Home > Economics - General > Gillard on equal marriage

Gillard on equal marriage

December 14th, 2013

I’ve long been mystified by Julia Gillard’s position on equal marriage, and her almost complete silence on the matter. However, on a recent Google search, I found this, which left me even more mystified than before

“I do understand that the position I took on gay marriage perplexed many people, given who I am and so many of my beliefs. I’ve actually had lot of conversations with many of my old friends about this, some of whom have got a different view than me.

“But, I’m a lot older than you,” Ms Gillard told the young man, “and when I went to University and started forming my political views of the world, we weren’t talking about gay marriage indeed as women, as feminists, we were critiquing marriage. If someone had said to me as a twenty year old, ‘what about you get into a white dress to symbolise virginity, and you get your father to walk you down an aisle and give you away to a man who’s waiting at the end of the aisle’, I would have looked with puzzlement and said ‘what on earth would I do that for?’.

“I’m conscious that these may be views that have dated and that the way people interpret marriage now is different to the kinds of interpretations that I had. I think that marriage in our society should play its traditional role and we could come up with other institutions which value partnerships, value love, value lifetime commitment. You know, I have a valuable lifetime commitment and haven’t felt the need at any point to make that into a marriage. So I know that that is a really different reasoning that most people come at with these issues, but that’s my reasoning.

So, apparently she used to be against marriage altogether, but now wants to promote alternatives. If I read her correctly, she proposes to do this by stopping some people from getting married at all, while retaining “traditional” marriage for others. Is the idea that we could gradually extend the ban, for example, by prohibiting various kinds of mixed marriage until no-one at all could get married? Or is there some more coherent argument I’ve missed here?

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  1. may
    December 14th, 2013 at 11:55 | #1

    strip away the wrapping cultural,religious and emotive etc

    what is left is a

    a contract of kinship.

    i’m not saying any thing else on this subject.

  2. December 14th, 2013 at 11:56 | #2

    Pr Q said:

    So, apparently she used to be against marriage altogether, but now wants to promote alternatives. If I read her correctly, she proposes to do this by stopping some people from getting married at all, while retaining “traditional” marriage for others. Is the idea that we could gradually extend the ban, for example, by prohibiting various kinds of mixed marriage until no-one at all could get married? Or is there some more coherent argument I’ve missed here?

    There is no “coherent argument on policy at all. Gillard, like most Australians, does not think this issue warrants a great deal of attention, since it will only directly impinge on a minority of a minority. Stop trying to read to much meaning into a politicians off-the-cuff response to gotcha journalism, particularly at an Anne Summers feminist love-in.

    There is of course, a coherent political rationale for steering clear of supporting homosexual marriage. Gillard backed away from endorsing it because she needed the support of Right-wing unions in her never-ending leadership tussles. Another good reason for avoiding such conflicts since they use up embattled leaders political capital in the mere struggle for survival.

    To the extent that her seventies era progressive rationale makes sense its fairly simple: marriage is not such a great institution, so why promote its extension? Traditional marriage can slowly wither away until we can all live in one big free-for-all commune. QED, KISS.

    Of course the seventies era post-modern liberalism never made a whole lot of sense to begin with. Its been somewhat rolled back on the ethnic domain with the collapse of multiculturalism, refugee open borders and indigenous self-determination. And even in the estrogenic domain it seems to have run out of steam, since most red-blooded women steer away from the concept of “feminism” as if it was made of Kryptonite.

    Social conservatives who pay attention to social science take the assumptions of the post-modern liberal argument and turn the conclusion on its head: marriage promotes social cohesion (that is to say, a love of institutional integration) so it should be promoted and extended to all.

    Homosexuals are especially in need of the bonds of marriage. Its no secret that this sub-culture faces some serious challenges in:

    sexual health (predilection for promiscuous sodomy) and

    social exclusion (estranged from families).

    Marriage, as we all know, is the safest form of safe sex. And undoubtedly includes people in at least one family, your own.

    So social conservatives should logically support homosexual marriage. The fact that they dont is a problem for social conservative political culture, akin to the fact that so many economists have failed to endorse Keynsian macro economics.

  3. Paul Foord
    December 14th, 2013 at 12:08 | #3

    I expect Gillard’s position on marriage had more to do with being owned by the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employee’s Union than principle.

  4. Hermit
    December 14th, 2013 at 12:52 | #4

    I wonder if Gillard’s opinion coincidentally reflects that of current and former senators Wong and Brown. It seems to me the senators also regard the marriage certificate as just a piece of paper.

  5. Disenfranchised
    December 14th, 2013 at 13:02 | #5

    Since Gillard is no longer in parliament, should her views on same sex marriage be of interest to anyone ? Whatever her views, she is entitled to them.

  6. I used to be not trampis
    December 14th, 2013 at 13:11 | #6

    come on john bringing mixed marriage is a complete red herring.

    She might have been against marriage as an institution when she was young and silly but she recognized what the institution was.
    Husband and Wife.

