26
Jul
16

Plebiscite on Same Sex Marriage.


While one cannot live by “likes” alone, the number of likes against an article or a comment – or their absence – can be a telling indicator of a readership’s attitude.

As a case in point, I’ve recently entered discussion on a newspaper’s web site regarding several different issues, and found most comments were given at least a few “likes”.

However, when I joined a conversation about same-sex marriage, even though I didn’t express any outright opposition, I started to get some very hostile responses (all of which accrued several likes) while my own comments remained like-less.

But maybe the MOST telling aspect of that discussion was that most of my contributions consisted of me calling for civility – no matter which side of the fence a person stood and the majority of the responses I received were abusive.

I’ll be very open about the issue. I disagree with the concept of same sex marriage. However I recognise that I’m living in a secular democracy that decreasingly recognises the authority of God.

Within that democracy I have the right to vote and in the upcoming plebiscite related to same sex marriage, I will vote against it.

However, if the vote for change passes, I’m not going to lose sleep or get upset about it. Furthermore (and some Christians might find this unacceptable) if the plebiscite shows the majority are in support of recognising same sex marriage, and the government refuses to recognise that result and doesn’t pass legislation to make that change, I won’t be happy that the government ignored the result of the people’s vote.

Of course, that also applies should the people’s vote indicate an opposition to change. Since the government has chosen to take the plebiscite route, they need to respect and abide by its outcome no matter what that outcome may be. THAT is how secular democracy is supposed to work.

 

Perhaps ironically, the outcome of the plebiscite vote could be determined by the lack of involvement of the demographic group most in favour of same sex marriage – the 18-24 year olds who are the largest potential voting block NOT to register on the electoral roll.

With the plebiscite we might see a similar outcome as the recent Brexit referendum, where younger age groups were most in favour of staying in Europe, but were the largest demographic group who failed to vote at all, ensuring that their own wishes weren’t met.

 

___________________________________________

This link seems to be where my involvement in the discussion started:
https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/jul/24/marriage-equality-george-brandis-to-ask-cabinet-to-decide-plebiscite-wording#comment-79798485

And also see here: https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/jul/24/marriage-equality-george-brandis-to-ask-cabinet-to-decide-plebiscite-wording#comment-79869150

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6 Responses to “Plebiscite on Same Sex Marriage.”


  1. July 26, 2016 at 4:30 pm

    One of the more disturbing aspects on the commentary on the news site regarding the plebiscite, is the insistence by so many that the matter of same sex marriage shouldn’t be under consideration via the democratic process because they claim it is a civil right and should be accepted without reference to the people of the nation or to the parliament.

    I wonder how many differing opinions there could be about what behaviours and practices are above the law due to them being “human rights”.

    I came across an interesting talk on the radio yesterday on the way home from work, it can be found here:

    http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/counterpoint/minority-fundamentalism:-a-new-menace/7652528

  2. July 26, 2016 at 6:01 pm

    Good thinking Onesimus. My sentiments also. If people were not civil in their responses to your comments that in itself is a very serious matter. Has civility and politeness and tolerance disappeared from the Aussie psyche?

  3. 3 Marleen
    July 27, 2016 at 1:33 am

    I have never heard of a referendum being called a plebiscite. But it looks like they aren’t quite the same meaning anyway. Here, if we vote directly on a topic, it’s not an opinion poll. It’s law. Generally speaking at least. I guess it’s possible some state within the U.S. does what you guys do. I’ve never heard of it in any state.

  4. July 27, 2016 at 8:26 am

    Ian, one of the arguments against holding the plebiscite that was raised by gay senator Penny Wong, was that it would lead to abuse and hateful rhetoric against the homosexual community.
    So far, related to the same sex marriage issue, I’ve seen far more hate-speech directed from homosexuals against “right-wing religious nutters” than I have from anyone else against homosexuals.

    As someone who falls somewhere to the left of the Labor Party and to the right of the Greens (according to a recent ABC “vote compass” poll) I don’t think I really fit the label “right wing” – but I’ll leave it to others to make their mind up regarding the “religious nutter” tag. 🙂

  5. July 27, 2016 at 8:40 am

    Hi Marleen, in Australia a referendum is called for issues related to changes to the constitution and the result is binding. A plebiscite is more or less a non-binding poll intended to guide the actions of the parliament. The rules around a referendum are far stricter and as such they rarely lead to a agreement for change.

    Last year the government was pressured to have a parliamentary vote regarding same sex marriage where every member would be allowed to vote according to their conscience rather than being expected to vote according to a party held position. Instead of doing that, the then prime minister decided to hold a plebiscite to hand the decision over the people, but without making any provision for when such a plebiscite should be held. It was seen as a delaying tactic.
    However we now have a new PM and the plebiscite is due to be held as soon as it is practical.

    The problem with the plebiscite is its non-binding nature. The matter will still need to be passed by parliament, but there’s no guarantee that the “will of the people” will be upheld by parliamentary decision. There’s been a lot of publicity about some members of parliament who have stated they will vote against same sex marriage no matter what the outcome of the plebiscite, and they’ve come under a lot of criticism. However, there hasn’t been a similar degree of scrutiny regarding those who would vote FOR change, even if the plebiscite result was against it.


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