Embracing In the New Year

new yearsThe theme for Sydney’s New Year celebrations was “embrace” – which means to take up especially readily or gladly. The theme seems ironic considering the year we have just said goodbye to. While we may have shut the door on 2012,  a year filled with cultural violence, political sexism and a lack of progress on gay marriage rights within Australia; 2013 will most likely be painted with the same brush.

Politically 2012 is a year to be ashamed of. From the Peter Slipper-James Ashby embarrassment, to the “misogynist” dribble of Tony Abbott, 2012 was a year of inexcusable behaviour. It makes it difficult to believe that 2013, a federal election year, is going to be any different.

But one thing could change all of that. If 2013 is to be a year of embracing change, a year to be proud of: it must be the year gay marriage is made legal.

QUESTION TIMEWhen an unwed, atheist who lives with her long-term partner became the Prime Minister, Australians had hope that the gay marriage debate would be tackled. But this has not been the case. Julia Gillard has remained traditional and conservative on the controversial topic. She has resolutely maintained that she believes marriage is between a man and a woman, and while she allowed the ALP to change the party policy to back gay marriage at the 2011 ALP National Conference, allowing a conscience vote rendered the move null and void.

Meanwhile Tony Abbott’s Liberal party continue to stand by their anti-gay marriage policy, meaning there is little hope for political change.

We know Julia Gillard is heading into a tough battle to try and retain her Prime Ministership. While Ms Gillard may lead the preferred Prime Minister race 45-32 (according to Newspoll as at Nov ’12), the Tony Abbott led Coalition is winning on the two-party preferred front-line, 51-49. If Julia Gillard loses the election she will be remembered as the first female PM; a legacy that shouldn’t be scoffed at. But she could have been remembered as the PM who led without fear, as the PM who legalised gay marriage.

If the US can do it, why can’t Australia? As of November 2012, nine states had legalised same-sex marriage. President Barack Obama became the first sitting US President to publicly declare support for the legalisation of same-sex marriage, yet Julia Gillard remains tight-lipped on the issue.

2013 is a federal election year. Contact your local MPs and nominated candidates over the issue 64% of Australians want them to “embrace”, and have your voice heard.

Australia is a democratic nation, and that means it’s time for all Australians to have the right to marry the person they love, regardless of gender. 2013 is the year marriage laws must change.

Let us know what you thought of Sydney’s New Year’s Eve celebration theme and what you will be embracing in the year ahead via our comment section below, Facebook or Twitter.

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14 Comments

Filed under Ruby Views

14 responses to “Embracing In the New Year

  1. Geoff

    Oh dear…

    “Politically 2012 is a year to be ashamed of. From the Peter Slipper-James Ashby embarrassment, to the “misogynist” dribble of Tony Abbott, 2012 was a year of inexcusable behaviour. It makes it difficult to believe that 2013, a federal election year, is going to be any different.”

    Actually I’ve been pretty ashamed of our politicians for quite a few years now. Workchoices was a shame and so was the Liberals cowardice for not tapping Howard on the shoulder.

    Rudd and his government were an embarrassment, so is Gillard and hers. Highlights being the misogynist rant and the negative continuous playing of the man, by Labor… whether the man is Tony Abbott or Kevin Rudd… let’s not forget that eh.

    “Meanwhile Tony Abbott’s Liberal party continue to stand by their anti-gay marriage policy, meaning there is little hope for political change.”

    Well it’s not actually his party, but considering most Australians are Conservative in nature, the stance is understandable. On any level it is understandable. Soccer isn’t Rugby and Tennis isn’t Cricket, Marriage has always been traditionally in the West, between a Man and a Woman. Let the very small minority of gays who want to marry call it something else. You aren’t talking about a political change you are talking about a societal change.

    If you truly believe most Australians want same-sex marriage call for a referendum on it. I’m betting it will not pass. But that is Democracy right.

    This isn’t about sexual equality, it’s not about love, it is about a radical change to our society, by a minority. Bring on the referendum.

  2. Brittany Ward

    excuse me? the stance is understandable?! Would you say the same if it was a stance against ‘blacks’ (to be politically incorrect) getting the vote? women getting the vote?!

    Just because marriage has been traditionally in the west between man and a woman doesn’t mean that tradition changes… traditionally in the west women couldn’t work, women’s role was delegated to baby factory and glorified housewife. So that should have remained because it was traditional? What about the fact that traditionally only ‘noble’ and wealthy children were allowed an education?

    What the gay community want is the same rights that married couples get and the ability to have the same opportunity to have the thrill of having the normal engagement party, hens/bucks nights and that all important morning of having friends and family gather, exchange vows and the law on your side to say you are mr ___ or mrs _____. How can you deny that and be so callous?

    It is about equality and maybe you need to have a look at statistical trends, the gay community is ever increasing. Society is dynamic, not static – it is in a constant state of radical change. Isn’t it funny that you state that the majority don’t want it – you could have said the same about the slave trade being abolished, women and ‘blacks’ getting the vote etc… but yet that was changed and have led to a better and more equal society…

  3. DebateLover

    On what basis do we maintain that the majority of Australians are conservative in nature? Sure, we have an ageing population but many people of all ages are progressive and open minded. I know quite a few baby boomers who have had to change their stance on homosexuality and consequently gay marriage because they have gay children. I find your metaphors comparing marriage to sports almost as confusing as your happiness to let ‘the small minority of gay who want to marry call it something else’. So this is all about which label you are happy to let people use in different contexts? Seems like a fairly petty reason to deny a group of human beings equal rights. I really don’t understand how the issue of gay marriage negatively affects anyone other than the gay couples who are denied the right.

  4. Geoff

    I don’t speak in colours Brit and I’m not politically correct.