    ‘Equal’ marriage is an absurdity.

  7. Moz of Yarramulla
    December 14th, 2013 at 13:30 | #7

    I think the charitable explanation is that she was beholden to the right wing bigots mentioned above but does not want to say so. The alternatives are awful: she’s a bigot herself; or she’s selfish enough to say “I don’t want it so you can’t have it”. But she didn’t do the latter with education or disability, so I think it’s unlikely she’d do the same for marriage. Might be a bit of both, but given her close working relationships with a number of quiltbags I’m inclined to say not.

    I agree with a number of commentators that this is an issue where there are hard-core believers at the extremes and probably 80% of the population don’t care a lot. I suspect there’s an age-based skew there, with younger people more likely to think it’s a good idea. But I point vigorously at the great Australian disdain for human rights and equality in general, and don’t think we’re going to see a mass movement any time soon. It’s possible that this will come as a side-effect of a more general revulsion for the Abbott coaltion, though.

  8. Moz of Yarramulla
    December 14th, 2013 at 13:36 | #8

    I used to be not trampis :
    ‘Equal’ marriage is an absurdity.

    I think that’s Ms Gillard’s point. It seems extremely unlikely that heterosexuals will be able to marry as equals in the imaginable future. Note that same-sex marriage is not marriage equality, it’s just extending the current discriminatory arrangement to a few more people. Marriage equality would be consent-based: any adult that wants to marry another consenting adult may do so.

  9. Megan
    December 14th, 2013 at 13:49 | #9

    I’ll go with beholden to the ‘right’, too.

  10. rog
    December 14th, 2013 at 14:14 | #10

    @Moz of Yarramulla Regardless of the PM or anyone else’s view nobody has the right to demand that others kowtow to an opinion.

  11. kevin1
    December 14th, 2013 at 15:02 | #11

    @Disenfranchised

    Yes, best that we don’t learn from dissembling and muddled thinking; let’s keep our political culture dumb and unreflective. Politicians come and go, yet their ideas hang around, some with a bad smell.

  12. sunshine
    December 14th, 2013 at 15:10 | #12

    This issue is low on my list of priorities as it is guaranteed to happen soon whatever I do . There are too many well connected gay and lesbian people to stop it now.

  13. m0nty
    December 14th, 2013 at 16:20 | #13

    I get Gillard’s reasoning as to her own views. She formed a view early on that marriage was not something she believed in. Fair enough.

    What I don’t understand is her reasoning in imposing her belief on the rest of Australia. She acknowledges that her reasoning is “different” to most, yet she weaved it into the policy platform of the government. Where is democracy in all this? Two thirds of the population want SSM, what gives her the right to deny democracy? That is what remains unexplained, at least from the above quote.

  14. Moz of Yarramulla
    December 14th, 2013 at 16:34 | #14

    rog :
    @Moz of Yarramulla Regardless of the PM or anyone else’s view nobody has the right to demand that others kowtow to an opinion.

    Amusingly I’ve just been reading about the persistence of the British treason laws, whereby it is an offence for anyone to hold an opinion that the British monarchy should be disestablished. So perhaps you could explain your ideas to our Queen and see how you go. The punishment, BTW, is transportation, you you wouldn’t even need to buy a return ticket.

    More seriously, insofar as I agree with you about opinions, that position seems to be firmly in favour of marriage equality of the sort espoused by Ms Gillard. Specifically, that marriage is an unfair institution that should be abolished. The many and diverse opinions to the contrary notwithstanding.

  15. Tyler
    December 14th, 2013 at 16:51 | #15

    exactly it’s entirely unclear why she would oppose changes to marriage given her concerns with the institution as a whole. I suppose post-retirement she figured that she needed some vague justification for her absurd surrender to the right on this issue

  16. December 14th, 2013 at 17:04 | #16

    I also found this to be one of the more puzzling and bizarre aspects of the Gillard Prime Ministership and one that I think will come to be regarded by future history as a significant blot on her tenure. I have a detailed piece on this issue at http://kevinbonham.blogspot.com.au/2013/05/julia-gillard-same-sex-marriage-enemy-1.html which was mostly written when Gillard was still PM and includes probably all the Gillard quotes on the issue that I am aware of.

  17. John Goss
    December 14th, 2013 at 17:09 | #17

    There has been a disdain for marriage in the left for a long time. During the 1970s participating in the bourgeois institution of marriage was akin to supporting royalty. Those who accepted a knighthood, for example, were shunned, and it was almost as bad among some, if one got married. So it didn’t bother those who were gay and left that they couldn’t get married.
    This changed though in the 1990s and into the twentieth century. Michael Kirby has described his change of view on this issue. He came to see that being denied the right to get married (if one wanted to do that) was a denial of the human rights of a gay person. Julia Gillard is not a stupid person. So I think she would have changed her views as Michael Kirby and others on the left have changed their views, if the political cost of changing her view had not been so high ie she knew that the right wing SDA in the Labor Party would make her pay a high political price if she changed.
    This by the way is an interesting example of where one’s view on a particular issue is not determined by the balance of argument for and against that position, but is determined by loyalty to the group. We see this phenomenon very frequently on the right but it also happens on the left.

