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Saturday, 23 May 2015

Stop crying, Bill, nobody's listening. Ireland voted YES!

...there are plenty of secular reasons to reject homosexual marriage as well. I have written three books on this already,

Bill says, on the day in which the traditionally staunchly-Catholic Ireland voted overwhelmingly in favour of legalising same-sex marriage.

Predicting yet another victory for love, tolerance, equality and common humanity over the forces of hate, superstition and ignorance, Bill took to his blog to vent. I mean, how is this happening to him? Country after country in the west is passing equal marriage laws, and the Irish people have asked for equality, and yet Bill has written three anti-gay books!

Why is nobody paying any attention to him? Why is nobody buying his books? Instead, it's another sleepless night as Bill's preferred lifestyle of bullying and bigotry is consigned to history in yet another country.

Even if you do not have a religious bone in your body, there are plenty of arguments to be made from the secular point of view against sodomy and sodomite marriage,

says Bill Muehlenberg, degrading and debasing every gay person and every gay relationship in the world by reducing it to the act of anal sex. Presumably then, he's OK with lesbians getting married? And gay couples who don't practice anal sex? And presumably he wants to break up the straight marriages where anal sex is practised by consenting partners (or does he really think anal sex is just a gay thing?? He needs to get out more...)?

This just makes me livid.

We know, sweetie. Just take a chill pill and accept that you've lost the argument, and that most people in the west now recognise bigotry and discrimination against gay people as socially unacceptable. Meanwhile, we'll laugh at your increasing isolation and shrill hysteria because nobody's listening to you and your calls for bigotry and homophobia.

Bill goes on to denounce loving gay couples as "sham mockery of biblical marriage" - but guess what, Bill? The religious don't own marriage. Marriage is a civil contract, and for most people, religion doesn't come into it. Not everybody shares your views, in fact, you are in an increasingly small minority.

So deal with it instead of having tantrums because you've lost the argument and people see you for the hate-monger you are.


  1. And now Muehlenberg is screaming and wailing over the US Supreme Court's decision to uphold gay marriage. As usual he spends most of his column quoting American religious right sources and doing very little work himself. What a racket!

  2. The Irish vote is interesting and significant because it demonstrates a victory for marriage equality by popular vote. In the public discourse regarding marriage equality prior to this one of the main arguments of the opposition was an appeal to populist sentiment - they would argue that ballot measures in various US States to define marriage as only between a man and a woman had been successful. This has often been accompanied by a challenge to Australian supporters of marriage equality to hold a plebiscite on the issue.

    To my mind the significance of the vote in Ireland significantly diminishes this argument. It shows that LGBT people and their supporters have the ability to win the hearts and minds of the people.

    It's interesting to see what the reaction from opponents has been immediately after the vote. It's largely been dismissive with arguments falling along these lines:

    1. the Yes side only won because it was funded by a US billionaire (failing to consider the fact that several newspapers in Ireland alleged that US evangelicals were supporting the No side). It was suggested by life site news (better called lie site in my opinion) that because some yes campaign funds allegedly came from abroad it instantly means the Iris have allowed unprecedented foreign influence in their government (I wonder how they would feel about all those foreign mining companies donating to the LNP!!!)

    2. The Yes side were the real bullies and prevented the No side from being heard by suggesting that they were bigots and homophobes. They argue that NO posters were pulled down and that people campaigning for NO were spat at or insulted in the street, which demonstrates that all supporters of marriage equality wish to shut down debate - in short a very typical playing of the victim card.

    3. According to the National Civic Centre the Iris vote doesn't change the situation in Australia because ballot measures in more populated US states voted against marriage equality - hence they sought to down play it's significance. One parliamentarian even went so far as to suggest that it's irrelevant because Ireland is a small country, with a struggling economy, whose national symbol is a weed and can't grow potatoes. Interesting.

    4. That it was due to opponents having no clear message about why they opposed marriage equality - some said it was due to the "children need a mother and a father argument," "dangers of homosexual behaviour," "religious freedom," "something about schools," ect. The suggestion is that if the NO side were more unified they could be as successful as the yes.

