The Godboys Come Out Fighting

pic by Steven Damron

Australian Christian Lobby slams Freedom to Marry Bill; ACL & Catholic Church weigh into the Victorian election; plus some gratuitous political tradies in their undies


Well, it might or might not have been the ACL lobbying the Liberals for a Same Sex Marriage Bill, but their reaction to Senator David Leyonhejlm’s Freedom To Marry Bill seems to be singing from the same hymn sheet, playing the rather shopworn ‘won’t someone think of the children’ card, and bewailing the lack of special rights for holy bakers and wedding planners.


Senator Leyonhejlm

Principal spokesperson, Lyle Shelton (Vyle for short) starts out shooting the messenger, attempting to demonise Senator Leyonhejlm, accusing him of favouring suicide and marijuana.

Having disposed of the Senator, Vyle launches his main argument: a conscience vote would be wrong because it would allow LGBTI folk to target Coalition MPs who vote against marriage equality. Oddly enough, this is the exact same objection voiced by Liberal MPs behind the scenes.

As long as they are bound to oppose equality, they can continue to play both sides, professing support to Vyle and Co, while shrugging their shoulders regretfully and saying “love to vote for it darlings, but . . .” to us. A conscience vote would flush them out. As a Christian, you’d think Vyle would favour honest MPs over the duplicitous, but apparently not.

As he helpfully points out, if they vote against marriage equality, we will indeed campaign against them. As he neatly fails to point out, he and his ACL mates will be waiting at the gates with the pitchforks and flaming torches if they vote in favour. Whichever way they vote, being forced to be honest means the poor dears might lose their salaries, lurks and perks seats.

The rest of the ACL response is surprisingly feeble, suggesting three ways to attack the case for equality.

  1. harp on about kids needing a mummy and daddy,
  2. ditto freedom to discriminate, pointing out the awful tragedy of the American Christians, forced take photos of same-sex weddings and bake gay cakes, and . . . .
  3.  . . . well, there isn’t really a 3, except to urge everyone to keep repeating points 1 & 2, loudly and repeatedly.

Interestingly, none of the above are actually about marriage per se. Vyle clearly knows that particular horse has bolted. He’s into damage limitation. When your main argument is ‘it’ll force Coalition MPs to be honest, and we can’t have that’, you’ve not much left in the locker.

Victorian ACL Director Dan Flynn was also banging the ‘we must be able to discriminate’ drum this week, ahead of the Victorian election tomorrow. He doesn’t like Labor’s promise to extend the Safe Schools Coalition to all government schools.

“Its promotional material includes an image of a boy wearing a dress. It wants to allow boys to use girls’ bathrooms and girls to use boys’ bathrooms,” he panted.

ACL promo

On top of that, he doesn’t like Labor’s promise to get rid of special religious privileges – you know, the ones that allow religious businesses to ignore anti-discrimination law and fire gay gardeners or single-mum receptionists just because of who they are.

Then the Catholic Education Office also weighed into the Victorian election, warning parents not to vote for the Greens in inner city Melbourne tomorrow.

Catholic Education Office Melbourne executive director Stephen Elder said the Greens’ education policy was likely to “adversely affect” Catholic schools. He said the Greens’ policy did not distinguish between Catholic and other non-government schools, which could lead to fee increases and make it harder to accommodate disadvantaged students.

And just to top things off, The Age today came out with an editorial endorsing the Napthine Coalition government for another term, after running a fairly strong pro-Labor line, especially in the weekend editions, for weeks. Miss Gina must have decided to try her hand at writing.

When all else fails, you can only laugh. I have no idea what this election video of tradies in their undies hopes to achieve, but I’ll happily take their advice and use the tradesman’s entrance every time. Enjoy.

About the author

Veteran gay writer and speaker, Doug was one of the founders of the UKs pioneering GLBTI newspaper Gay News (1972) , and of the second, Gay Week, and is a former Features Editor of Him International. He presented news and current affairs on JOY 94.9 FM Melbourne for more than ten years. "Doug is revered, feared and reviled in equal quantities, at times dividing people with his journalistic wrath. Yet there is no doubt this grandpa-esque bear keeps everyone abreast of anything and everything LGBT across the globe." (Daniel Witthaus, "Beyond Priscilla", Clouds of Magellan, Melbourne, 2014)