  18. John Goss
    December 14th, 2013 at 17:10 | #18

    I meant ‘into the twenty first century’ obviously.

  19. Julie Thomas
    December 14th, 2013 at 17:54 | #19

    @John Goss

    That’s true and I know I had that attitude – about marriage being totally irrelevant and why couldn’t people just get over their need to be part of bourgeois society – before learning to understand that the way I think isn’t the only way to think, or feel.

    Same goes for football, meat pies and Holden cars, perhaps.

    Julia Gillard is also an atheist and perhaps the type that believes that the church, religion and the church are the root of all evil.

    Not that being ‘owned’ by the right wasn’t part of the mix.

  20. Geoff Andrews
    December 14th, 2013 at 18:10 | #20

    @sunshine
    You’re so right, sunshine: gays and lesbians are the modern Catholic Masons – infesting and corrupting the corridors of power. Open a door and you’re bound to see a Brown Kirby-Wong chewing on Abbot’s gullible ear. Where will it end?

  21. kevin1
    December 14th, 2013 at 18:17 | #21

    @Geoff Andrews

    Thanks for the evocative images. Now I ‘get’ Fyshwick’s location.

  22. Donald Oats
    December 14th, 2013 at 19:08 | #22

    I think the fact that Julia Gillard is an atheist, and was a feminist at a time when both work and marriage were asymmetric in their treatment of the two (main) genders, is what feeds into her feelings about the value—or lack thereof—for marriage. She is also saying that she was brought up in a time when there was no question that marriage was of a man and a woman, at and by a religious (Christian) institution. I read it as her trying to say that she doesn’t see any value in marriage, traditional or generalised. However, whoever was interviewing her should have probed a bit more in order to get something less ambiguous from Julia Gillard.

  23. Felix Alexander
    December 14th, 2013 at 21:29 | #23

    I don’t understand why Gillard gets so much hate thrown at her for this view. Yeah she did some stupid things because the culture of the Labor Party is a bit stupid. But there was a lot of pressure on her on this issue from the “marriage equality” side. How did she not have the power to do what she wanted? If you honestly think “marriage equality” is impossible and the attempt is evil, the logic “I don’t think it’s right but you can have it for yourself” is foolish. Rather than doing what the patient asks (which’ll make it worse) you’ll do nothing till you can heal the wound.

    I support marriage equality—I oppose gay marriage, because any government recognition of marriage is a problem. I don’t come at my view the same way she does—I’m not far enough left, nor am I old enough—but the idea that marriage laws shouldn’t be changed until they can be repealed is one I would agree with.

    How silly is it, that no-one ever gets told by a hetero “oh, and my husband/wife …” and then asks “where’s your marriage certificate? I need to inspect the proof of your marriage to ensure that it exists”; rather, we accept people’s claims to be married. And yet, strangely, when a guy says “oh and my husband” or a girl says “oh and my wife”, we ignore this claim to be married and treat them like they’re not married, because the government doesn’t respect the truth. Well bugger the liar.

    So the problems caused by recognising hetero marriage and not recognising gay marriage is only the evidence of the problem! Correcting one symptom isn’t correcting the problem; the problem is regarding an institution’s claim as having precedence over the claim of the one who made it and who it affects, and the government’s reality as more real than the reality of the people who live it. The government is a tool we created; it should serve us and not vice versa.

    I wish she had’ve expressed her view more explicitly while she was prime minister, so that people could understand who she is. When I first heard this some months ago, I realised I’d misjudged her and I gained some respect for her that I wish I’d had during her term.

  24. Neil Hanrahan
    December 14th, 2013 at 22:14 | #24

    Jack Strocchi makes a coherent sort-of conservative argument for legislating for homosexual marriage and its seems to be the one Malcolm Turnbull espouses. But taking a similar pragmatic approach it might be argued that the remaining minority of those likely to be faithful to traditional ideas of marriage ought to be encouraged because what they bring to stability in the upbringing of the next generation is more important than creating a bit of possibly short term stability in the relationships of adult homosexual couples by adding the excitement of a formal marriage and its celebrations.

