who is openly gay and who describes himself as agnostic and on a “journey” to find the truth about god. Wilson supports a change in the Marriage Act to allow same – sex couples, while Hastie firmly believes in maintaining the Marriage Act as it is. After a backlash from same – sex marriage supporters, Managing Director Dr. Tim Cooper offered a public apology to same – sex marriage supporters and reinforced the company’s support for same – sex marriage. After their apology, Cooper’s Brewery was slammed by conservatives by backing down.

 

I saw the debate on YouTube and I think both Wilson and Hastie should be applauded for their conduct. They were both very respectful, while both articulating their views. Neither lead personal attacks and Hastie never demeaned Wilson because of his sexuality and spoke respectfully of his long-term partner. Both sides of the marriage debate could learn from this. For same – sex marriage supporters, not all opponents are the enemy. You can still prefer maintaining the Marriage Act without attacking the LGBTQ+ community. That’s how a debate should be. Two people putting their points across, while no one feels threatened or demeaned.

 

I get whey people are concerned. I get the pain of having your lives constantly debated, sometimes unfairly. I never once thought that if the plebiscite was going ahead last year that the process would be a walk in the park for members of the LGBTQ+ community. Therefore I think one of the biggest failures of the Coalition government – with not a lot of help from Labor, mind you – was to ensure that supports were in place to help LGBTQ+ community and families in distress when things got too much. I also didn’t like the way that some tried to back pedal anti – discrimination laws while the debate was going on.

On the other hand, I genuinely believed that not having a debate, especially on issues like free speech and the impact on same – sex marriage opponents would only backfire on the LGBTQ+ community in the long term, as it has in Brazil  and the U.S. My fears have lessened in the past couple of weeks, especially after “Married at First Sight” controversy which saw two Jehovah Witness parents rejecting their gay son’s wedding. I remember the explosion on Facebook in support for the couple who married in Florida. I thought that was so touching. Some of these comments were made by people I know personally, as well as on news articles. I take this as a good sign – that people are willing to call out homophobia when they see or hear it.

Since the spat over Cooper’s, I’ve also been thinking of whether major companies should be involved in politics. It’s not just Cooper’s that have copped criticism. Alan Joyce from Qantas, a long-time supporter of same – sex marriage,  has copped criticism from conservatives for making their support for same – sex marriage known and linking it to their brand.

 

ADF servicemen at Mardi Gras – how it damages their morale and doesn’t help the LGBTQ community

6ee4e568-344e-4cf1-a929-94022f41ef15The Australian Defence Force (ADF) took part in this year’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras on Saturday night in Sydney. In the ‘Sunday Herald Sun’, columnist Miranda Devine attacked the move, (‘There is no pride in forcing soldiers to shoulder party politics’, pp. 54 – 55, 5 March, 2017). Devine argued that it went against their policy. To make matters worse, the soldiers had lapel pin modified with the rainbow flag placed on it. This, she argued was in breach of Section 83 of the Defence Act 1903. Instructions on how Rising Sun emblem is to be used and displayed is explained here.

Some servicemen are angered at the altering of the badge. Former Vietnam War serviceman, Charlie Lynn is one of them:

That’s the biggest insult I have ever seen to a badge that means so much to both serving and retired  veterans. It wasn’t designed to be a catalyst for social change. It’s a symbol of what we fought for, for freedom.

What’s more, servicemen and women are not allowed to attend partisan political events while in uniform. Some have defended the Mardi Gras participation as attending a ‘cultural’ event, rather than a political one. Anyone who tries to argue that the Mardi Gras is not political has rocks in their head. The whole point about the Mardi Gras is to fight for rights for LGBTQ people. For the last few years, same – sex marriage has been the hot – button issue, with countless floats displaying the issue. Many proponents of same – sex marriage, along with Labor and the Greens, want a vote in parliamentvto decide on whether or not to amend the Marriage Act, rather than have a public vote. What’s fanned flames evwn more is that servicemen have been sacked for promoting a party (Andrew Hastie as he campaigned for candidacy for Western Australia’s Liberal Party). Another servicemen, Bernie Gaynor was allegedky prohibited from attending a pro – life rally due to its political nature. It should be one rule for all. Either servicemen and women can attend political events while in uniform or they can’t. This does nothing to boost the ADF’s morale in my opinion. It only gives LGBTQ+ rights activists a bad name, too.

I have heard and read how the ADF should not take part in partisan politics. I agree. They fight for the freedom of all Australians, including those who don’t agree with same – sex marriage. If members wanted to participate in the parade, they could have without wearing the uniform. On their own accord. If a serviceman/ woman wants to attend a pro – life rally out of uniform, same thing. They should be able to go ahead. Or, all serving or past veterans should be able to wear their uniforms without any consequences at any political event. The way the ADF has handled this is nothing short of hypocritical.

Secondly, about the LGBTQ+ community – I keep saying this, we are not going to win hearts and minds doing what we’re doing. Major institutions like the ADF pressuring servicemen and women to attend the Mardi Gras and breaking their own protocol does not help the LGBTQ+ community. In fact, it just riles up the critics. For those who do support the LGBTQ+ community, thank you. For those who love and support LGBTQ+ family and friends, you are awesome. Please keep up what your doing. If ADF wants to make LGBTQ+ vets more welcome, that’s awesome. But PLEASE DON’T use the fight for our rights to tear your organisation apart. If it’s against your protocol to attend a political event in uniform, then, don’t pressure others to do exactly that. It doesn’t do anyone any good.

 

I think it’s time we step back, take a breath and start to build bridges rather than holding people captive because of what they believe. Also, again, an organisations stendards and protocols should not be compromised. Otherwise, the LGBTQ+ community will end up fighting a losing battle of our own.