Majority Of Australian Christians Support Marriage Equality

By Brody Levesque | SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES, AUSTRALIA — A national opinion poll conducted by the Galaxy research group released Monday, ahead of a rally against same-sex marriage in the Australian capital city Canberra, finds a majority of Australian Christians support same-sex marriage.

The results showed that 53% of Australians who identify as Christians support same-sex marriage, while 41% oppose. 67% of non-Christians support it.

Australian Marriage Equality spokesperson, Malcolm McPherson, himself a Christian, said the poll shows church leaders and Christian lobbyists who oppose same-sex marriage are not representative of the feelings of most Australians on the subject of same-sex marriage as evidenced by the poll’s results.

The Galaxy poll found overall support for allowing same-sex marriage to 60%, which is unchanged from an identical poll conducted by Galaxy in October last year (the result of the October poll was 62%, which is within the margin of error of +/- 2%).

However, there has been a marked shift in how strongly views on the issue are held. Since October last year 5% of supporters of equality have shifted from “agree” to “strongly agree”, with a similar shift among opponents of reform from “strongly disagree” to “disagree”.

Religious leaders who have given their support to the campaign for marriage equality come from Uniting, Anglican and Baptist churches across Australia, and include Sydney minister and 2GB radio host, Reverend Bill Crews who said in an interview:

Today in Australia we all live in a secular non discriminatory society. Churches and other spiritual institutions exist within this society. It seems to me that in a secular and non-discriminatory society gay couples should be as free to marry as any other human couple. If people wish to be married within a religious or spiritual institution’s framework then they should accept the rites and rules of that institution. However it is the state that legitimises all marriages.

A Melbourne Baptist pastor, Matt Glover, said allowing same-sex marriages will benefit marriage as an institution:

When a couple want to be part of the institution of marriage, when they fully accept the same rights and responsibilities of marriage and treat marriage with the respect it deserves, why should they NOT get married? As a Christian minister, I believe that marriage is under threat from many angles, but also believe that recognizing same-sex unions will help return marriage to its rightful place in society.

An Anglican parish priest in Sydney, Rector David Smith was blunt in his assessment:

From a Christian point of view, marriage is an institution designed to serve two social needs:

1) contribute broadly to social stability

2)provide a stable environment for the nurturing of children.

If this is the case then the only questions Christians need to concern themselves with when it comes to the issue of gay marriage are these two:

1) Would gay marriage lead to greater social stability?

2) Would a married gay partnership be likely to provide a more secure environment for the nurturing of the children of a gay couple than an unmarried one?

I think the answer to both these questions has to be ‘yes’.

Buoyed by the poll results, Australian Marriage Equality has launched a Christians 4 Equality letter-writing campaign which has the endorsement of a wide range of Christian leaders and has already seen almost 10,000 letters sent to MPs from Australian Christians since the site went live last Friday afternoon.

The PinkNews UK reported that during a rally held yesterday in Canberra, the so-called ‘National Day for Marriage’ rally, an American anti-gay activist told the audience during her speech that gay marriage would lead to paedophiles marrying children. Rebecca Hagelin, a columnist for the right wing tabloid World Net Daily, also added that there is “no greater evil” than gay marriage supporters and that Christians are in a “war for the future of the human race”.

Australian Marriage Equality’s McPherson responded telling the PinkNews:

Christian groups that oppose marriage equality like the Australian Christian Lobby are entitled to their view, but they do not represent the majority of Australian Christians.

Clearly, most Australian Christians believe same-sex marriage is consistent with Christian values like justice, love, compassion and fidelity, not opposed to these values.