    Only half my fairly close relations who are under sixty and have children are married or were when or shortly after they had their children. Their relationships are stable and their children looked after properly regardless of marriage. So I write only as a pragmatist. And as a practical dispassionate observer I wonder why the Commonwealth Parliament doesn’t de facto get out of the marriage business (in anything like the traditional sense) and use its power entirely pragmatically to 1. look after the interests of children. 2. provide some prima facie rules – and rules for their acceptable variation – to ensure that anyone who is not making an entirely private contractual arrangement for cohabitation – once rendered void by the common law but presumably not now – will cause the minimum impact on future tax revenues. With that in mind it seems very strange that homosexual couples who could make private contracts for how their affairs were to be arranged and, if they fell out, go to an ordinary civil court for resolution are afforded the unnecessary luxury of being able to invoke specialist courts where the judge’s discretion will be so ample that huge costs can be run up compared with simply suing on a pre-nup. OK, they haven’t made the suggested contract: no doubt a few prima facie rules can be made by statute to cover common cases and where, eg. a couple has cohabited for at least X months and/or bought a house together and lived in it for Y months.

  25. Alan
    December 15th, 2013 at 04:36 | #25

    @24 What you’re proposing is actually a very old idea. The archaic practice of contract marriage, which was the law in England and Wales before Lord Hardinge’s Act 1753, did not lead to simple and easy resolution of disputes about marriage, children or property.

    Rather, contract marriage led to competing courts, laws and considerable violence against women to prevent them exercising what few rights they possessed against husbands they had not necessarily consented to marry. Contract marriage also encouraged a flourishing industry of ward marriage, child marriage and actual bride abduction, because a man who retained physical control of a woman for a long enough period could claim her person and property in terms of a common law marriage.

    Really easy and simple solutions need to be checked against history.

    A much easier solution is to recognise that LGBT people are not children who need special protection from the evils of marriage, alleged or otherwise. LGBT people are fully capable of making the same choices as other human beings and there is no obvious reason why Tony Abbot, Julia Gillard or anyone else should make that choice on their behalf.

  26. Fran Barlow
    December 15th, 2013 at 08:01 | #26

    @Alan

    What you say is historically accurate, but the context since those days has changed radically. Neither women nor children are regarded as “assets”. Conjugal right and “society of one’s wife” (love that euphemism) has disappeared. We have [email protected] laws. Pre-nuptial agreements are enforceable.

    There’s no reason to doubt that partnership contracts or perhaps even “articles of association” could be written to reflect the will of the parties and their “meeting of the minds”. And of course, even probate is actionable in the courts.

    But even so, I continue to support the recognition that marriages between those capable of informed consent and who have so consented should be recognised by the state regardless of the ostensible gender/sex of the applicants.

  27. Mel
    December 15th, 2013 at 08:49 | #27

    Gillard was certainly a substance free zone. Here is another one of her quotes on marriage:

    I think that there are some important things from our past that need to continue to be part of our present and part of our future,” she said. “If I was in a different walk of life, if I’d continued in the law and was partner of a law firm now, I would express the same view, that I think for our culture, for our heritage, the Marriage Act and marriage being between a man and a woman has a special status.

    dailytelegraph com au/pm-julia-gillard-gay-marriage-against-my-upbringing/story-e6freuy9-1226025009815

    What a reactionary old windbag.

  28. December 15th, 2013 at 09:25 | #28

    To answer your question John – no, there is no coherent argument there that could be applied to public policy. But I guess if she was just expressing her personal feelings about the matter, who cares?

  29. Jim Birch
    December 15th, 2013 at 10:01 | #29

    How would it sound if Gillard had come out and said “Gay marriage is ok with me personally but I’m not going to support it because of the political ramifications. It would create me more enemies than I need.”

    Personally, I’d be more much happy, perhaps delighted, to hear that rather than the sort of airheaded rationalisation that she has to make, and then half believe, but I’m not sure that it would work. And, of course, this isn’t a specific Gillard problem, it’s endemic in the political process. Is (eg) Tony Abbott really a xenophobic racist who hates boat people? I doubt it, it just happens to work with a chunk of Australians so the policy gets rationalised into dumb stories about border protection and so on. This is what you get when politics is driven by aspirations, fears and phobias rather than evidence and management.

  30. Fran Barlow
    December 15th, 2013 at 10:14 | #30

    @Jim Birch

    How would it sound if Gillard had come out and said “Gay marriage is ok with me personally but I’m not going to support it because of the political ramifications. It would create me more enemies than I need.”

    Personally, I’d be more much happy, perhaps delighted, to hear that rather than the sort of airheaded rationalisation that she has to make, and then half believe,

    Hear! Hear! Candour is a great thing. Had she said that, the people who already were unalterably opposed to her regime’s survival would have been chuffed, but those in favour of SSM would have had a clear target other than her. Most of us assumed that was the reason and were insulted by the dissembling by her and on her behalf.

    If she’d gone on to say — we still need to win over more of the holdouts before I can take this forward she’d have deflected much of the irritation.

  31. December 15th, 2013 at 11:41 | #31

    Jack Strocchi makes a coherent sort-of conservative argument for legislating for homosexual marriage and its seems to be the one Malcolm Turnbull espouses.

    I dont know about that. Turnbull, so far as I can gather, is a stock-standard wishy-washy knee jerk liberal on most social issues, eg Henson nude children photos, asylum seekers etc. That is, he believes in e

  32. Alan
    December 15th, 2013 at 12:07 | #32

    @Fran

    I wouldn’t really expect to see Lorna Doone re-enacted if we reverted to contract marriage.

