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National Day of Action for Marriage Equality

By Passy 28 July 2008 114

Marriage equality

In the coming week or so there will be demonstrations around Australia for equal marriage rights for gays and lesbians and for their right to adopt.

[ED – In the interests of local topicallity let it be noted that the Canberra demonstration will be at 1.30 pm on Saturday 2 August in Garema Place]

Many people will attend out of a sense of fairness. It is only just that any person, irrespective of sexual orientation, has equal rights with others.

But we need to go further and understand the roots of homophobia in our society to begin to see how to overcome this deep seated reaction.

The forces against gay marriage are numerous. Half a million of them were in Sydney a few weeks ago.

But it would be a mistake to attribute anti-gay sentiment to religion alone. Certainly many religious groups (but not all) have taken up the cudgels of anti-homosexual propaganda as their power and influence over society has weakened.

Historically it is not even the case that the rise of Christianity coincided with the rise of anti-same sex laws.

The decline of the power of the Roman Empire (before Constantine converted to Christianity) saw it begin to tax its own citizens to save itself. Prior to this decline the wealth of the Empire had been built solely on slaves.

As its own citizens became part of the exploited classes through taxation, the Emperors enacted laws banning all sexual activity (not just same sex activity) that did not lead to procreation. Anal sex, homosexuality, bestiality were all non-productive and so were banned. The thinking was that by doing this there would be more Roman citizens to exploit.

This is precisely the thinking that led the ruling elite under capitalism to attack homosexuality. Indeed the word homosexuality was not known until the late 19th Century when the anti-same sex campaign reached full expression.

Why then?

Capitalism had waged a long campaign to drive peasants off the land and into the factories in the cities.

But for capitalism to continue, it needs its next generation of workers. The family provides the perfect solution for the employing class to bring that about.

A stereotypical family – male breadwinner, with wife and children as chattels – creates that future group of workers, at little cost to those who benefit, the bosses. The cost is borne by the bread winner and more immediately his wife.

This model, to be successful, needed to be enforced on workers who showed little enthusiasm initially for this family. Criminalising homosexual activity was one aspect of this enforcement.

The Christian Churches were an accessory to this, partly because their rules on sexuality developed at a time when the Roman State had banned homosexual activity and Catholicism was about to take over that State.

The Church’s sleeping seed of rabid homophobia was given new life with the rise of capitalism. This gave power to the Churches as they struggled against the ideas of the enlightenment and rational thought.

The women’s liberation movement in the 60s and 70s broke the shackles of the family as the bedrock of society. The uneasy compromise capitalism reached with that movement – women as both workers and carers – opened up a space for those in same sex relationships.

Couple this with the fact that the 60s were truly a time of ferment and challenge to the ruling order, and militant demonstrations for homosexual rights saw the old anti-homosexual criminal laws swept away in many Western countries.

Some, like Spain, have now recognised gay marriage.

But make no mistake. The nature of capitalism is such that it still sees the family unit as the best model for cheaply producing the next generation of workers.

Hence, while accepting the reality of gay relationships, many (like Howard and Rudd) still hanker for the old days when women were brood mares for capital and homosexuality a crime.

Those days are gone, but the forces of reaction will try to wind back the gains if they can. They have popular allies in many of the churches and among more backward elements of society.

These demonstrations are an important step in defending and extending the rights of gays and lesbians to equality. The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.

John Passant is a Canberra writer. He will be attending the Canberra demonstration beginning at 1.30 pm on Saturday 2 August in Garema Place.

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National Day of Action for Marriage Equality
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neanderthalsis 11:18 am 31 Jul 08

now he’s a Canberra yobbo. At least 2 rungs up on the social ladder.

Aurelius 11:07 am 31 Jul 08

Neanderthalsis above is right. It’s much easier for someone to move up the scale these days. Todd Carney was once a Goulburn yobbo!

Loquaciousness 11:05 am 31 Jul 08

Simbo, very well put. Thanks for sharing 🙂

L

neanderthalsis 10:50 am 31 Jul 08

Passy said :

The world is divded into workers and boses (in the main). we workers sell our labour. The bosses won the factories, mines, offices and so forth. Theya re the capitalists ebcasue they won the very things essential to produce goods and service, and allw e own is our ability to work.

The one true beauty of modern capitalism is the ease of transition between the roles of worker and boss (to use your terminology). Many of the leaders of industry in Australia today started their lives on the factory floor. Given that by the ABS 2004 Small Business figures there were 1,660,000 owner / operators of non-agricultural small / medium enterprises, add in the farm boys and you have nearly a quarter of the Australian workforce as one of your so-called bosses.

The days of Victorian England are behind us. Now your average coal miner can earn more that someone on the back bench in the federal parliament, in fact I’m sure that many Canberrans in mid – senior level PS jobs earn more than a backbencher. We don’t have bosses and workers any more, we have what I like to call the “prostitute model”. Everyone sells themselves, in some form, to the highest bidder. Some sell their bodies (physical labour) some, like me who would get bugger all for my body, sell their mental capacity. We all do it, from Don Argus down to the 16yo behind the counter at MacDonalds.

As a nation we have become increasingly secular, whilst a solid portion of the population identify themselves as Christian, many are non-practicing. Church going numbers are exceptionally low.

