CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

No, There is No Discrimination

Sep 18, 2017

A common claim made by the pro-homosexual marriage camp is that we need to change the law on marriage because they are being discriminated against in so many areas. They claim their rights are being violated every single day, and until they get homosexual marriage, they will just be living as second-class citizens.

Nothing could be further from the truth. There are no legal disadvantages to homosexuals even though they cannot marry. This is a long-standing smokescreen brought up by the other side. Homosexuals as individuals enjoy all the same rights heterosexuals do.

And Australian state and federal governments are increasingly granting special rights to homosexual couples. Homosexual relationships are already officially recognized in law in Australia. Consider this from one federal government website:

Recognition of same-sex relationships
Same-sex de facto couples and their families have the same entitlements as opposite-sex de facto couples and their families.
Removing discrimination
The Government’s same-sex law reform package passed through Parliament in November 2008.
The reform removed discrimination against same-sex de facto couples and their families in areas such as taxation, superannuation, social security and family assistance, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme Safety Net and the Medicare Safety Net, aged care, veterans’ entitlements, immigration, citizenship and child support and family law.
www.dss.gov.au/our-responsibilities/families-and-children/programs-services/recognition-of-same-sex-relationships

In 2008 for example, 84 pieces of Commonwealth legislation were changed so that homosexual couples could be treated identically to heterosexual married couples. So except for the title ‘marriage’, homosexual couples now have basically every single right that heterosexual married couples have. There is no inequality here at all.

Even the Labor Party has acknowledged this. Back in May of 2015, Tanya Plibersek, the Deputy Opposition Leader said this in an interview with Leigh Sales on the ABC’s 7:30 Report: “Well, we changed 85 laws at the time, Leigh. We removed every piece of legal discrimination against gay men, lesbians and same-sex couples on the statute books. This is a piece…”
www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2015/s4243023.htm

Indeed, these changes were made in various pieces of legislation: the Same-Sex Relationships (Equal Treatment in Commonwealth Laws – General Law Reform) Bill 2008; the Same-Sex Relationship (Equal Treatment in Commonwealth Laws – Superannuation) Bill 2008; and the Family Law Amendment (De Facto Financial Matters and Other Measures) Bill 2008.

Thus homosexual couples now have full legal protections. The supposed disadvantages that remain are either inconsequential or easily overcome. For example, homosexual activist Mr Croome had a hard time coming up with any real cases of discrimination or the denial of basic human rights for homosexuals.

In a debate book I co-authored with him on homosexual marriage in 2010 he quoted one poor lesbian who complained that she had to Google to discover what her rights were in various states! So we must overturn the millennia-old institution of marriage simply to make Internet searches less demanding for a few homosexuals? Really?

The truth is, any remaining minor issues can be dealt with at a local level, and do not require the destruction of the institutions of marriage and family to achieve this. As to any supposed legal shortcomings, one US family expert offers some much-needed clarity here:

Like other citizens, homosexuals can draft any type of will that they want and leave their property to anyone they want. Family members do retain a higher standing in challenges to wills, but that is the case whenever a will is contested by anyone. The same goes for powers of attorney. A homosexual can designate his lover or anyone else as the executer of his estate or as guardians of his health in the event of an untimely, debilitating illness.
As far as hospital visitation, that is not a federal issue, nor should it be. Families have been given preference in visitation because family ties transcend other types of relationships – as well they should. Homosexuals are free to lobby individual hospitals as well as local authorities to change their rules regarding visitation. But they do not need to overturn the institution of marriage to do so.

The situation is even less problematic here in Australia. But if a particular hospital still restricts visitation rights to certain people for example, then those who feel aggrieved can take it up with that hospital and see if some sort of solution can be worked out. They do not need to redefine marriage out of existence.

Talk about using a sledgehammer when a feather would do. So all this is really just a lot of hot air. There is no inequality here. A few years after the federal law changes were made in Australia a group of experts came out and spoke to this issue:

The Federal Parliament amended 84 pieces of legislation in 2008 to place homosexual rights and entitlements on the same basis as others. The Marriage Equality website itself admits that after these amendments the Marriage Act is the only legislation requiring change – this is not an issue of substantive discrimination.
Not only so, but homosexual couples in NSW, Victoria, Tasmania and the ACT are able to register their same-sex partnerships on a relationships register that provides public recognition and affirmation of their relationships.
The push for same-sex marriage is therefore largely ideological, because there is clearly no intention in any jurisdiction that they be subjected to any substantial discrimination on entitlement.
No one is done a real injustice when we positively honour and uphold marriage as currently understood. We currently honour those men and women who are united in lifelong, complementary, faithful and procreative relationships by calling them “married.”
In a liberal democracy, others can form other types of relationships; but ‘marriage’ is a term reserved for a particular kind of relationship that brings with it obligations to others beyond the two parties. Marriage is shared obligation for children.
www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2011/05/20/3222067.htm

