What the last Q and A didn't answer

I watched the last Q and A with a mix of horror and revulsion.  Not because of what was said - but because of what wasn't.  Katy Faust and Brendan O'Neill simply had too many free kicks.  And I'm afraid many in the Australian public think they actually landed goals.

Here's what I think:

Katy Faust can't get past the fact that marriage and having kids are two different things. LGBTI people can, and already are, having children - and have been legally recognised as parents in most Australian jurisdictions for some time. Allowing LGBTI people to marry won't "increase" this - it will just give long-deserved equal recognition to the legal status of people in committed long-term relationships, regardless of their gender.

Katy, you can't keep blithely assuming that "marriage is about having children". It isn't. More and more people aren't getting married but are still having kids. Many people are getting married but aren't having kids.

You say want to "keep all options on the table" (including a gay partnership) in case adoption is required for a "broken home". Yet at the same time, you don't like the idea of LGBTI unions being given equal recognition because it might "lead to more gay parenting". These viewpoints seem contradictory to me.

Do you really think that preserving a discrimination that presently exists under Australian law will lead to more "gayness" - and more "gay parenting"? Seriously Katy: people will continue to do what they have always done, families will continue to exist in a variety of "non-standard" forms - regardless of the recognition they receive under the law.

When you give LGBTI partnerships equal recognition, all that changes is the respect we accord to the partners - and any children who happen to be raised by them.

Of course you're right on one count - both mothers and fathers are important to children (just as men and women both need to be represented in Parliament - a point you gleefully made).

But honestly - how many people do you think actually get the archetypal heterosexual nuclear family with father and mother both playing out their parental roles to near perfection?  Do you live in a 1950s sitcom?  The real world is very, very different.  In it, we take what we can.  One thing is for certain: nothing you nor I do is going to suddenly change the fact that a staggering number of people make absolutely horrid parents - and that a loving couple of the same gender is 1,000 times better than the wreckage left behind when you get dreadful heterosexual parenting.  You seem to forget that the primary thing that matters to children when it comes to their parents isn't gender: it's love.

And don't forget that people do what they do, regardless of the law.  No law is going to change the fact that people of the same gender are presently raising, and will continue to raise, children.  Recognising this is, as my mate Dave likes to say, "calling a running dog".  It's the obvious thing to do - as well as the decent/kind/fair thing to do.

Anyway, if you're that concerned about gay parents being "sub optimal", then why not campaign for legislation to "ban gay parenting (except where it is the only option left on the table)"?

Good luck with that.

But this has nothing to do with the question of marriage. And really, you should know this.

Oh - and all those studies and UN conventions to which you referred that apparently support your stand against gay parenting?  It turns out they don't.

Brendan O'Neill, on the other hand, is really crying foul about the fact that it is no longer socially acceptable to discriminate against LGBTI people. And with any luck, the last discrimination institutionalised under law (the fact that LGBTI people can't get married) will also soon be removed.

Poor Brendan.

He reminds me of the racists who lamented the fact that they were being "vilified for their beliefs" during in the civil rights era.  Or, more recently, during the dying days of apartheid in South Africa (I was there to see it).  I'm pretty sure even he would re-evaluate his anger at being "shouted down" for "raising issues" with "same sex marriage" if the latter expression were changed to "interracial marriage"...

Brendan, what you're noticing is that that times have moved on.  You've been left behind.  And if you're honest, that is what bothers you.  You want to continue to be free to look down on LGBTI people.  You hate the fact that you're now being "forced" to show them respect.

Leaving aside the fact that you've grossly overstated the "baker being sued" example as some sort of trend, you're quite right: being homophobic is about as acceptable now as being racist.  Both are (rightly) understood in today's world as being discriminatory - in the worst possible way: a way that is unfair, lacking in empathy, hurtful and damaging.

And you can't hide your discrimination behind "religious belief" or some semantic "definitional" argument any more than you could do so if you opposed interracial marriage on the same grounds.  You'd be exposed as a bigot - and rightfully so.

So yes Brendan, you will be vilified for your "stand" on the present marriage equality debate. Get used to it. You're on the wrong side of history.  In a decade or so, you'll be vilified even more.  In 40 years, you'll be a poster boy for just how backward we used to be.

See also: Marriage equality: it's about normalisation.