Most people a very strongly libertarian, more than willing to let other people do what they want as long as it does not adversly effect our standard of living. Thus the reason many people aren’t supportive of gay marriage, is because they honestly don’t care. they did that quick mental calculation of “will this affect me?” came up with the conclusion that no it won’t and subsequently switched off.

It is not a sexy cause either, it is not saving a cute little fur seal from being clubbed by a mean old eskimo, it will not stop a tree from being cut down, it won’t reduce inflation or make petrol cheaper, so the rest of us couldn’t give a flying bucket of monkey pus.

jakez 9:43 am 31 Jul 08

Thumper said :

<

We should chip in and buy him a copy of Schama’s History of Britain.

He’d probably just write a Marxist critique of it and post it on here.

Thumper 8:18 am 31 Jul 08

I was talking of the extreme left’s tendency to hyperbole, exaggeration, distortions of history and general rejoicing in their predictions of doom. If you know who he is, have an online look at some of the stuff this guy writes.

I would say that this is also my main gripe. The sentiments and ideas may be worthy but coming from such a background they appear to be a deliberate lie using any method possible to get an idea across. Orwell would be rolling in his grave.

And this is a perfect example. many people here would ne, or are quite supportive of the gay marraige thing, yet someone like Passant starts ranting about capitalism, Romans, religious groups, families (all very selectively)and it shows that he doesn’t really care about the issue but cares more about pushing his less than factual marxist agenda.

As proof, read what Simbo said.

We should chip in and buy him a copy of Schama’s History of Britain.

imhotep 12:14 am 31 Jul 08

@ Tom Tom. You may be right. The website I read said that the ‘BBQ’ was held during work time. Other sites say it was lunch time. Either way, it was a union meeting, not a BBQ.

If you read my post, you may have noticed that I wasn’t actually discussing the merits of the the possible jailing of Mr. Washington.

I was talking of the extreme left’s tendency to hyperbole, exaggeration, distortions of history and general rejoicing in their predictions of doom. If you know who he is, have an online look at some of the stuff this guy writes.

Anyway, since you’re so keen, here’s some other of Passy’s claims you can defend:

“…many (like Howard and Rudd) still hanker for the old days when women were brood mares for capital and homosexuality a crime.” Oh really? He knows them? Both?

…”But for capitalism to continue, it needs its next generation of workers…criminalizing homosexual activity was one aspect of this enforcement.”
(edited, but the thrust of it is that evil capitalists banned homosexuality to create more workers. Who knew?)

And his ‘history’ of the Roman Empire? I’m sure he’s read all of Marx, but I don’t think he’s read much Gibbon. But you may be right about the lunch time thing. Enjoy.

.

Thumper 10:13 pm 30 Jul 08

Well put Simbo. Very well put.

I-filed 10:12 pm 30 Jul 08

Hopefully the gays petitioning for equality on this front do not include any of the nepotistic luvvies in my workplace (a collecting institution). I have never seen such open, unabashed, unashamed nepotism in a public service context.

simbo 9:55 pm 30 Jul 08

Okay, I’m a gay bloke. And, should I meet another gay bloke I want to spend the rest of my life with, I’d like to get hitched to him. I generaly think that marriage is a civil institution, NOT a religious one – most weddings nowadays take place outside of a church, and with no religious implications whatsoever.

And people like Passy annoy the living hell out of me. I was actually involved in the first of this year’s civil union rallies – as part of the planning and preparations for a rally in support of the ACT government’s process. It was a good rally – up until one member of the group decided that, despite the planning process deliberately having decided AGAINST having a big march, a member of the group suddenly grabbed a megaphone and declared we were all marching to Garema Place. Who was it? Oh, my gosh, it would be the one who had friends from Resistance along for the ride. The professional rabble-rousers.

I object to people like Passy who aren’t really invested in my cause at all – they just find it a perfectly viable excuse to sound off on all sorts of irrelevant, inappropriate stuff. You care about gay marriage or you don’t because you believe two people who love each other and want to spend the rest of their lives together should be able to do that without impedement or other drama. You don’t care about it because of the socio-political history of Capitalism.

tom-tom 9:10 pm 30 Jul 08

imhotep, the meeting was held off site, outside of work hours and was over a bbq, get your facts straight.

the cfmeu organiser is being threatend with jail for refusing to answer questions from the ABCC and betraying his members privacy, not just for having the bbq.

there are a lot more horror stories about the ABCC floating around if you want to do some research; try looking up the 19yr old who was targetted after his workmate was seriously injured, or the uni lecturer who was targetted after overhearing a union meeting.

i’d suggest passy might actually have more of a clue than you about this

Thumper 8:40 pm 30 Jul 08

Yep, sure have…..

imhotep 8:08 pm 30 Jul 08

Thumper said :

(Thumper) ‘…intellectual is someone who cares more about their own ideaology than they do about people.’

Funny you should say that Thumper. Have you noticed that the extreme left (along with religious extremists) are always talking about some looming apocalypse, (with seeming glee).

They don’t seem too worried about all the misery that would accompany some global meltdown, so long as it vindicated their particular ideology.

Aurelius 8:01 pm 30 Jul 08

Passy,
I rarely criticise spelling in online forums. But your #98 rant borders on illegibility. If you call yourself a writer, you are sadly mistaken.

6

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