Guest Editorial: Because Our Children Are Watching

By Brody Levesque | BETHESDA, MARYLAND –

Exactly what is wrong with the human body? On second thought- no – let me rephrase the question; Exactly why does the American Public feel so repulsed by the human body in its unclothed form?
Granted, I’m an adult gay man who, while I admire the female form, I am not sexually stimulated nor do I find it quite as erotic as the male form. But, and here’s the caveat and in full disclosure and honesty, as there’s an obesity pandemic here in the United States- serious obesity problem – that quite frankly limits the numbers of human forms walking around I would consider pleasant to look at au natural.
Even so- there are some very nice male & female forms out running around which brings me to today’s subject; Anti-Porn Groups Urge Boycott of NBC’s new fall show ‘Playboy Club.’
According to Patrick A. Trueman, president of Morality in Media, a faith-based group in New York that fights porn in the media;
“The TV series will “contribute to the sexual objectification and exploitation of women and encourage greater acceptance of pornography.”
The Parents Television Council’s president Timothy F. Winter wrote to NBC saying:
“Putting a veneer of sophistication on an industry that exploits women and destroys families is not laudable, it is disgraceful. Whatever positive spin you may wish to put on the series, it is undeniably a betrayal of the trust you have built over the years with America’s families — the owners of the broadcast airwaves that you will be using to force this content into the living rooms of every family in your community.”
He then added
“In what manner does the airing of such material reconcile with your public interest obligations as a broadcast licensee?”
An executive at NBC Studios in Burbank, California, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told me that ‘The Playboy Club’ series is based on the actual Playboy Club in Chicago, which became one of the busiest nightclubs in the nation during the 1960s. The show follows the drama that unfolds between Chicago’s powerful political and business movers and shakers who frequent the club and the scantily-clad Playboy ‘bunnies’ that wait on the men there.
Playboy magazine and empire founder Hugh Hefner did a voiceover for one of the first episodes of the show, describing the Playboy Club as a place “where everything was perfect, where life was magic, where the rules were broken and fantasies became realities for everyone who walked in the doors.
“It wasn’t the 50s anymore … and that was my kingdom. It was the place where dreams came true.”
According to my NBC source, the network calls the show “a provocative new drama about a time and place that challenged the social mores.”
Here’s the thing- look at the following picture:
Photo Courtesy of NBC-Universal Productions

I’ve seen MUCH less clothing both sexes on shows such as the old ‘Baywatch’ series and some of the reality shows that have invaded broadcast primetime in the past few years. In fact, I’d cite CBS’s Big Brother & Survivor as notable examples.

Oh, and shows on cable? Yeah, right, oh please don’t get me started.
But the PTC and their allies want assurances that no minor in the United States will ever lay eyes on the shocking sight of a woman in a satin swimsuit outfit and bunny ears. Because goddess knows, that is just the most scandalous thing thing ever! (Nothing worse than that is available to today’s kids with a few clicks of a mouse on the internet.)
In fact- I have researched this subject previously and the majority of kids today are internet savvy to the point of making the adults/parents/guardians look pretty silly.  Lets get Net nanny software? Today’s kids can find Anime of Bambi getting buggered by Thumper and having then the subject of *gasp* human flesh revealed? The PTC & company are pretty clueless, just ask any police agency or district attorney that’s arresting children for taking nudie pics of themselves on their mobile phones and “sexting” each other.
The Coalition for the War on Illegal Pornography, a coalition of more than 70 smaller groups (which includes Focus on the Family, Morality In Media, the Family Research Council and Concerned Women For America) told the Deseret News:
“NBC is now contributing to and encouraging a highly dangerous sexualized culture as they stoop further into the gutter for programming and profits.”
The rabidly ant-gay folks at the Florida Family Association — the group that flew a banner warning people about Gay Day at Disney World last month, have joined the war against NBC over the show, according to ChristianPost.com. The FFA warns that it intends to document all the advertisers of the show and publicise the names of those companies online and in emails to its base and like minded Christonut organisations.
God forfend that these people ever travel to Europe where nudity doesn’t even raise an eyebrow and there’s more tits, ass, and penis on commercials broadcast round the clock on regular television- not just cable- than online in porno sites.
Americans are their own worst enemies at times. Mind you, I think it’s genetic at times. They are, in some cases, descended from the Puritans, who in turn brought Americans the Salem witchhunt and whom even the English were only too happy to get rid of.
These folk are just plain morality morons and like the bumper sticker I spotted the other day states: “The Christian ‘Right’ Is Neither.”

