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The SSM survey – some thoughts

By John Hargreaves 11 September 2017 32

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As many of you would know I’m going to vote YES in the survey about same sex marriage. But in thinking about it some more and talking to a range of people I can make a few observations.

This is about two people wanting to celebrate like everyone else their love for and commitment to each other. This ceremony affects no one, other than the couple taking part. In all probability, like many couples these days, the bridal party has been living together for some time before the wedding anyway. And quite possibly have kids about their households.

An aside if I may. Advancing the NO case, that lady who said her son was told that he could wear a skirt to school was objecting to what? She was sprouting the God-bothering mantra without thinking. She should remember that the Pope, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Coptic Pope all wear dresses. The Pope’s is a bit ordinary cos it’s just white where the other guys have multi-coloured dresses.

And what about the Royal Scots Guards? The traditional Greek army uniform, the Beefeaters and the Swiss Guards who look after the Pope in the Vatican? Is she going to tell the Fijian Police not to wear a skirt?

She should get real and the advertising intellectual dwarves who thought that zinger up ought to refund the money they were paid.

Back to my other observations. It seems to me that the hoo hah is all about the definition of one word – marriage. So… if I go to a registered marriage celebrant who is not a member of the clergy, I wed my wife in a civil marriage ceremony. We have a civil union. The civil union is called marriage for the purposes of legislation. Some of the NO case adherents say is it ok for people to enter a civil union but not to get married. To me, it is the same thing and their position doesn’t make sense.

Marriage is just a civil union! Hello!

Just as divorce is the undoing of a union and the churches don’t have a say in formalizing divorces do they?

But the waters are muddied when the clergy become a two-headed monster – a professional God-botherer and a civil marriage celebrant. The clergy are appointed as marriage celebrants under the Marriage Act. Their deity didn’t do it. That they choose to meld the two roles doesn’t make the meld right. The clergy doesn’t have a mortgage over the word marriage nor any right to define its meaning.

The funny thing is that people out there and the clergy included, don’t say that they have a mortgage over the terms birth and death.  They recognise that in both cases, the event is registered with the State and any related ceremony is quite and distinctly separate. Indeed the clergy don’t certify either a birth certificate or a death certificate. So why should they claim proprietary ownership of the bit in the middle?

The State registers births, deaths and marriages through a registrar. It is the official record by the State of such happenings and it is such registration which gives legality to a heap of other transactions which can follow. Indeed on a birth certificate it asks the name of the father and mother but doesn’t ask if they are married or indeed in a union.

There is a huge inconsistency here which people seem to be ducking.

So in my mind, this Gumment wants to spend $122 million on whether the definition of marriage is actually just civil union and is asking us whether the non-hetero folks among us can be united in a civil (marriage) ceremony. They are not asking whether they can be united in a religious ceremony cos they have no right to legislate how religious groups conduct their affairs. And the God-botherers know it.

I’m writing this after the High Court delivered its verdict on the legitimacy of the Advance from the Minister for Finance of the $122 million and I’m stunned with the result. Spending money without Appropriation is illegal. Cormann has dodged a bullet.

The Advance must satisfy two tests – that of urgency and that of an unforeseen nature. Blind Freddy can tell you that we all knew that the Gumment wanted a plebiscite, a test of the voters will or intention, a survey of how we all felt. They were spruiking it at the last election. It was not unforeseen.

Urgent? Because they got knocked back twice by the Senate? Perhaps the only urgency is that their noses got bloodied and this is their Custer’s Last Stand. But urgent? Nuh! What will happen if the survey doesn’t go ahead. Bugger all – that’s what!

The High Court must have ruled merely on the technicalities of the law not the intention of the original drafters.

But there is a little something that’s got under the radar. If the High Court had ruled that the expenditure was illegitimate (read illegal) the survey wouldn’t have been sent out. Or so the media told us. But hadn’t the survey forms already been printed, the envelopes printed, the software to do the counting upgraded? In other words, hasn’t there been some expenditure already? And this expenditure might have been without Appropriation. Given that the issue wasn’t unforeseen and was not urgent, it was a bit of a gamble on Cormann’s part.  Another bullet dodged.