Since that time all Australian states have officially recognised homosexual relationships in one form or another:

-Tasmania enacted significant relationship status in 2004.
-Victoria enacted domestic relationship status in 2008.
-NSW enacted registered relationship status in 2010.
-Queensland enacted civil partnership status in 2012.
-ACT enacted civil union status in 2012.
-South Australia enacted registered relationship status in 2017.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recognition_of_same-sex_unions_in_Australia

In the NT we have this situation:

De facto recognition was made possible following the Law Reform (Gender, Sexuality and De Facto Relationships) Act 2003 amending the territory’s De Facto Relationships Act to define de facto relationships as “2 persons…not married but have a marriage-like relationship”. This definition for the first time in the Territory resulted in LGBT people having a mechanism in the territory courts to resolve property disputes with their ex-partners.”
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_rights_in_the_Northern_Territory#Recognition_of_same-sex_relationships

And in WA we have this:

Western Australia is one of two jurisdictions in Australia (the other being the Northern Territory) not to offer relationship registries and official domestic partnership schemes to same-sex couples. Instead, state law provides same-sex couples with de facto unions, which have been recognised under Western Australian family law since 2002. In order for a same-sex couple to be officially recognised as a de facto union, or for de facto same-sex couples to legally remedy divorce proceedings, the Family Court of Western Australia is charged with permitting that recognition or divorce. These state laws recognise same-sex couples rights to next of kin recognition, partner’s state superannuation and compensation in the event of partner’s death, amidst a whole host of other things. Same-sex couples in Western Australia and their relationships are also covered by federal law, ensuring that same-sex de facto partners are provided with same entitlements as married partners.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_rights_in_Western_Australia

So we really need to put to rest these ludicrous and patently false claims of inequality, discrimination and the like. Everywhere in Australia homosexuals have full equal rights as anyone else, and homosexual couples have basically the same rights as any other couples.

And marriage rights continue to apply equally to everyone. As long as two people are of the opposite gender, of the proper age, and not close blood relatives, if they want to marry, they can. Everyone is treated completely equally in this. Those who want to marry must play by the same rules that everyone else must abide by. It is that simple.

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12 Responses to No, There is No Discrimination

  • Dear Bill, I am surprised by this publication. I thought you were against the 85 law changes to give sodomites equal rights.

    I remain firmly opposed. I believe the only scripturally correct position is to actively support repeal of these equal laws for sodomites, and the repeal of no fault divorce laws. People say that will never happen. I reply with Matthew 19:26.

    The Chinese churches are doing our bit for the NO campaign. We are not ashamed to speak the truth. Australian Chinese Christians do not mince their words — we oppose ssm because we believe homosexuality is deviant behaviour, and no decent society should give sexual deviants any rights. It’s like a reward for their behaviour.

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/sydneys-chinese-christians-warn-churches-of-ssm-dangers/news-story/b8c63145853cd2a37e1f57b3f9367c2b

  • Thanks Peter. But description does not equal prescription of course. I simply described the current legal state of play. Where did I express approval or otherwise?

  • So all of this kicking and screaming, demanding & bullying is all for nothing.
    They are campaigning for something they already have.
    Its just the official “title” they want. A mere “word” on a piece of paper.
    Well, Im sure Australians would be happy to let them have their title, if it wasn’t for the other half of the story, concerning the consequences in it for the rest of us, afterwards.
    Its not so much gays we are up against, but their campaign leaders, the planners, strategists, the ones with all the contacts in high places, the ones who snuck in safe schools, the ones who have mainstream media and major political parties & govt ministers all trained like loyal little lap dogs.
    You can tell, just from safe schools alone, they have much bigger plans for the future than just legalising a simple little title on a piece of paper.

  • The phrase, “Marriage Equality” implies that marriage is, in its current state, somehow discriminatory.

    It must be confessed that a man who marries voluntarily undertakes to discriminate against all other women in favour of his wife. It might justifiably be argued that the truly married man, if his marriage is to be of any lasting merit, must needs discriminate against himself in favour of the needs of his wife and his children. For a fascinating exploration of this line of argument, see Dean of St David’s Cathedral, Hobart, Richard Humphrey’s rather stimulating 2012 Friday Forum talk at: http://saintdavids.org.au/event/2012/03/marriage-is-discriminatory/ .

