This horrific persecution is terrible

A rally against marriage equality in Sydney.
November 25, 2017

The scenes are horrendous. Defenceless people, who are desperately seeking protection, find themselves at the mercy of authoritarian bullies. All they seek is safety.

And yet the totalitarian Yes voters are deaf to their pleas, as No voters, seeking nothing more than the right to institutionalised bigotry, suffer in silence with only huge swathes of the government and the Murdoch press daring to raise their voices on their behalf.

Since the results in the non-binding plebiscite were released on November 15, events have moved quickly. The gulags for No voters are already full. Tony Abbott and Cori Bernardi are in hiding, hunted by squads of rainbow-flag flying vigilantes. Miranda Devine is a prisoner of conscience, championed by Reporters Without Borders.

Mark Latham is ... well, he’s mostly just confused because he has unexpectedly found himself hailing the high No vote in areas with a large percentage of the immigrants he was only just bashing for not speaking English.

For his part, Malcolm Turnbull, having subjected the LGBTI community to an unnecessary, but expensive non-binding process, proceeded to blame Muslims for the subsequent no vote — despite the fact Muslims are 2.6% of the population and 4.8 million people voted no.

I know where he’s coming from. When I find myself with an empty schooner glass, I always blame the sun for evaporating some of the beer. If anyone points out that’s dumb, I just shout at them for trying to abolish free speech, because that seems to work for Eric Abetz.

Of course, it would be naive to not point out the leading role of the Muslim community in the No vote, given how long and hard they agitated for the non-binding survey and then led the No campaign, cleverly disguised as hard-right Christian fundamentalist politicians and Coalition for Marriage leaders.

Lyle Shelton had many fooled, but when he responded to the result by declaring: “We will continue to fight to protect our freedoms in the name of the prophet Mohammad, peace be upon him, Alluha Akbar,” the game was up.

For his part, Coalition Senator Matt Canavan told an Australian Christian Lobby conference just after the survey result “I’m trying to fight to ensure that we’re not a persecuted minority” because “there is no other country to flee to in the world if we lose”.  

Actually Matt, have you considered Saudi Arabia? I know many at the ACL have some minor theological issues with the ruling ideology, but you’ll actually find you have much in common.

Canavan’s most ridiculous claim, though, was on the need for protections so Christian rock bands were not forced to perform at same-sex weddings.

This is not an actual real life problem. For a start, almost no one’s hiring Christian rock bands for weddings, with the possible exception of weddings for actual members of Christian rock bands, and even then no doubt in the face of stiff opposition from their fiancees.

It’s actually a pretty safe bet that no couple wants to hire a bunch of people who actively hate them and think their wedding should be banned to come sing a few tunes. It is one of the more obvious no-nos — up there with not inviting a psycho ex who’s been stalking you to give a speech on your big day.

My favourite take, though, has to be Abbott claiming credit for the result, saying, that by pushing the survey: “I have, in a sense, facilitated the change”.

It’s like a just-captured serial killer claiming credit for “facilitating” the overseas holidays of members of the murder squad, funded by all the extra overtime they’d been doing of late.

It also makes claims of facing persecution pretty empty, as very few actual persecuted minorities have leaders who stick their hands up and shout: “What’s happening now? That’s me! This is my doing!”

And all of this with still no actual law bringing in marriage equality. We can only imagine the horrors waiting the people Miranda Devine called “a new minority that needs protecting” if that terrible day eventuates.

It will make the scenes from Manus Island look like a walk in the park. Oh hang on, that’s actually what Papua New Guinea Police Commissioner Gari Baki called the treatment of the Manus detainees, while his officers bashed them with metal poles. I guess it’s just lucky those asylum seekers aren’t No voters, or they’d learn what real suffering is.

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