    However, this society has some difficulties already with trafficking in women and children. ‘She signed a contract in Low-income Country X would undoubtedly be used as cover’. There’s also the issue of children and their rights,

    A child who comes within the Family Law Act with its extensive focus on children’s rights and protection issues, and can be the subject of a single order that applies nationwide, is infinitely better off than a child who falls under the various state courts with much less well-developed laws and orders limited to a single state or territory.

    You can do some things by contract but there are huge areas of law and policy where contract is neither viable nor desirable. Apart from anything else children are in no position to consent or not consent to whatever agreements their parents make.

  33. December 15th, 2013 at 12:18 | #33

    Neil Hanrahan @ #24 said

    Jack Strocchi makes a coherent sort-of conservative argument for legislating for homosexual marriage and its seems to be the one Malcolm Turnbull espouses.

    I dont know about that. Turnbull, so far as I can gather, is a stock-standard wishy-washy knee jerk liberal on most social issues, eg Henson nude children photos, asylum seekers. His support for homosexual marriage is of a piece with that. That is, he believes that every person should have equal right to liberty, so long as it does no harm to others. Not exactly the worst position in the world to take, but one that glosses over the hard questions that most post-modern liberals evade or hopelessly muddle: what is a “person”, who should be entitled to “rights”, what does “harm” consist of?

    More generally, liberal moralistic language of rights & entitlements in the absence of duties and obligations leaves me cold. Rights & duties must be based on an underlying view of human nature and social purpose or they are “nonsense on stilts”.

    I am an anthropological realist, basing my social views on the evolution of human nature for given areas & eras, which generates socio-biological conservatism in matters of race, religion and ruler. The evolutionary perspective gives me some political wiggle room to allow for contemporary institutional and instrumental developments.

    The age-old social ostracism of male homosexuals (female homosexuals dont count as evolutionary problems) is based on the innate desire of men, particularly dynastic Alpha-males, to have grand-children to carry on their line. Contemporary HRT allows homosexuals to be biological parents, so it is logical to allow them to get married to facilitate procreation of their family line.

    Moreover forbidding homosexual marriage means homosexual males will continue to be ghettoised in their “gay beats” way past their marriageable age. Which is bad for public health given what they get up to when they start pounding that beat. And it will wind up leaving society to provide aged care facilities for a huge cohort of aging “gay” bachelors. Not a good look.

    So let the homosexuals and drag queens get married already. Although could you liberals please draw the line there, which is the limit of the vestiges of my liberalism. Polygamous, incestuous and bestial marriage (even to your best friend) are a bridge to far.

  34. Sam
    December 15th, 2013 at 13:07 | #34

    Homophobic scumbag deleted. Appears to be http://defeatcommunism.com/profile/TerrieMcCormack

  35. Jeff
    December 15th, 2013 at 13:45 | #35

    The most important thing in reference to Gillard is that this liberal, confused, and utterly incompetent lady is out of office. Anything else is irrelevant.

  36. Julie Thomas
    December 15th, 2013 at 14:56 | #36

    @Jack Strocchi

    I am not sure what an ‘anthropological realist’ is, do you have some sort of definition? It sounds like someone who believes whatever they learned last century and uses self-serving explanations to justify irrational ‘feelings’.

    Your facts about the ‘age-old social ostracism of male homosexuals’ and story about alpha males and their ‘needs’ is just so uninformed that it is sad.

    I can’t see any reason why polygamy or what the other thing where women have lots of men? should not be legal. What’s your problem with that?

  37. Thamsanqa Explains
    December 15th, 2013 at 17:17 | #37

    prawn… rocking horse… prawn… rocking horse…

  38. December 15th, 2013 at 19:17 | #38

    Jack, I absolutely prohibit anything further on this hobbyhorse. To be clear, no further comments from you involving race, culture, genetics, anthropology or any cognate topic. If I decide to vary this ban for a particular thread, I’ll do so, mentioning you by name

  39. David Allen
    December 16th, 2013 at 11:52 | #39

    Is Cory Bernardi the Minister for Hate in Tony Abbott’s cabinet? Just asking.

  40. Troy Prideaux
    December 16th, 2013 at 12:08 | #40

    @David Allen
    Even if there was such a ministerial portfolio, he’d probably be over qualified and with too many conflicts of interests to rightfully participate.

  41. Rob
    December 16th, 2013 at 14:52 | #41

    I don’t understand why they don’t just repeal the Marriage Act and walk away from the “issue” leaving marriage to be a cultural tradition, as defined by the people of Australia.

    Such is the case with engagements, christenings, birthdays, anniversaries, bar mitzvah, etc etc…

  42. J-D
    December 16th, 2013 at 14:56 | #42

    @Julie Thomas
    ‘I can’t see any reason why polygamy or what the other thing where women have lots of men? should not be legal. What’s your problem with that?’

