Gay Marriage: High Court Decision Should Surprise Nobody

THE HIGH COURT has struck out the ACT’s same sex marriage laws less than a week after they came into effect; the Commonwealth’s challenge to these laws was extraordinary in that virtually everyone knew what the outcome would be before the competing arguments were even presented. No grievous wrong has been committed here. Rather, the Court has upheld the laws of the land.

Remembering there is more going on in Australia at present than the departure of Holden I wanted to comment on the ruling that the ACT’s same sex laws are unconstitutional, although I intend to keep my remarks to the point: there are other issues to canvass, and I will return to some of these later today and over the weekend.

It should be observed — in the interests of clarity, and in spite of what some of the more contemptible gay marriage advocates proclaim — yesterdays’s decision in the High Court to strike these laws out has nothing to do with homophobia, or intolerance, or prejudice, or bigotry.

The ALP-Greens administration in the ACT introduced and passed laws to enable gay marriage to take place in full knowledge of the fact such a move would almost certainly be invalidated on constitutional grounds: only the Commonwealth has powers to make laws in regard to marriage in Australia.

That judgement, unsurprisingly, was unanimous.

Irrespective of one’s position on this issue, or whether one has any personal stake in its outcome (and I don’t), I have opined previously that this is a campaign that has been shanghaied away from the gay lobby per se and prosecuted instead largely (but not exclusively) by the activists of the hard Left.

Prosecuted with silly, meaningless marketing slogans such as “equal love” and “marriage equality” that aside from anything of substance completely miss the point.

Anyone opposing the legalisation of gay marriage is increasingly decried as a bigot, or a troglodyte, or a weirdo eccentric: usually with complete dismissal of the reasoning behind such opposition, and more often than not by people who are not gay and who therefore have no direct stake (spare me the “friends and siblings” justification) in the outcome of the debate.

These points are about to become more pertinent as the pressure now bears down on the federal government to allow its MPs a conscience vote on the issue, and I raise them because the wild agitators of the Left are doing the cause of their gay friends irreparable damage by virtue of their conduct.

The definition of marriage in Australia — as defined by the Commonwealth Marriage Act, and restated in their Honours’ judgement — provides that  “a marriage can be solemnised in Australia only between a man and a woman, and that a union solemnised in a foreign country between a same-sex couple must not be recognised as a marriage in Australia.”

This is the law of the land. It is this definition proponents of gay marriage seek to overturn. It is not the place of the High Court to make laws or to engage in so-called judicial activism. Their Honours have made the only decision the law makes available to them.

In the event MPs are given a conscience vote on the matter, it will be difficult to sway rusted-on social conservatives (or even waverers) by way of a horde of hooligans harassing “recalcitrant” MPs with empty slogans and accusing them of all manner of evils unless they toe the line of the marauding pack.

Readers will have heard me say that the conservative in me opposes gay marriage, but that the liberal in me says gay people should nonetheless be free to do among themselves as they choose; my view is that marriage is a biblical institution based on unions between a man and a woman that is given legal sanction in that form by the state in modern societies.

Some gay people don’t want marriage at all, regarding it as an “outdated” heterosexual institution that is irrelevant to them, and with which they have no truck.

There are 23 million other Australians whose view on the matter may reflect my own wholly, partially, or in no way whatsoever.

The point is that I believe it inevitable that the question will again surface in Parliament, and I actually do support Liberal Party MPs being given a conscience vote. I am certain the measure will still fail, just as I am certain the question will continue to be posed by advocates of “marriage reform” — an oxymoron if ever there was one in my view.

Ultimately, the issue will die off or be resolved at a referendum, and in the case of the latter, it will be killed once and for all: the pack on the Left may make a lot of noise, and be adept at insulting those who disagree with it, but it does not represent a majority of voters in my view — or anything remotely approaching it.

Whether it does or not, the stunt that was the same-sex marriage law in the ACT has been terminated: time, money (and dare I say, emotional capital in some quarters) has been needlessly wasted on an ill-advised quest that was doomed to fail from the outset.

ACT Attorney-General Simon Corbell’s statement that the territory “had sent a clear message that Canberra would not tolerate inequality and discrimination” is fatuous, and cannot justify the means employed.

And for those who seek to purport to be outraged or victimised by the High Court decision to annul the ACT law, I have just two words: grow up.

This exercise was a question of law, not social reform, and anything other than a half-baked approach to it would have recognised the ACT was not the vehicle with which to pursue the matter. Smarter heads would have chosen a different course to do so.