The Minister for Finance could have OK’d illegal expenditure. This has brought down Gumments before.

One of the naughty things Kate Carnell did when Chief Hamster of the ACT was to take out a loan on the 30th of June to be repaid on 1 July when funds flowed. But in fact, the interest of that overnight loan when paid to the lender was without Appropriation. And I understand that in NSW (perhaps the Commonwealth too) it is a jailable offence. I might be wrong about this but you can see the seriousness of it.

The Gumment said it was all ok cos the rules are that if the Minister for Finance thinks something is urgent and /or unforeseen then they are. If he thinks it is! Say what?

All a bit cavalier to my mind.

This whole thing has been a dog’s brekkie. But think about the position of the Prime Hamster. He figured that if the survey got through, the people will back his YES position. If the High Court knocked it off, he could say to his ultra-righties – Hey guys, not my fault you blew it! Told you so! Ha Ha. He couldn’t lose either way. You could see it written all over his face in QT.

And finally, you don’t get to vote in a survey. It is a non-binding opinion poll. It is not a referendum, not a plebiscite and something being conducted by a statistical agency whose credibility is at an all-time low.

The whole thing fills me with confidence – Not!

PS: for those who say I’m being abusive by calling folks God-botherers, I’ve been doing that for years to describe those who communicate with imaginary friends. Nothing new here.

What’s Your opinion?


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32 Responses to
The SSM survey – some thoughts
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No_Nose 11:44 am 14 Sep 17

dungfungus said :

From the Canberra Times on Wednesday (SMH link used) comes “more quality comment and analysis”; certainly without all the emotion and hype that is coming from one side of the debate:

http://www.smh.com.au/comment/tony-abbott-on-why-same-sex-marriage-would-fundamentally-change-society-20170912-gyfi4f.html

What a strange article! I read it a number of times trying to find its premis but I really can’t see it.

The best synopsis I can come up with of what the author is trying to say is “I think gays shouldn’t be allowed to marry. I have no real arguement as to why, so I’ll just throw around some vagueries about how it will somehow destroy society in some unspecified manner if they are allowed’

Like I said…very strange!

dungfungus 9:25 pm 13 Sep 17

bigred said :

dungfungus said :

mddawson said :

I will be voting Yes purely on the basis of fairness. I can imagine the furore if any other group in Australia were singled out to be denied a basic right available to the rest of the population. Imagine the outrage if Marriage Act prevented marriage between people from different ethnic backgrounds. To single out same sex couples as being unworthy of marriage is discrimination.

What about people over 65 who are excluded from the NDIS? You won’t find a better demographic discrimination than that and I dare say that group numbers more than the 1% which represent your group.

You are being misleading here. NDIS is closed to new entrants over 65, but does not boot people out for turning 65. When I asked the question of those who know, I was advised that over 65 year old folk were the responsibility of the aged care services.

Please provide a link/source.

dungfungus 9:23 pm 13 Sep 17

From the Canberra Times on Wednesday (SMH link used) comes “more quality comment and analysis”; certainly without all the emotion and hype that is coming from one side of the debate:

http://www.smh.com.au/comment/tony-abbott-on-why-same-sex-marriage-would-fundamentally-change-society-20170912-gyfi4f.html

bigred 5:13 pm 13 Sep 17

dungfungus said :

mddawson said :

I will be voting Yes purely on the basis of fairness. I can imagine the furore if any other group in Australia were singled out to be denied a basic right available to the rest of the population. Imagine the outrage if Marriage Act prevented marriage between people from different ethnic backgrounds. To single out same sex couples as being unworthy of marriage is discrimination.

What about people over 65 who are excluded from the NDIS? You won’t find a better demographic discrimination than that and I dare say that group numbers more than the 1% which represent your group.