McCarthyism In It’s Latest Manifestation: A Christian Minority Persecution Of Gay People

Guest Post
I am so angry. I am angry because I am tired of the relentless attacks by alleged Christians, who profess to belief and follow the precepts of their collective idealogical/theological standards as spelled out in the tenets of their “holy” book. They do not.
What I see, is yet another form of McCarthyism cloaked in pseudo religious form, being used to demonize, victimise, and ostracise the gay men, women, transgendered,bisexual, persons, who, according to their narrow interpretative beliefs and practise of Christianity are inherently evil.
Today, again, were two absolutely stunning examples displaying nothing but naked hatred for LGBTQ human beings. First from the Southern Poverty Law Centre’s listed hate group Family Research Council’s Peter Spriggs, an editorial in this morning’s Baltimore Sun newspaper railing against marriage equality in Maryland. This was followed by this afternoon’s vote by the Iowa House of Representatives on a proposed Iowan constitutional amendment to not only just ban same-sex marriage, but also nullify marriages that have already taken place in that state since equality rights were granted.
Here is an except from the editorial by FRC’s Spriggs:

“Opposite-sex relationships are the only type capable of producing children through natural intercourse and the only ones assured of providing children with both a mother and a father. Affirming only opposite-sex relationships as ‘marriage’ thus makes perfect sense. But affirming same-sex relationships as ‘marriages’ makes no sense. These relationships are incapable of producing children through their sexual union.

And while some homosexual couples do raise children (most of whom were conceived in previous heterosexual relationships), such arrangements by definition deprive a child of his or her birthright to be raised by both a biological mother and father. Maryland may choose to tolerate and even protect such unconventional childrearing by allowing adoption by homosexual partners or couples. But it has no obligation to actively affirm and celebrate (through ‘marriage’) the deliberate creation of permanently motherless or fatherless families.”

This bigot’s equating a civil marriage license to bearing children is fallacious. The divorce rate in the US is 54%. Every divorce in a marriage with children deprives a child of a full-time mother and father. The out-of-wedlock birthrate in the US is 40%. If Mr. Spriggs is so concerned about the children, why is he not working to make divorce more difficult, and removing children from single-parent households? The truth is, the divorce of 54% of American marriages does much more harm than the <3% of the population who are gay (and probably less than half of those want to get married and half of those that marry would want kids–so that’s less than 1% of the population.)
Marriage is about the uniting of two lives together. The state has no requirement and no expectations that a married couple will have children. A childless marriage is as valid in the eyes of the state as a marriage with 12 children. Couples who can’t have, or don’t want children don’t view their marriages as ‘fake’. People get married because they meet someone they want to spend the rest of their lives with. A person who divorces his/her spouse because the spouse is infertile would be seen as an arse.
Many people who grew up in abusive homes would attest that the simple fact of having a ‘natural’ mother and father present does not guarantee that a child will be loved and nurtured.

These are the same arguments that have been trotted out by the proponents of Proposition 8. It fails to account for centuries of family law that accord rights and responsibilities to siblings, grandparents, adopted parents, and many many many other people who have nothing to do with the actual procreation of the child, and, yes, even to same-sex parents of children. And if marriage were purely for procreation, why would childless couples allowed to married, or at least why a marriage certificate isn’t merely a “learner’s permit”, and no rights or responsibilities conferred until a child is produced?And also failing is to show how any mechanism barring same sex couples from marrying achieves this goal.

Is he really proposing that if homosexual couples were allowed to marry, that it heterosexuals would somehow fail to produce children? It’s akin to say that by allowing interracial couples to marry, that that would somehow hurt white couples? There is no mechanism which would cause either, and both are just grounded in irrational discrimination.

“The Constitution is meant to protect the freedoms and liberties of all Iowans,” she said after the bill passed. “It is inappropriate to use the political process to single out and deny a group of Iowans of their constitutional protections.” ~ Carolyn Jenison, Executive Director of the LGBT-rights group One Iowa.

Let’s leave the Maryland situation and Sprigg’s bull-feces for a moment and look at Iowa where a constitutional ban on gay marriage, civil unions and domestic partnerships passed the Iowa House this afternoon in a 62-37 vote. Three democrats joined 59 Republicans in support of the measure. Thirty-seven Democrats voted “no,” and one Republican was absent.
The Iowa Independent reports:

After discussing his belief that marriage is about “responsible procreation,” state Rep. Rich Anderson (R-Clarinda) asked what could come next if the 2009 Iowa Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage is allowed to stand. He concluded that it would lead to legalized polygamy and incest.

I could also cite the example of Dean Cannon, the speaker of the Florida House of Representatives, who wants to return the ban on adoption by Gay & Lesbian couples.
Cannon discussed his views in an interview with the Florida Baptist Witness news outlet, where he said that the Republican-controlled legislature would be prepared to attempt to resurrect the adoption ban depending on how the issue plays out in more court districts or the administration of Governor Rick Scott.