    A polyandrous marriage is one in which one woman marries more than one man. A polygynous marriage is one in which one man marries more than one woman. Strictly speaking, polygamy includes both. However, because polygyny is vastly more common than polyandry (that is, as a socially sanctioned practice), ‘polygamy’ is frequently used as a synecdoche for polygynous marriages only.

  43. J-D
    December 16th, 2013 at 15:10 | #43

    The most obscure part of Gillard’s statement is ‘I think that marriage in our society should play its traditional role …’

    What role does she suppose that is, and why does she think it should continue to be played?

  44. paul walter
    December 17th, 2013 at 02:27 | #44

    I think I understand what she was saying. If you are a free thinker, why bother with the illusionary chimera of marriage, gay or straight, a bourgeois institution and reificationary cutural trap.
    Don’t upset the straights by intruding on their cherished sentimental rituals- it only antagonises them- ignore it and do your own thing with those who want to be with you.
    Of course, from that point you’ve gotta hope they’ll leave you in peace.
    Not Bernardi and co, of course as it turns out, but many of these suffer protracted future shock, as change becomes confusing for them and what we see with the barking is the maifestation of the shock of cherished assumptions undermined and the uncertainty this can create in an individual
    Turnbull is a wordly city liberal, unencumbered by the superstitions and subjectivity of the populist right, but probably is using the issue as a ploy to place himself within the new government hierarchy.
    It wouldn’t bother him one way or the other, he is more like Gillard, although I did read some where that he had converted to catholicism.
    Going back to Fran Barlow, we are expected to know that it’s not personal (unlike as with the likes of Bernardi, a fantasising psychotic), with people like Gillard and Turnbull, merely a tacit acknowledgement of what they and we know history shows happens to politicians who adopt principled public stances on issues.
    Like others I did yearn for Labor to buck the tyranny of the rightist reificationaryapparatus and challenge a few memes, as briefly happened during Rudd’s best days, when the 2007 election platform was laid down. Like Obama, the local non-right also lost its bottle when the establishment leaned on it.
    In the end, Labor retreated on many issues, abandoning advocacy for them to the Greens, but we know now that the Tories would have been even worse, even though we can’t conceive of this being possible.

  45. Alan
    December 17th, 2013 at 09:16 | #45

    If you are a free thinker, why bother with the illusionary chimera of marriage, gay or straight, a bourgeois institution and reificationary cutural trap.

    That a regiment is actually just a restatement of the whole thesis that an airhead incapable of advancing a coherent argument for their position is nevertheless entitled to enforce that position on others without their consent. That the others in question are defined exclusively in terms of sexual orientation merely makes obvious how vicious the argument is.

    It is worth recalling that the Gillard government displayed a certain enthusiasm for substituting its own decisions for other people’s agency – continuing the Intervention, reducing aboriginal autonomy, extending income management to other areas outside the NT, the list goes on.

    ‘I know more about this than you do and your misguided wishes therefore do not count’ is an argument for first year philosophy students.

  46. Alan
    December 17th, 2013 at 09:17 | #46

    Ahem, ‘that argument is…’

  47. QuentinR
    December 17th, 2013 at 10:07 | #47

    Amongst the waffle and bonding with the interviewer, I think she makes two coherent points:

    1. “I think that marriage in our society should play its traditional role …” And by traditional role, I think she means religious. She allows these (religious) people to do what they will, since the subject of the interview appears to be society’s acceptance of same-sex couples and not atheism versus the modern practicalities of one or other religious sect.

    2. Her second point is: ” … we could come up with other institutions which value partnerships, value love, value lifetime commitment.” This seems reasonable, and would include de-facto couples wether same-sex or opposite-sex, probably; and whether there was a ceremony involved or not.

    You (JQ) state: “If I read her correctly, she proposes to do this by stopping some people from getting married at all…” I don’t think you read her correctly – there is no mention of stop, bar, disallow or prohibit in the text.

  48. Alan
    December 17th, 2013 at 10:39 | #48

    I don’t think you read her correctly – there is no mention of stop, bar, disallow or prohibit in the text.

    It is strange to read your comment about a prime minister who endorsed and defended a law that stops, bars, disallows and prohibits persons from marrying in terms of their sexual orientation.

    The rest, frankly, is desperate logic-chopping to try and make this imperious homophobe into a serious thinker and politician.

  49. Tyler
    December 17th, 2013 at 14:19 | #49

    don’t forget voting for said law

  50. paul walter
    December 17th, 2013 at 14:39 | #50

    @Alan It is is not an ethical position in a conversation to misrepresent other person’s proffered view and selectively quote, out of context with the rest of a proposition.
    Fortunately, the readership here will see through such a tactic because they read a person’s take rather than attempting to manipulate it for base purposes.
    In short, re-read my post.. I didn’t endorse the Gillard And Labor position, merely attempted to explain my thoughts as to the approach; why it had developed as it had.
    I said myself that they had backslid on issues of principle, if this coincides with your take, why fore the seeming animosity?
    …………………………..