You are being misleading here. NDIS is closed to new entrants over 65, but does not boot people out for turning 65. When I asked the question of those who know, I was advised that over 65 year old folk were the responsibility of the aged care services.

wildturkeycanoe 11:51 am 13 Sep 17

No_Nose said :

There is one question being asked in this postal opinion poll…nothing else.

That is what people should be voting on. Not a bunch of hypothetical ‘what-ifs.’

Yet it is the hypothetical arguments surrounding the rights of married people that are driving the issue. Spousal rights of gay partners, which come under laws relating to the marriage act, are the primary reason for the vote if I am not mistaken. The pro lobby isn’t looking to change people’s attitudes on gay marriage so that everyone feels warm and fuzzy, they are fighting for legal recognition, which will open up all manner of hypothetical outcomes which don’t seem to be under discussion. It’s all about the catch-phrase “human rights” and “discrimination” but those in the pro campaign are highlighting the emotional side of the debate instead of convincing the “no” camp of the laws they want equal rights to apply.

chewy14 10:14 am 13 Sep 17

No_Nose said :

wildturkeycanoe said :

Ss this entire argument boils down apparently to “human rights”, why stop at gay marriage? Why not make polygamy legal as well, as it is allowed in many other cultures? I’m sure that’d make decisions such as who gets to turn off a person’s life support and who gets the deceased estate real easy to work out. Then kids can also have several mums or dads to choose from, as apparently only the quality of parenting matters, not who or how many parents there are.
Yes, I just looked it up and polygamy is illegal according to the human rights laws (laws based on western culture? might I add), so how can we truly embrace multiculturalism with such a racist mandate determining which cultures have the right to practise their beliefs?
I have detracted from the path, but if one parent, hetero parents, bi or gay parents are okay then why not an unlimited number of people who truly love each other? After all, “love is love” isn’t it?

There is one question being asked in this postal opinion poll…nothing else.

That is what people should be voting on. Not a bunch of hypothetical ‘what-ifs.’

Having said that, I actually think that anyone who is planning to vote in this expensive farce has already made up their mind and no arguement will sway their vote anyway.

(For the record although I don’t agree with the process and find it repugnant, because the people we elect to do a job are too spineless to do their job, it is what we have been dealt. So I will reluctantly participate as failing to do so is even worse)

So the one question being asked should be given a critical view and the arguments presented by each side should be weighed up against each other.

In this case, the YES side’s main argument has been that they want “equality” and to end discrimination, whereas the NO side’s main argument has been about tradition/religion and resistance to changing the definition of marriage.

Without getting too far into what Marriage actually is for, as Wildturkeycanoe has shown, the proposals on the YES side will not end up in equality and marriage will still remain a discriminatory institution, so how is their argument any more logically valid than the NO camp’s? Answer: It isn’t.

So it all boils down to simple preference of the definition of marriage, a simple popularity contest, which the YES camp should win comfortably if years of polling is to be believed.

chewy14 10:07 am 13 Sep 17

JC said :

bigred said :

What John has not covered in his somewhat provocative piece is why the state, in a modern secular society, needs to regulate marriage or whatever you want to call it? Seems to me, a wedding is a bit of a party during which two people tell their family and friends about their commitment to each other. It is a social gathering, that has a legal formality attached. All I can see about having a formal marriage certificate and associated entry on a register held by the State is it is harder and more expensive to get out of if it all turns to custard at some stage.

You are right for the most part. So in which case why is this such a big issue? Let everyone be treated the same.

Because no current proposal actually results in “everyone being treated the same”, it simply changes the definition of marriage to one that is favoured by SSM proponents. It’s still discriminatory and doesn’t end up in “equality” of any sort.

The government shouldn’t be in the marriage business at all and it’s time that an unnecessary government overreach into people’s personal lives is removed.