“Until we know how the governor and DCF secretary are going to apply it, it’s not a foregone conclusion that the Legislature should step in,” said Cannon. “If we think we should, we’re certainly prepared and willing to do so.”

Plus, add in the battles in New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, California and apparently also the District of Columbia as now a GOP lawmaker on the House committee that oversees matters pertaining to Washington wants to revisit the city’s same-sex marriage law.
Then there is the bullying in schools all over the United States specifically aimed at kids who are either Gay or “perceived” to be Gay.
What we have now is McCarthyism in its latest manifestation and without a doubt, even more ugly. This is state sanctioned persecutions of human beings based on beliefs that ought to be held separate from governmental operations and practise but aren’t due to the overwhelming need by a very small minority that are in a state of absolute lust  to be set in power over the majority.

McCarthyism n. The practice of publicizing accusations of political disloyalty or subversion with insufficient regard to evidence.

In this case, the political being augmented by alleged theological disloyalty because after-all, homosexuality is a sin right?
What part of the U. S. IS NOT a Christian nation do these morons not get? I was speaking to a friend and whose principle work is as an LGBTQ activist in Utah. Brave fellow that eh? Utah is ground zero and he said and I believe him, until we find a practical way to counter the Mormons and their money, looking at the National Organization for Marriage as an example, and find a unified voice, then this form of McCarthyism will continue to roll over all of the equality rights of the LGBTQ people, not just the marriage ones either.

Harvey Milk once said that Gay people need to come out. Why? Simply because this is how the perceptions of evil and sick and any other twisted definition the Reich-wing comes up with targeting gays, lesbians, bis, trans, persons can be stripped away and exposed for the outright bigotry and lies they are. When people can relate to one another as human beings and not some form of vague ideological vitriol, then the humanity shines not the bigotry.

We need to target Mom, Pop, Apple pie, and Chevrolet driving folk because they are the ones we need to accept us, as ourselves…fellow human beings.
But, until the LGBTQ community gets its act together, gets its message across to those who really need to hear it and not the Christianazis like Spriggs, or those GOP extremists, or NOM, then we all will continue to lose and this nasty McCarthyism will continue to reign unchecked.

No More Smear The Queer

In a short note to me this weekend, my friend and colleague Brody Levesque shared a personal thought about this election cycle that stopped me:

“I just cannot get over how hateful some of the rhetoric is this time out. In 31 years of being a political reporter, I can’t remember seeing it this bad.”

Wow. Maybe I’m becoming inured or cynical, or maybe I’ve been too busy defending my own turf to make comparisons. But, I wonder if he’s right. When have we had stompings, regular threats of murder, bullying, rallies for hate, such blatant lies, ignorance in campaigns and reactionary forces being such a force in our country since the sixties? Maybe, but I don’t remember it. Feel free to remind me.

What strikes me is the ease with which the populace has accepted this shit. How easy I accepted it. Hmmm. Let’s look something up.

Hate: Etymology: Middle English, from Old English hete; akin to Old High German haz hate, Greek: kedos, care. Date: before 12th century; noun, intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury.

See the word “fear”?  Just hold onto it for a minute. I’m going to digress slightly, but we’ll get back to this. Promise.

There is one thing that drives American culture more than anything else, and that thing is money.

The Complete Culture of Capitalism has some gruesome side-effects. People with a lot of money have influence and they get whatever they want with little or no accountability, and when they band together, they run the country (see Haliburton). The people with less money have very little influence and they rarely get what they want, even though they outnumber the rich. Why? Because the rich play the fear game. They divide us into opposing groups: Liberal and Conservative, gay and straight, moral and immoral, rich and poor, urban and rural, christian and heathen. They then teach us how to hate each other because our values are being threatened by “the other”. They do that because they have the money to do it, and like a child pitting two divorced parents against each other in order to get what they want, they stand back and watch us fight. Smugly.

This fighting and drama is all a distraction from the real issue, which is, as you probably guessed- money.  The only problem with the divorced parents and child analogy is this: the child is really a changeling, a cuckoo. It is not their child, not really their responsibility at all. But the masquerade has been conducted so well that, even when faced by the truth, the parents refuse to accept it.