    I will say, after watching Hockey on ABC a little while ago, that gay marriage may end up being the least of the average Australian’s problems soon- this coincides with my position as to backsliding whilst in government, as the outworking of consequences for that, represented in the entrenchment of a hard right government possessed of far more animus toward (various, not just gay) minorities than any ALP government, even of the New Labor/ right faction type, could conjure of.

  51. Alan
    December 17th, 2013 at 20:23 | #51

    Paul

    I did not mean to direct any criticism at you. I just don’t think the Gillard position is significant enough or authentic enough to merit serious critique.

  52. kevin1
    December 17th, 2013 at 20:33 | #52

    While I originally just saw her prolix explanation as deliberately obfuscatory, maybe it is just a visceral rather than cerebral posture, influenced by her personal history and not easily transmitted to the Town Hall stage for parsing by anonymous others. She’s got feet of clay like everyone else, but my “feeling” is that she is not a scheming serial liar like so many of the Liberals.

    I mean why do I continue with Melb Football Club?

  53. Alan
    December 17th, 2013 at 23:20 | #53

    Nonsense is still nonsense whether it’s prime ministerial nonsense, visceral nonsense, intellectual nonsense or all three. If you’re prime minister your job is to think about these things.

  54. Geoff Andrews
    December 18th, 2013 at 07:13 | #54

    @Alan

    Present company excepted of course (?)

  55. J-D
    December 18th, 2013 at 07:46 | #55

    @paul walter
    If you think the traditional role of marriage is to be a ‘reificationary cultural trap’, why would you think that marriage should continue to play that role?

  56. Paul Norton
    December 18th, 2013 at 09:00 | #56

    Gillard’s description of attitudes to marriage in the milieu she inhabited in the twenties (which was much the same milieu as I inhabited and in which I got to know her at the time) is pretty accurate.

    The rest of her quoted remarks display the sort of incoherence one might expect from an intelligent secularist attempting to rationalise a position that she doesn’t really believe but that she has felt constrained to adopt for political reasons that can’t be stated openly.

  57. paul walter
    December 18th, 2013 at 09:14 | #57

    There you go. The last comment, indicates why he teaches and the likes of us learn.

  58. Paul Norton
    December 18th, 2013 at 09:15 | #58

    The nearest comparison I can think of is the nonsense that Bob Carr would sometimes come out with in support of some positions of the Right-dominated NSW Labor Caucus (such as on crime statistics in 1994 and 4WDs in 2001). It was almost as if he was engaged in a Straussian exercise of communicating his view of the absurdity of the policies in a coded way through his risible defence of them.

  59. J-D
    December 18th, 2013 at 09:44 | #59

    @QuentinR
    Anybody who is in favour of marriage playing a religious role (and no other) should be in favour of completely removing it from secular law. The involvement of the state in a religious practice is bad for the state and bad for religion.

    Fred Clark is (unlike me) devoutly religious, which is the basis of his blog, ‘Slacktivist’. His first marriage was performed, in a religious service, by an Episcopalian minister. The hospital where his first wife was born had burned down and as a result there was some difficulty in getting hold of the birth certificate required by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as a condition of issuing a marriage licence. They got the paperwork done in time, but when it looked as if they might not be able to, Fred Clark suggested to the Episcopalian priest/minister that he could perform the ceremony anyway. That would make the couple married as far as they and the people they cared about were concerned — married in the religious sacramental sense. The State’s secular paperwork could be taken care of later. Fred Clark pointed out that if the Episcopalian Church was prepared to declare the couple married with the authority of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, that should be enough without the additional authority of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. But the Episcopalian Church would have none of it.

    A few years later a couple of Fred Clark’s friends were married in a Unitarian church. This couple weren’t able to get a marriage certificate from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the Unitarian minister married them without any authority from the State. The minister didn’t think that mattered and neither did the church congregation, the couple, or the people they cared about.

    Google “uncivil union””slacktivist” and then “uncivil unions””slacktivist” to read Fred Clark’s own account of these events.

  60. paul walter
    December 18th, 2013 at 09:47 | #60

    Jd, because it is a cultural reificationary trap.
    Who thinks of the implications of Paul Norton’s last remark?
    Depressing, isn’t it (viewed from a certain point of view, in this “relative” universe of ours).

  61. J-D
    December 18th, 2013 at 11:33 | #61

    @paul walter
    I’m not clear on what a ‘cultural reificationary trap’ is, but it sounds as if it’s probably a bad thing, and if it is a bad thing then it shouldn’t continue, it should stop (or be stopped).