    May we be forgiven for suspecting that the calls for “Marriage Equality” are actually a call for marriage to “equal” whatever the consenting adult parties to the proposed “reformed” version of marriage may wish the marriage relationship to be for themselves? In short, is not the proposed “reform” an attempt to turn marriage into a random, indiscriminate kind of relationship – so amorphous as to be indistinguishable from the unmarried state?

    The notion that “all loves are equal” may only be true in a purely materialist universe, where “love” is merely a projection of living biomass matter and energy: In the real world, where metaphysics are not a delusion, only a foolish man would live and talk as if his love for chocolate was equal to his love for his sweet-heart. Even more drastic would be the case of the man whose love for his neighbours’ wives was equal to his love for his own wife…

  • Hi Bill,
    Just to add to your blog: Qld has the Civil Partnership register, see the link https://publications.qld.gov.au/dataset/civil-partnership-certificate-application/resource/35260122-0fd0-4df2-a646-eacc397f891c

    Do you know why is this a State by State thing, and not a Federal register? Is this Qld civil partnership recognised/valid in other States?
    Thanks
    Anita

  • Dear David, if it were just a word would it be worth fighting for?

    It is worth fighting for because it is not just a word. I will enshrine the 85 changes in law forever. Once a man can say “my husband” and a woman can say “my wife” it will normalise homosexual behaviour in a way that would make it impossible for us to ever undo the 85 changes. It will confirm the validity of so called anti-discrimination legislation that is being used to persecute Campbell Markham, making it impossible for us to ever repeal it.

    Dear John, the only true love is agáp?. Too many people — even Christians — marry for ér?s. This is not love, it is lust, and people marrying for lust is why so many marriages fail.

  • Peter’s point about the moral inferiority of Eros and his cruel boss, Aphrodite to the agáp? love C.S. Lewis calls “charity” in his The Four Loves is merits universal recognition and assent in practice in our daily lives. We live in a culture where Eros too often seduces Psyche and Aphrodite sends many foolish men to untimely deaths.

  • It’s a little off-topic, but a thought occurred to me today.
    With regard to homosexuals demanding that Christian service providers (bakers etc) serve them, isn’t it just a simple matter of courtesy? You know they wouldn’t go to a Muslim butcher demanding he slaughter a pig and make them pork sausages. That would be churlish. So why insist the Christian must compromise their principles? What does that tell us about their civility?
    And so it goes with the SSM demands. The warriors for LOVE and equality seem to limit its expression to their own kind and not seem to see the need for considering anyone else’s feelings.
    No, I’m not naive, just lamenting the loss of human kindness that may have flickered for a while “once upon a time”.

  • Bill, is it a matter of human kindness lost, or reason and goodness despised? The Yes campaign purport to espouse love and equality, and yet they demonstrate their motivation is hatred and intolerance. A failure to kowtow is anathema. It’s all very 1984.

  • To quote the Greens from an article titled “Beyond Marriage Equality” (that’s a clue right there):
    “unfortunately it is little more than a symbol. In Australia marriage equality actually has few practical impacts. State-based de-facto legislation gives same-sex couples practically all of the same rights as their married straight counterparts.”
    https://greens.org.au/magazine/national/beyond-marriage-equality

    An SBS article also states:
    “If you were to look at the debate in places like the United States you would hear horrible examples of people who have had visiting rights in hospitals denied to them, had missed out on essential tax or had been unable to migrate because they couldn’t get a marriage certificate. The denial of marriage equals the denial of a range of basic rights – rights that are completely inaccessible without the certificate.
    In Australia however, one uncomfortable fact has been ignored; none of these situations are relevant here. The passage of same-sex marriage legislation will lead to virtually no improvements in rights for same-sex couples. The whole campaign is a symbolic one that has no real material affects.”
    http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2013/10/21/comment-what-will-same-sex-marriage-actually-mean

  • Hi Bill,

    I also do not see where the discrimination is in regards to same sex marriage. The law treats both men and women equally in this regard in that a man is free to choose a women and a women a man. This also applies to gay and lesbians as well. They are free to marry someone of the opposite sex if they so choose. Likewise, the law regarding same sex marriage applies equally to me as it does to others. Where is the discrimination? If I wanted to marry a man I cannot. Gay and lesbians just do not like the law so that want to change it. That is not discrimination. If I wanted to be a polygamist and not allowed, am I being discriminated against??

  • John Wigg, thank you for showing “marriage equality” to be the empty slogan that it is.

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