Why John Howard is wrong about same-sex marriage and homophobia

John Howard has defended opponents of same-sex marriage, saying it’s absurd to say their stance makes them homophobes.

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‘Sure there are homophobic people in our community, course there are, just as there are some racists,’ the former prime minister told Sky News on Sunday.

‘(But) the implication from many on the progressive side of politics is that if you don’t support same-sex marriage you are a homophobe, that’s absurd.’

Mr Howard’s government explicitly defined marriage in 2004 as being between a man and a woman.

The problem with this argument is that people like John Howard (and his legislation) are defending the sacred institution of holy matrimony against gay and lesbian couples. The assumption is that they will damage this institution. In other words, there is something about them that is different from, and by implication worse than, heterosexual couples.

Walks like a homophobe, quacks like a homophobe, probably is a homophobe.

The white citizens who exclude students from schools and universities in the southern states of America would not have considered themselves racist but they were. The old white men who exclude women from their exclusive clubs would not consider themselves misogynists but they are.

It is not sufficient to say that you are defending the ancient and noble institution of _________  (fill in as required). It is not the defence of the institution that is important, it is the exclusion of a minority group the women, aborigines, Muslims or the disabled.

It is also worth considering the remarkable record that heterosexual couples have had with this holy and sacred institution.

The average length of a marriage in Australia is 12 years and one third ends in divorce.  Okay, so everybody is human.  And then there’s the unfortunate fact that a large proportion of domestic violence occurs within marriages.

Apart from Cory Bernardi’s concern about acts of  bestiality,  no one has clearly articulated what will happen to the institution of marriage if same-sex couples are allowed to marry. It’s legal in many countries in the world has not stopped revolving.

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