It’s a simple thing, but a complicated concept. Economics has more schools of thought that political science. But it made me wonder. On a single issue, fighting the gays, some friends of a friend casually wondered about the amount of money the Christian Right has spent over the last 3 decades- from Harvey Milk’s election in 1977 to the present day. It became kind of a fun project for them, and they worked for a while and came up with a conservative figure (pun intended) of 1.4 billion. That goes from before Anita Bryant well beyond the opposition of Prop 8.

Well over a billion dollars. And that was a simple figure. Makes me wonder what a serious graduate student or economist could do with this project.

Almost one and a half billion dollars. That may or may not include pastor’s salaries, plane tickets, gas, power bills, office supplies, etc. That to me, is a campaign to fight fear.

What exactly is fear? I think we take it for granted. Quite simply, fear is what happens when you think you’re going to get something you don’t want. That’s what I’m going to point out. The Christian Right has given up civil discourse in favor of missionary zeal to fight something they think they won’t want- and not only that, they have done it by lying. They perpetuate the ideology before the person.  They have de-humanized “The Homosexuals”, for a very simple reason: there is no need to be civil if gays are less than human. It becomes acceptable in schools to bully and “smear the queer.” Do unto others doesn’t count if you’re not talking about real people. It becomes a moral imperative to be hateful and cruel- the irony of all ironies within a Christian context….

So what’s our job? I think there are mainly two right now.

Show Them The Money.
Facts are facts. I don’t think the average American knows how much money has been spent in smearing the queer. Show the people in the pews exactly how much money they have spent in keeping other human beings down.If polls are any indication, the number of people who want us to have equal rights are not outnumbered by those who don’t. The naysayers are just spending more money. And they are spending it in the name of everyone they represent, with or without their permission. Local and national politicians, PACs, even entire denominations and corporations are contributing money to prevent equal rights. I think that if the people knew how much money was being spent in their name, it wouldn’t happen so easily. Accountability would be more highly sought and touted.  8: The Mormon Proposition was on the right track, but it didn’t go far enough. Prop 8 is just the latest and most widely publicized fight in over 40 years of political and social struggling. Our job is to call this funding what it is: prejudice and bigotry. And no matter how they try to hide this money (and hiding is just a way they show they know it’s wrong) we must work to find it. (Where are you, gay economists and forensic accountants?)

Come Out.
Come out as far as you feel you can, and support others when they come out.Reclaim our humanity in the eyes of our oppressors. Harvey Milk said this:

“I cannot prevent some people from feeling angry and frustrated and mad, but I hope they will take that frustration and that madness and instead of demonstrating or anything of that type, I would hope they would take the power and I would hope that five, ten, one hundred, a thousand would rise. I would like to see every gay doctor come out, every gay lawyer, every gay architect come out, stand up and let that world know. That would do more to end prejudice overnight than anybody would imagine. I urge them to do that, urge them to come out. Only that way will we start to achieve our rights.”

We have to be real. We have to be human. Our job is to be visible, to be teachers, to show our  families, our neighbors, our  churches, our communities and our nation that we are not monsters. We are not the antichrist. We are human beings with feelings and families and jobs and faith. We know fear and pain and loss. We know joy and love and happiness. We are people who love. We are not a threat to anyone’s marriage or faith or family. Personally, I think my most important jobs is to teach other human beings how to love what they do not understand.

This all boils down to the same thing: the unifying principle of humanity. Most people aren’t interested in oppressing other people. Those that seem to be are lost in the rhetoric that LGBT’s are not human beings. It’s our job to show them that we are. Shakespeare wrote one of the first and most beautiful pleas for civil rights and equality in The Merchant Of Venice, when Shylock, a Jew, finally responds to the blatant prejudice of his day:

“I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions; fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, heal’d by the same means, warm’d and cool’d by the same winter and summer, as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, do we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that.”

Like Shylock, we have to continually remind the world of our humanity until any rhetoric to the contrary becomes powerless. Until Smear The Queer is no longer played on our playgrounds and in our elections. Unlike Shakespeare, I am not justifying revenge. In fact, I want just the opposite. I’m suggesting militant understanding and sanity. Sanity through honesty, intelligence, perseverance and diligence. We have to stand up and speak when we’re told to sit down and shut up. We have to rebuff the anger and fear with the truth. We have to. Now more than ever.

The most important candidate in this election is fear. And it’s our job to oppose it and expose it for what it really is- a dehumanizing cuckoo.

The only thing we have to lose is our humanity.