Friday, 9 September 2016

Marriage equality - Paul Fletcher

So like most Australians I think we need to pass marriage equality and move on to more important issues. Makeitlaw.com.au ran a campaign where they automatically emailed your state reps, I thought it was a good idea so I did it, using their canned email myslef;

To: Fletcher, Paul (MP); Cameron, Doug (Senator); Dastyari, Sam (Senator); Concetta.Fierravanti-Wells@dfat.gov.au; Leyonhjelm, David (Senator); senator.mcallister@aph.gov.au; Nash, Fiona (Senator); O'Neill, Deborah (Senator); Payne, Marise (Senator); Rhiannon, Lee (Senator); Sinodinos, Arthur (Senator); Williams, John (Senator); Burston, Brian (Senator)
Subject: Morgan Storey wants you to vote against a plebiscite on marriage equality

 

Dear Federal Representatives,

I urge you to vote against a plebiscite on marriage equality.

A plebiscite will be costly, divisive and damaging to the LGBTIQ community.

It is also wasteful and unnecessary given that marriage equality will ultimately have to be resolved in parliament anyway.

I urge you to support a cross-party free vote in parliament as soon as possible so marriage equality can be resolved quickly and Australia can move on.

Best wishes,
Morgan Storey,


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Little did I know that this would get a response. I thought it would be pretty ineffectual, but hey I may as well try.
Well it got a very canned response from Paul Feltcher... err I mean Fletcher (slip of the tongue);

On Mon, Sep 5, 2016 at 12:17 PM, Fletcher, Paul (MP) <Paul.Fletcher.MP@aph.gov.au> wrote:

Dear Mr Storey

Thank you for your email concerning a same sex marriage plebiscite. It is very important that I am aware of the feelings of my constituents in Bradfield and so I appreciate the time you have taken to inform me of your views on this issue.

I am very pleased that in recent years Australia’s laws have been changed to remove discrimination against homosexuals and same-sex couples.  These include changes to laws in the areas of superannuation, taxation, social security, aged care and immigration.

The Howard Government reformed the law in several areas in this respect, and it was the Howard Government that began the process that led to the 2008 legislation of the Rudd Government that substantively removed discrimination for same sex couples.

These were all appropriate and necessary reforms.  They have taken Australia in a very positive direction, and (thankfully) a very long way from the time when homosexual acts were criminalised.

The institution of marriage has a cultural and religious significance developed over many centuries. Traditionally, the institution is based on the “the union of man and a woman, to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life”.  That is the definition set out in Australian law. This in no way seeks to diminish the committed and loving relationships – both heterosexual and same-sex – that exist outside of the institution of marriage.

I support the Liberal Party’s policy to have a plebiscite, so that this matter can be decided by a vote of the Australian people. Allow me to explain the process by which the Coalition came to this decision.

At the 2013 election, the Coalition’s stated position in relation to same sex marriage was that if the matter came up in the next term of Parliament, it would be considered by the Coalition Party Room in the usual way.

Subsequently Liberal MP Warren Entsch advised the Party Room that he proposed to introduce a Private Member’s Bill which would change the law regarding marriage so as to permit same sex marriage.

Accordingly, consistent with the position the Coalition took to the 2013 election, the matter was considered by the Coalition Party Room on 11 August 2015.  There was a long discussion, extending for some six hours, on the Government’s policy in this area. More than 90 Members and Senators spoke. The discussion revealed a strong majority in favour of maintaining the Coalition’s existing policy position.  

Nevertheless, because of the unique and deeply personal nature of this issue, Prime Minister Abbott indicated that a decision on same-sex marriage would be made by all Australians via a plebiscite after the election. This would allow this deeply personal issue, on which people of goodwill can hold strongly divergent views, to be resolved by a vote of the people – rather than being left in the hands of politicians.

Following the change of leadership, Prime Minister Turnbull indicated that the Liberal Party would maintain this position, and took this to the 2016 Federal election. The Government is now working to determine the earliest practical time to hold the plebiscite, probably in the first half of 2017. When the matter subsequently came to the Parliament, I would vote in accordance with the judgement of the Australian people in the plebiscite.

Thank you for taking the time to write.