    Essentially they are trying to portray pro-marriage equality supporters as being some sort of well financed "juggernaut" to use their words, and that opponents are both a) disadvantaged and bullied and b) supposedly the one with the stronger message. in essence they don't consider it the will of the people.

    I'm not personally convinced by the arguments listed. It was a high turnout of over 60% and the result was 62% in favour. Can you really say that a result like that is because a "gay marriage juggernaut," is hoodwinking and bullying people. You can argue that the yes side won because of a good campaign - In most democracies elections are won and lost by the type of campaign run by different political parties.

    I honestly don't know what to make of the Iris vote. In some senses it does demonstrate that there are significant advances being made for LGBT equality but on the other hand I fear that we are likely to see a more underhanded and unfair campaign from opponents.

    1. Again Julia, many thanks for such an insightful comment. I fear you're right about the homophobes screaming and shouting even more for fear of losing yet again - but we should celebrate each victory and ensure there's no complacency - long way to go yet before full equality!

    2. One of the problems I have observed is that although western countries are moving towards full equality, LGBT people are actually becoming increasingly marginalised in many non-western countries mainly Russia, many east european nations and Sub-saharan Africa. The most notable example of this is Uganda where the parliament in early 2014 passed legislation requiring very severe punishments for even very simple intimate acts between same sex partners. The legalisation had originally called for the death penalty. Shorty after a newspaper in Uganda published the names and addresses of several gay men with the headline "hang them." I think this lead to the murder of LGBT rights activist David Kato. Thankfully the Ugandan constitutional court found the legislation null and void on a technicality - the parliament did not have the necessary quorum to pass the bill. The newspaper in question was also successfully sued for deformation.

      What is most concerning is that a lot of the Ugandan anti-gay policies were indirectly promoted by an evangelists from the US who held a series of forums with parliamentarians and told them something along the lines of african LGBTs would destroy african families. This same evangelist is currently being sued for breaches of customary international law in a US federal court for his actions in helping to deny LGBT people in Uganda their fundamental human rights.

      The problem as I see it in terms of reaching full equality is essentially what is the likely LGBT rights situation going to look like in the BRICS nations in the next 10-20 years. This is significant because the five BRICS nations are likely to be the next world economic and military superpowers. Already the situation isn't looking very good - In Russia the government has made certain forms of LGBT expression unlawful under it's propaganda law and homophobic sentiment is quite strong in public opinion. Brazil and South Africa both have full marriage equality but there is still large amounts of homophobic sentiment. SA president Jacob Zuma has described marriage equality laws as a disgrace to god and in Brazil murders of LGBT citizens can be quite common - although the government has passed quite strong protection laws.

      The country I would be keenest to watch is China - it's already the worlds largest economy and will likely replace the US as the world's major superpower. I remember seeing an almost bragging article from the right wing NCC about how the number of christians in China outnumber members of the communist party - clearly they see this as some sort of apparent victory for their worldview. In China being gay is not criminalised by there is no relationship recognition and few discrimination protections. I hope that this will improve in the future but my hopes are not high.

      If China ends up following a similar path to Russia then the future of LGBTs is going to be very grim. That being said I don't think Beijing will attempt to marginalise it's LGBT citizens further to appease christian whom they probably don't like in the first place. What could end up happening is Beijing ends up cracking down on religious groups, which is not good either.

  3. The other thing I forgot to mention was that the UN recently passed a resolution "reaffirms the family as the natural and fundamental unit of society and urges member states to take action to support and strengthen families." Australia and the US both opposed it with Julie Bishop arguing it failed to recognise diversity of families although the resolution does not define what a family is. The resolution was however supported by nations such as Russia and Saudi Arabia which both have terrible LGBT rights records and China. This again is being heralded as a victory for the "pro-family" movement by many right wing and religious websites including by the NCC. It's not binding and doesn't say anything about LGBTs but it is the type of langauge that is often used by unit-gay groups. LGBT rights have also been scrapped from UN development goals.