    On your other point, it may be that people sometimes feel constrained to say things that are wrong and that they know are wrong, and it may also be that they sometimes try to say them in ways that will hint to the perceptive that they know what they are saying is wrong. However, if Julia Gillard says there are good reasons for the law to enable marriage between opposite-sex partners but not between same-sex partners, the statement is wrong, and nothing about her attitude when making it can alter that.

  62. Alan
    December 18th, 2013 at 12:01 | #62

    @Geoff Andrews

    Nah, were we not free to utter nonsense my presence (at least) on JQ’s comment threads would shrink dramatically. On the other hand, my nonsense is easy for people to contest.

  63. Geoff Andrews
    December 18th, 2013 at 14:08 | #63

    @Alan

    I’m afraid my comment (#4) was a bit too obscure.
    I was referring your comment (#3), that it is a prime minister’s job to think about such things, to our current (present) PM’s inability to “think about such things”.

  64. paul walter
    December 18th, 2013 at 15:46 | #64

    I’ve actually had a snooze and a rethink.
    There IS, of course, an element of inscribed and perhaps even conscious, prejudice in the position.. must follow from the rest.
    There was also the element of social conservatism in the approach to Assange, to refugee asylum seekers, concerning aborigines and with single parents.
    Not totally pathological, but as I look deep into my own heart too, I know the accusation to have some merit.. to assert other is delusional, especially considering some of the tendentious responses to events arising, also.
    Not Klan stuff, not the vile psychosis of a Bernardi, but stuff from childhood and the schoolyard sticks, more likely a snicker and reflex recoil.
    Humanity and culture are not going to change overnight.

  65. Alan
    December 19th, 2013 at 00:14 | #65

    @paul walter

    In a certain sense Gillard and Abbot were each other’s creations. They certainly shared a ‘visceral’ approach to some welfare and security issues. That is not saying that Gillard’s overall politics were anywhere faintly near as reactionary as Abbot’s.

    It’s instructive for instance, to think about how Gillard would have dealt with the SBY spying revelations. On the other hand I’m certain she would not have casually declared Japan an ally and joined the US and japan in confronting China in the South China Sea.

  66. QuentinR
    December 19th, 2013 at 09:52 | #66

    J-D :@QuentinR Anybody who is in favour of marriage playing a religious role (and no other) should be in favour of completely removing it from secular law. The involvement of the state in a religious practice is bad for the state and bad for religion.

    Thanks. I agree, and I think Julia Gillard does too. As I said, she makes two points; the first is that “I think that marriage in our society should play its traditional role …” and “traditional” = “religious”, in my opinion. And secondly: “… we could come up with other institutions which value partnerships, value love, value lifetime commitment.” I think this is where your reference to secular law applies.

    The problem we have at present is that our (Australian) secular law uses the term “marriage” based on centuries/millennia(?) old Christian ideologies. Our MARRIAGE ACT 1961 needs to be updated to cover “… other institutions which value partnerships, value love, value lifetime commitment.” – Julia’s second coherent point.

  67. QuentinR
    December 19th, 2013 at 09:59 | #67

    First paragraph was quote from J-D, in relation to my #47 post. Next two paragraphs are my further comment.

  68. J-D
    December 20th, 2013 at 09:23 | #68

    QuentinR:

    Possibly you are in favour of amending Australian secular law so that it contains no references of any kind to marriage but does deal with secular institutions designed to value partnerships, love, and lifetime commitment. But if that’s what Julia Gillard has in mind, she’s not making it clear.

  69. Alan
    December 20th, 2013 at 10:10 | #69

    And even if the parliament were to engage in the rather pointless legislative exercise of secularising what is already a secular institution, Gillard still has to answer whether everyone is allowed to form secular unions or whether she would continue to exclude anyone from secular unions in terms of their sexual orientation. perhaps heterosexuals could have secular unions and LGBT people could have very secular unions.

    it is probably a good thing, in both the US and Australia, that when bans on interracial marriage were abolished, no-one was around to propose either the secularisation of marriage or the introduction of transracial unions.

  70. Donald Oats
    December 20th, 2013 at 10:28 | #70

    BTW, the word “marriage” is prior to any Christian religion’s existence, by a long shot. Marriage, therefore, as a definition, was not in any way the exclusive construct of the Christian religions. To interpret the meaning of marriage so narrowly as to associate it only with Christian religions, or religion in general, is a serious mistake, albeit one that is easy to make. The Christian religions, and many others, simply exploit their societal position to frame the discussion as if they own the term—they most emphatically do not.

    If, on the other hand, we take the position that Christian religions own the term “marriage”, then it is also fair to say that they own the term “divorce”, and all the restrictions upon when divorce is moral/admitted. And yet, we have no trouble allowing divorce and associating a whole stack of legal remedies, etc, few of which are admissible within the Christian religions’s parameters around divorce. An asymmetry between the way we as a society treat marriage and divorce, conceptually and religiously, certainly exists. Where is the mirror argument over the modifications to the religious meaning of divorce, and of its legal consequences/remedies, etc? Deafening silence.

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