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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

undermining the family? « Previous | |Next »
June 7, 2006

So the Howard Government is out impress the religious right with its push to quash gay civil unions in the ACT on the grounds that the ACT laws undermine the Marriage Act. This Act defines and protects marriage as a union of a man and a woman. Apparantly, the Federal Government has the power to overturn civil union legislation in the ACT and Northern Territory.

Gay marriage is one of the key culture-war issues for the religious right. They see this as all important, because it relates back to the family and the household. The Bible says that homosexuality is "naturally" wrong and the "evil" threat posed by sexual preference is a core part of religious right's biopolitical agenda.

Australia begins to look more and more like America every day with this kind of biopolitics, which appeals to its base of social conservatives who increasingly form the foot soldiers for the Coalition. The ACT Government is seen to be undermining the family at its foundational level. Saving the family is saving civilization itself for the religious right.

I thought that the ACT government has the power to legislate on civil unions and to legislate for relationships other than marriage. Isn't federalism meant to be about diversity, local rule and democracy close to people?

Update: 8 June
Rodney Croome, writing in todays Canberra Times, makes a good comment on the politics:

The real issue is appearance not substance, something Attorney-General Philip Ruddock concedes when he says that it's the "striking similarity" between the laws which matters.Overriding civil unions is about corralling, ahead of next year's federal election, those socially conservative and fundamentalist voters Labor shook from the Coalition's tree over IR reform.It's about heading off the potentially embarrassing situation where these voters are incensed by TV images of gay couples marrying on the shores of Lake Burley-Griffin and blame Howard for not stopping it. It's the same hate-dynamic that played itself out when Howard banned same-sex marriage in federal law ahead of the 2004 election, and to which overseas conservative governments frequently resort.

What we haven't heard in Australia is the conservative attack on rights on this issue. You know the argument along the lines of a special interest group's 'desires and preferences are deemed to be "rights" that can overturn thousands of years of universally recognized morality, tradition and practice. The community has suffered deeply from the weakening of the institution of marriage at the hands of 68er's ideology of the sexual revolution. This liberal cultural elite seeks to overthrow traditional and Biblical principles of sexual restraint and responsibility, and to foster moral erosion and historical decline.

Maybe we will expect to hear such an argument being run from the pages of the Murdoch press in the near future.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 5:42 PM | | Comments (15)


For Conservatives this is not about "Gay civil Unions" I gotta tells yeh this is about ugly,and Im talking fucking pig ugly here folks.Now get this,if you were as ugly as some of those conservative dick wads and couldn't get a root in a wood yard, the mere thought of all those gay people banging each other 24/7 would be enough for any one to get out the gideon.
Well yeh I know it just aint about gays,I mean shit they are jealous of the normal people getting their fair share of bunk up.Now I know why the conservatives and religous right want to get into your bedroom cause they're basically voyeurs who aint gettin none.And hey call me crazy when I see some of the wives and husbands of politicians,I thought same sex marriage was already legal.

Same sex sexual relations are legal.

Same sex relationships have no legal standing.

Interestingly, if you are in a same sex relationship, Centrelink will not assess your partner's income in terms of setting your entitlements.

Try the same as heterosexuals living together.

Hey Bob,I didn't think that Centrelink had anything to do with setting your entitlements.In my case I tell my good wife having sex as often as you like is layed down in the Magna Carta.But I guess Im lucky she can't read.


maybe the politics is about reinforcing the splitting of the blue collar social conservatives away from the ALP; and then tweaking tensions between groupers and the latte left in the ALP.

Gary,your last comments to me are absolutely correct. Look I don't take any of the latest debates be it nuclear,gay,or Aboriginal violence, serious.This is all about political opportunism of the highest order.They (the conservatives)are playing up to their base on some issues,and trying to split the A.L.P. on others.And an grade seven drop out like me can see this,and it sticks out like dogs balls.The pundits and so called intellectuals are running with this crap like there is no tomorrow.

Howard and the crew have pulled some absolute boners over the last couple of years,and now having been sprung, they are in election mode.For mine I.R. Laws is the only issue that may sink the Howard government,and they are trying to keep it off the front pages as much as possible.The media's re-action to Aboriginal violence started like a nuclear bomb going off on the Sydney harbour bridge. Where is it now? Dead like a damp squib.The A.W.B. scandal, some one should have been put up against a wall and shot for this ,and now they make like it's a virtue to be as bent as a nine bob note .I wouldn't be surprised if next week, the nation is not discussing Australia's attempt to put a man on mars.and yada yada yada.

Now I can see how easy it was to hoodwink the nation into the Viet Nam conflict, most people, yes even educated ones, are as thick as two short planks.

The spread of fundamentalist religion (evangelicals) in Australia is a concern.evangelical or similar churches, an estimate that does not include the rising numbers of Mormons and members of other sects. The calculation also does not include a similar evolution among Catholics.