No_Nose 8:57 am 13 Sep 17

wildturkeycanoe said :

Ss this entire argument boils down apparently to “human rights”, why stop at gay marriage? Why not make polygamy legal as well, as it is allowed in many other cultures? I’m sure that’d make decisions such as who gets to turn off a person’s life support and who gets the deceased estate real easy to work out. Then kids can also have several mums or dads to choose from, as apparently only the quality of parenting matters, not who or how many parents there are.
Yes, I just looked it up and polygamy is illegal according to the human rights laws (laws based on western culture? might I add), so how can we truly embrace multiculturalism with such a racist mandate determining which cultures have the right to practise their beliefs?
I have detracted from the path, but if one parent, hetero parents, bi or gay parents are okay then why not an unlimited number of people who truly love each other? After all, “love is love” isn’t it?

There is one question being asked in this postal opinion poll…nothing else. That is what people should be voting on. Not a bunch of hypothetical ‘what-ifs.’

Having said that, I actually think that anyone who is planning to vote in this expensive farce has already made up their mind and no arguement will sway their vote anyway.

(For the record although I don’t agree with the process and find it repugnant, because the people we elect to do a job are too spineless to do their job, it is what we have been dealt. So I will reluctantly participate as failing to do so is even worse)

wildturkeycanoe 6:28 am 13 Sep 17

Ss this entire argument boils down apparently to “human rights”, why stop at gay marriage? Why not make polygamy legal as well, as it is allowed in many other cultures? I’m sure that’d make decisions such as who gets to turn off a person’s life support and who gets the deceased estate real easy to work out. Then kids can also have several mums or dads to choose from, as apparently only the quality of parenting matters, not who or how many parents there are.
Yes, I just looked it up and polygamy is illegal according to the human rights laws (laws based on western culture? might I add), so how can we truly embrace multiculturalism with such a racist mandate determining which cultures have the right to practise their beliefs?
I have detracted from the path, but if one parent, hetero parents, bi or gay parents are okay then why not an unlimited number of people who truly love each other? After all, “love is love” isn’t it?

dungfungus 9:49 pm 12 Sep 17

mddawson said :

dungfungus said :

What about people over 65 who are excluded from the NDIS? You won’t find a better demographic discrimination than that and I dare say that group numbers more than the 1% which represent your group.

You are right dungfungus, however this thread is about marriage laws, not the NDIS. Hopefully when all the government misdirection over marriage equality is over, they will look at removing discrimination from all their policies.

You were the one who strayed into other areas, including discrimination, by referring to the suggestion that if people from different ethnic backgrounds were prevented from marrying because of the Marriage Act there would be outrage,and at the same time you also say this thread is about the marriage laws (only). That being the case, the marriage law you refer to defines marriage as being between a man and a woman only and doesn’t mention ethnicity.

By the way, I don’t believe the current YES campaign is just about “marriage equality”. You even suggest that in a veiled form.

No_Nose 8:47 pm 12 Sep 17

dungfungus said :

What about people over 65 who are excluded from the NDIS? You won’t find a better demographic discrimination than that and I dare say that group numbers more than the 1% which represent your group.

What about them? How is that relevant to whether two consenting adults should be denied the right to marry? And why should the numbers affected matter? Human rights and basic dignity should be available for all.

Also, who do you say ‘your group’? It is quite possible to oppose and be disgusted by discrimination against many groups worldwide at the same time…whether you are part of that group or not.

JC 8:20 pm 12 Sep 17

bigred said :

What John has not covered in his somewhat provocative piece is why the state, in a modern secular society, needs to regulate marriage or whatever you want to call it? Seems to me, a wedding is a bit of a party during which two people tell their family and friends about their commitment to each other. It is a social gathering, that has a legal formality attached. All I can see about having a formal marriage certificate and associated entry on a register held by the State is it is harder and more expensive to get out of if it all turns to custard at some stage.

You are right for the most part. So in which case why is this such a big issue? Let everyone be treated the same.

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