    But if I was to describe something as black, it wouldn’t be red or white. So yes the stance IMO is understandable. Don’t you understand it?

    I have gay friends Brit, what you are describing is wanted by a minority of that minority. It is not about love nor is it about rights. Gay people have rights. I’m not denying them anything they are entitled to at all.

    I’m not entitled to join an all women’s gym.

    You may like to try an paint me “black” Brit, but it aint gonna work and I’m not going to argue emotive non-facts with you.

    Let’s have a referendum, let’s see who is right. Whatever the outcome I will accept it. But I have real doubts about you.

  5. Geoff

    DL, yes I’m happy for them to call it something else. To differentiate between same-sex marriage and Traditional Marriage… which is between a man and a woman and is considered by the majority of Western society to be the “norm”.
    This isn’t about rights, nor love. Happy for you to actually try to argue those cases.

    • Debate lover

      Since when are a few of your gay friends opinions considered reliable statistics Geoff? You seem really passionate for someone who isn’t actually against gay marriage in essence just by title. I imagine that polls on the topic currently end up skewed because only those truly committed against or for gay marriage would bother to voice their opinions.

      • Geoff

        I don’t have a “few” gay friends DL.
        Why do you assume I myself am not?
        What about people who are BI perhaps, what of them?
        I don’t base my opinion on polls.
        I base them on facts.

  6. We will never know the conservative or progressive nature of Australia. The Internet, social media, TV nor polls are a judge of a nations character, they are vessels that some people choose to use to voice their opinions. I have never been polled so there is one pro-equal-marriage voice not heard via one method. Not only that, check this site out to see online polls are easily rigged: http://www.ubermotive.com/?p=68

    I personally believe we are way more progressive than we think. While the US became very upset over ObamaCare, we have been getting ourselves private health insurance before the age of 30 without much complaint. As the US slowly grow towards equal marriage rights, we fight our own slow battle. Each country faces its own.

    Having said that, I will be honest because I think this might be a common feeling no-one has expressed.

    Up until a month ago I didn’t really care about gay marriage. Let me explain before a temper flares; I am pro-equality, gender plays no role in love but hey I’m straight so it doesn’t affect me. Right? I cannot be the only one who thinks this way. If the vote came my way I’d tick yes, but I am not in the streets picketing.

    Then someone at work got engaged to their same-sex partner. I was girly, got excited and bought them flowers and wine in congratulations. If any two people deserve to be married in happiness it is these two. Reality slapped me in the face, as it hit me that this is everyone’s fight. Now I want to picket, despite already knowing many same-sex couples who have recognised their lives together through civil ceremonies. These two friends of mine just struck a chord with me, they mean a lot to me.

    Everyone has their passionate causes, you just don’t realise what they are until you are faced with it.

    Men would have had to walk beside women for equality. Caucasians beside people of all nationalities for equality…now it will be heterosexuals beside all types of sexuality for equality. You won’t spot the different types of support from the outside, but it will be there.

    And Geoff you are right, you won’t be able to join a female-only gym just as much as I can’t join the male orders of Freemasonry. But equality comes from the fact that you can still sign up to Fitness First and I can join the female orders of Freemasonry without being hung for it.

  7. Geoff

    Penny… as I have stated many times… it is not about equality nor is it about love. When you grasp those facts then perhaps you’ll start to understand the issue.

    What you have displayed is an emotive response to 2 people’s wishes, now that as I have stated time and time again… is a very small minority. BTW I don’t recall anyone being hung for being gay, do stick to the facts..

  8. Geoff

    You want it all in one sentence or page after page of anecdotes Penny?

    For starters…

    It is the social institution under which a man and woman establish their decision to live as husband and wife by legal commitments, religious ceremonies, etc, usually in order to start a family. However, people marry for many reasons, including: legal, social, libidinal, emotional, financial, spiritual, religious, etc. Usually there is no one reason for couples to marry, many people who fall in love do not end up married. People who just want to have sex also usually do not end up married. I don’t see how it would be sensible for people to marry just because they think they are missing out on something or are envious of others. Marriages can be performed in a secular civil ceremony or in a religious setting.

    How about you tell me what you think it’s about Penny?

  9. Ryan

    Geoff for the past few years, polls have shown a clear majority (well over 50%) of Australians support same sex marriage. How is Tony Abbott, or Julia Gillard’s stance “understandable”? When it suits both of them they use opinion polls to justify their policy positions but this issue, and I think troops in Afghanistan, are the two exceptions. What does that tell you – gay marriage and troops fighting in a war both in the same category? There is a problem, our politicians need to catch up with mainstream Australia on this one and support change. If it were done by one side, it’s not as if the other would vow to repeal it – imagine the outrage and public pressure. You can continue to bury your head in the sand but the reality is, this is going to happen – when is the question.

  10. Geoff

    Ryan since when is a poll of a few thousand people or less considered the majority opinion of all Australians?
    Even if “progressive” Australia took up 30% of Australians it would still be a minority, not mainstream.
    Like I said lets have a referendum.
    BTW my head isn’t buried anywhere.

    • Interestingly, you only need a sample size of approx 4000 to get 99% certainty of accuracy with a 2% margin of error (or confidence interval) for a population size equal to that of Australia; less than 2000 participants are required if you want a 3% margin of error.

      Source: http://www.surveysystem.com/sscalc.htm

      However, Roy Morgan (one of the organisations who does these studies) offers more detailed information as to how they process their margin of error in this recent press release. The table at the bottom of the page gives a better understanding of how the margin of error decreases as the difference between opinion options grows.

      With that in mind, it’s difficult to dispute the validity of polls such as these, where there is a good 20% difference in opinion on this matter, well outside the margin of error for these studies, and the result has been consistently replicated in reports from a number of different, highly reputable polling groups.

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