Same Sex Marriage Act 2012 (Tasmania) Debate, Day 1

Well!  I’ve spent an evening listening to a number of intriguing speeches from the Members of the Legislative Council of Tasmania.  There were no real surprises here, with Ruth Forrest, Kerry Finch, Craig Farrell, and Rob Valentine announcing that they will be voting yes, while Vanessa Goodwin, Greg Hall, and Tania Rattray have announced a “no” vote.

I unfortunately missed Kerry Finch and Greg Hall’s speeches.  I look forward to reading them in the Legislative Council Hansard soon.

According to this handy dandy guide to the Legislative Council on the issue of Same Sex Marriage, the most interesting revelation so far has been that of the Honourable Member for Aspley, Tania Rattray.  It so happens that were I still in Tasmania, I would be in her electorate.  She spoke well on the whole, made some points I agreed with, but I was frustrated with her speech.  I couldn’t figure out where she was headed at times.  A few of her anti-SSM arguments were cringeworthy, speaking to an incredible lack of understanding.

  1. Let’s put it to a Referendum, we’re having a Federal Election soon anyway
    I don’t feel that I as a member of the general public should need to remind an elected official of the purpose of referendums in our nation.  But apparently I do (and posted such to her Facebook wall)  Referendums are not for the enactment of legislation, but are there for the Australian people to approve changes to our Constitution.  If we were giving the state exclusive right for marriage legislation, that is a referendum item.  Should two men or two women be able to get married? Nope, see, it’s a change to an Act of Parliament.
    Frankly, I think the referendum argument is to get her pro-SSM constituents off her back.  But she’s exposed that her knowledge of Australia’s legal system is not up to a primary school standard here.
  2. What do we teach the children?
    I was flabbergasted when I heard her read the letter from the teacher asking “how do I teach about marriage?  What do I teach kids about normal healthy orientations?”  You teach them that when two people love each other so much that they want to spend the rest of their lives with each other, they can get married.  And as for “normal healthy orientations”, I would be very upset if a teacher took it upon themselves to suggest that any loving relationship between two consenting adults might not be healthy or normal.  As a teacher, you teach them that “Some dudes love dudes”, “some chicks love chicks”, “some people are straight”, and there is nothing wrong with any of that.  Or, if you aren’t in a mood to deal with angry parents beating down your for because you dared say it’s OK to be gay, tell them to talk to their parents about it.
  3. Same sex marriage would not be recognised outside of Tasmania.
    You just said that there are no fewer than three states waiting to see how Tassie goes with this before they jump on board, and that’s why you were treading carefully.  And that presumes that the other states don’t just accept the Tasmanian marriages off the bat (which I’ll be expecting QLD to do, but I hope they’re alone.
  4. No-one knows how the High Court would decide.
    So no-one will pass the bill because the High Court could go either way.  But the only way to get this indication is to have a high court challenge brought against  said legislation.  Anyone else seeing the catch-22?

Unfortunately, Rattray’s No vote means that unless the remaining three unknowns say yes, and one no changes their mind, the bill will fail.  I’m tipping it’ll fail 6-9.  Still, not a bad margin!

Until I see tomorrow’s stuff, that’s me for the day!

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