From now until the first week of November or so, I might occasionally check in with the 1940s, also known as Australia.
In the latest in a long line of spineless, utterly un-Australian and yet definitively Australian political moves, the current bucketful of jellyfish calling themselves the Australian government has called for a “vote”, actually a “postal survey” on the subject of marriage equality.
Now, here’s what I’ve gathered about this, keeping in mind that I can only read about it or even think about it for a few minutes at a time before getting irate:
- No, Australia does not yet allow gay marriage. Civil unions, yes. Adoption, yes. But legal marriage, no. And of course this “vote” won’t make church marriages a thing; that will still be at the discretion of the respective church. And speaking of that…
- In fact, the whole “vote” won’t even be binding in any way, which is why I keep putting it in quotey-marks. It’s basically meaningless. The government will waste all this time and money, and still not have to make a decision at the end of it. All so they can say “we’re giving you what you want, it’s your choice.”
- Every eligible citizen (this does not include me as I am no longer on the electoral roll) gets a paper where they can mark “Yes” or “No”. Then they post it in. The votes will get counted up in November, and then – and this is important – nothing will happen.
If you want a more balanced response, this article seems to cover the main facts with less of the abuse I intend to level at the responsible parties. Turnbull sounds like an ally here, which makes his yellow-bellied crawling all the more frustrating.
Just for contrast, Finland and the majority of northern and western Europe has allowed marriage equality. New Zealand, of course, has allowed it. The United States of goddamn America has allowed it. It’s fucking embarrassing.
Australia shouldn’t look as blue as this. It should be orange like its mates.
What this comes down to is Australia’s government being cowards. Utter, disgusting, despicable, incompetent cowards.
This isn’t the first time it’s happened, either. The first case in which I became aware of the Australian government’s extraordinary cowardice was the Constitutional Convention when a staunch monarchist Prime Minister dancing on the strings of staunch monarchist conservatives was allowed to ask the country “do you want to become this shitty version of a republic with all these drawbacks [*lists drawbacks*], or do you want to just keep on going the way we are, because everything’s fine?”
And what do you know, the monarchists won. And Australia still isn’t a real country. And nor does it deserve to be.
My dad is fighting this fight every day, as the Western Australian Voluntary Euthanasia Society tries to get the basic right for people to control their own deaths with dignity past a blockade of so-called Christians who apparently just want suffering people to go on suffering in the most atrocious and inhuman ways. It makes my blood boil, and I am considerably more religion-friendly than my dad, so I can only imagine how he feels. Because assisted suicide and gay marriage are not religious issues. Anyone who tries to make them religious issues is doing their religion a grave disservice.
And in both of these cases, the main issue is local and national parliament members utterly shitscared of their noisy right-leaning rodeo clown posse of an electorate, unwilling to make a decision that is definitively human and yet will cost them the clown posse vote, and which therefore is unthinkable to them.
And the problem keeps coming back to who votes. Who works in the system as it is today.
See, here’s the thing. The “postal vote” for marriage equality overwhelmingly favours the people who have the old school background and time on their hands to take a mail-in questionnaire. The coupon-clipping generation. The ones who are perfectly happy to get a piece of junk mail like this, answer it, slip it back into the return envelope provided, and take it to a local post box to mail it back.
And yes, this is totally easy to do. But a huge number of people won’t do it. Either because it’s too much hassle, or because they realise it’s pointless – or worse, it’s enabling the hatred of these bigots by giving them 50-50 weighting in a decision that does not actually affect them in the slightest. Every little bit of homophobia and hate-fuelled violence stirred up by this is the direct fault of a government that does not care about its citizens.
The people who should get to vote on this – the only people – are gays, bisexuals, other members of that demographic. The ones, in short, who are not allowed to get married now and who a new law would allow to get married. Why does anyone else get a vote? Fucked if I know. Sure, that’s a very difficult thing to put together and police. Fair enough. So just fucking legalise it already, you gutless pricks.
The people who will vote on this issue are hateful old busybodies who don’t like change. Oh, and the LBGTs, and a few – hopefully a lot – of their allies. And I sincerely hope they overwhelmingly outnumber the bigots. I really do.
But I’m willing to bet that the majority will not vote at all.
Props to my excellent friends over in Australia, they all seem to be on the right side of history. But the very fact that someone was emboldened to crowdfund a sky writer, and managed to pay for it, to write a hate message in the sky … fuck you.
By pulling this stunt, the worst-case scenario for the government is that the Yes vote (also known as the good people vote) wins the day. They will then be called upon to actually do something about this embarrassing state of affairs … but they will put it off until the next election and then it will be the next gutless government’s problem. Let their chances of reelection suffer as a result of this awful humanity.
In reality, since doing anything about it will enrage the people these spineless shitheels are afraid of – the conservative and religious-fundamentalist minority – they will effortlessly be able to say “not binding” or even “vote tampering” and call the whole thing a misfire.
Best case, for them, is that the No vote (also known as the hate-filled bigoted fuckweasels vote) wins. This will allow them to safely go back to sidelining the entire LBGT community, basically forever.
And by making it a Letter to the Editor in ballot form, they’re ensuring the optimum result when it comes to happy hate-voters. A mass-e-mailed link to a SurveyMonkey site allowing voters to click “Yes” or “No”, on the other hand, would give the electoral power to the relevant part of the population (which includes, incidentally, perhaps 1% of Australian politicians), and deny it to the ones who should just die and get out of the way of history.
Piss off, Australia. Come back when you’ve grown the fuck up.