Regards

Paul Fletcher MP
Federal Member for Bradfield
Minister for Urban Infrastructure

Level 2, 280 Pacific Highway
Lindfield NSW 2070
Suite M151 Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

(02 9465 3950 | 7 02 9465 3999 |SYDNEY
(02 6277 7790 | CANBERRA

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Me, being me I couldn't not respond;

Hi,
Lets break down your canned response below, to show how wrong you truly are.

"The institution of marriage has a cultural and religious significance developed over many centuries."
Yes marriage is an institution that has existed for millennia, long before the religions of today existed. There is evidence that same-sex marriage existed in cultures long before Christianity, and Judaism existed. Stepping in now to say we can't change it due to tradition is the same as saying tradition allowed for the owning of people, so we shouldn't have changed that, tradition denied women the ownership or property or a public voice, can't change that either. Tradition is a reason to question an act, not a defense of the act. No plebiscite was required to outlaw slavery, or change the marriage act the last time, why is it now?

References;
Evidence of same-sex marriages in Ancient Mesopotamia, Ancient Rome, and China; https://books.google.com.au/books?id=GIiFAAAAIAAJ&q=isbn:9780471120803&dq=isbn:9780471120803&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj1hZaInPfOAhXDqJQKHTIKDbgQ6AEIHTAA
Emperor Nero married two males; http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Cassius_Dio/62*.html#28.3 see section 28.3
In fact even Priests and popes had same-sex concubines, it wasn't finally outlawed till 342AD by emperor Constantinus II: http://muxigoad.jimdo.com/2012/07/19/theodosian-code-marriage/

"I support the Liberal Party’s policy to have a plebiscite, so that this matter can be decided by a vote of the Australian people."
The plebiscite will lead to public persecution of same-sex peoples by right-wing christian groups. There have been warnings around this issues by the Australian psychological association, ignoring this warning shows that your policy is not evidence based, it is mere pandering to the right.
Ignoring this warning will mean people like me will hold you personally responsible for the suicides that are caused in vulnerable LGBTI youth by the likely horrible religious-rights advertising, think about that for a moment.

References; https://croakey.org/the-mental-health-implications-of-a-plebiscite-on-marriage-equality/ http://www.smh.com.au/comment/why-a-plebiscite-on-samesex-marriage-is-dangerous-and-divisive-20160414-go63vs.html
"Prime Minister Abbott indicated that a decision on same-sex marriage would be made by all Australians via a plebiscite after the election."

Yet the Liberal party ousted Abbott, and did away with policies of his they didn't agree with (knights and Dames anyone). Why not do the same with this poor policy around a non-binding, psychologically damaging and costly plebiscite. Is it because the Liberal party are cowards, or ignorant short-sighted buffoons?

References; http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/malcolm-turnbull-scraps-tony-abbotts-knights-and-dames-20151101-gkodek.html http://www.pwc.com.au/press-room/2016/cost-plebiscite-mar16.html http://youngausskeptics.com/2010/09/%E2%80%9Cmarriage-according-to-law-in-australia-is-the-union-of-a-man-and-a-woman-to-the-exclusion-of-all-others-voluntarily-entered-into-for-life%E2%80%9D/
You currently hold a tenuous minority government, this plebiscite (among other gross missteps) will ensure that the liberal party holds no government come next election, and probably not for a long time after that. You bring this on your own party, you look backward and rather than challenging beliefs you hold on to them to your own detriment, you waste money on a plebiscite that will possibly result in the loss of life in the form of vulnerable LGBTI youth. So lets not waste half a billion dollars on this, and hold it to a parliamentary vote and be done with it.

--
Regards
Morgan Storey

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I doubt I really changed any minds there, but hey lets make the full discourse public and see if I can change any onlookers. I have yet to find a rational argument against marriage equality. But hey, politicians aren't exactly rational are they.

Oh and I got a response to the last email too, that was interesting in its brevity;

Thank you for your further comments.


Paul Fletcher MP
Federal Member for Bradfield
Minister for Urban Infrastructure

Level 2, 280 Pacific Highway
Lindfield NSW 2070
Suite M151 Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

(02 9465 3950 | 7 02 9465 3999 |SYDNEY
(02 6277 7790 | CANBERRA

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