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.