The growth of such religions accounts for widespread belief in the literal truth of much of the Bible. These evangelical Australians believe that Noah's Ark and the parting of the Red Sea happened, as as the Old Testament said. These evangelicals believe the world will end in Armageddon in a battle between Christ and the Antichrist.

This is the crowd, with its anti-intellectual bias, that Howard is increasingly appealing to.

Is the Coalition on the way to becoming America's first religious party, as it leans toward policies that reflect the predilections of these religions, including zealotry, exaltation of faith over reason, too much church-state collaboration, and a crusader mentality.

here's something for you. Can we say that the rise of religious fundamentalism is associated withe economic changes sicne the 1980s.

The economic expansion of the 1980s through globalizaiton etc did not help middle- or low-income male workers. A large proportion of men saw their incomes fall or at best stagnate over twenty and thirty years. At the same time many men felt they were faced with threats to their dominance such as the rise of feminism and growing opportunities for women to work, not to mention the loss of jobs and entire industries to foreign economies.

Okay, do such factors help to explain why many working men have turned to religion in search of a confident sense of identity, and a reassertion of aggressive patriotic convictions favoring militarist foreign policy?

Gary,what you say is true however,being a moron is not exclusive to the church cults,and other such fancies,but I must confess they certainly seem to have more than their fair share.It is beyond my comprehension how these religous evangelicals recruit new sheep to the flock,when you consider how many of the leaders of these groups over the years have been sprung with their fingers in the jewish piano.I saw a doco a few months ago about a group up in Queensland that shall remain nameless,and it was then I realised,that as a species we have'nt progressed that much,in my humble opinion most of them were barking at the moon mad.Except the head honcho of course, he's laughing all the way to the bank.But the greatest revelation(excuse me)was the fact here it was, the Liberal Party recruiting office in all its glory.I remarked to my wife at the time, John Howard would have dead set wet himself ingratiating himself with this lot of retards.Who ever advises Howard is cute,He/She knows how to tap into the conservative base of Australia,and I give credit where it is due.My beloved Labor Party at this point in time havn't got a fucking clue,and I will take bets with odds, unless Australia comes under nuclear attack or the sky is pink when I get up in the morning,its opposition again for them.And a bit of advice for Kimbo,instead of the obligatory vegemite sandwhich and apple in your briefcase try putting in some ideas.

Gary, Alternatively, religion has begun to politically organize outside of the traditional political parties. There was a time when Liberal was purely protestant, and Labor was purely Catholic. That was only fifty years ago.

I notice that the academic conservatives in the US have released a document entitled Marriage and the Public Good: Ten Principles

In relation to gay marriage they say that marriage equals monogamy and that gay marriage:

"would likely corrode marital norms of sexual fidelity, since gay marriage advocates and gay couples tend to downplay the importance of sexual fidelity in their definition of marriage."
In other words, when gay people make a lifetime vow, they probably don’t really mean it because that is how gays are.

They do have other arguments, some rooted in plain-old ugly sexism, such as that children can’t be properly raised by parents of the same gender because men are hard-wired for discipline and women hard-wired for nurture.


Gary, I heard on the radio this morning a US Senator describe marriage as part of the national security state.

It was part run together in a sentence with 911, terrorism etc, and then included saving marriage and values as part of keeping America secure and providing prosperity.

we are seeing the core concepts of conservatism-marriage national security, perpetual war in a dangerous anarchic world, authority--- being bought together to form some kind of cohesive whole.

US conservatism is becoming increasing confident issn't it. Witness the way marriage is linked to American exceptionalism in the Princeton Principles of Marriage, referred to above. This says:

The great task for American exceptionalism in our generation is to sustain and energize this movement for the renewal of marriage. We need to transmit a stronger, healthier, and more loving marriage culture to the next generation, so that each year more children are raised by their own mother and father united by a loving marriage, and so those children can grow up to have flourishing marriages themselves.

Conservatism is reclaiming the territory once owned by liberalism.

Gary, US conservatism is becoming increasing confident issn't it.

I heard this coming down from jersey this evening; npr - GOP Groundswell Stems from Party Discontent.

That probably supports your assertion that it is confident, it is prepared to let the Republican party to take an election on the chin, in order to get the Republicans to return to its base. It is more patient than its politicians.

I hope they become a powerful third party. The US needs an electoral shakeup and some technology like proportional voting. They are in the steam-engine age because of the political duopoly. The christian right is well organized and if enough Republicans split, it could have the numbers to force electoral change.

Family First is such a party in Australia. I expect it to continue to grow.

A recent example of the way that the religious right is making ground is the recent proposal for full time chaplains to be installed in government schools to lift religious standards and provide mentoring for students.

Religion=values on this conservative account. What has happened to liberal humanism? Well the state school systems are seen as anti-religious.

So much for the liberal separation between church and state. It's being rolled back.

Yeah, shamefully, I am not too good in clergy-related issues that is why some advice on human history’s evolving, roughly speaking, on what was a first -- the major modern religious beliefs or private property/economical considerations well underlying the establishing of marriage itself as breading-together-the-offspring institution? -- would very much be appreciated.