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Putting Pandora back in the marriage equality box

By Jim Wallace - posted Tuesday, 5 June 2012


Slogans such as ‘marriage equality’ and ‘equal love’ have dominated the gay marriage debate so far. But as the federal parliament inches closer to dealing with the three ‘marriage equality’ bills that are before it, we are finally beginning to see their consequences.

During the recent Senate Hearings into one of the bills, the Green’s Marriage Equality Amendment Bill, former High Court Justice Michael Kirby was asked what logical reason could be given for not extending ‘marriage equality’ to other configurations of love such as consenting polygamous and polyamorous ones.

“The question that is before the parliament at the moment is the question of equality for homosexual people,” he told the Senate.“There may be, in some future time, some other question.

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The lesson in courts and in the parliament, I suggest, is that you take matters step by step.”

And it is clear by recent events that there are those who are very interested in seeing those next steps.

Last week, leaders of Australia’s polyamorous community expressed disappointment with Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young for rejecting equality for their relationships.

Hanson-Young is yet to respond to the specific question of whether the Greens will drop their support of ‘marriage for all’ and the clear expectation the bi-sexual community in particular has in their policy.

This week The Punch andSBS featured a polygamous relationship in which the participants complained of discrimination from authorities and said if it were legal they would marry.

Of course such talk is dangerous indeed for gay activists, and Rodney Croome, the campaign director for Australian Marriage Equality, felt it necessary to explain why ‘marriage equality’ did not apply to the poly communities, so as not to unhinge his own campaign.

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Ironically, many of his arguments mirrored those used against same-sex marriage.

Croome says that same-sex attraction is ‘immutable’ but then tells the poly community their sexual attraction is a choice, which seems strangely at odds with his allies the Greens, who must surely treat all these sexualities equally.

Or do they now suddenly believe that we shouldn’t treat everyone’s love equally?

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About the Author

Jim Wallace AM has been the Managing Director of the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) since 2000. He was a career soldier for 32 years and a commander of Australia’s elite Special Forces. In 1984 he was made a Member of the Order of Australia for his services in developing Australia’s counter terrorist capability. ACL is a non-denominational, non-party partisan lobby group representing a broad constituency of Christian supporters.

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