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The week the marriage debate turned
· August 18, 2015 10:00 AM
Last week was a turning point in the marriage debate.
Liberal backbencher Warren Entsch planned to introduce a cross party bill into the Parliament to abolish the requirement for gender complementarity in marriage.
As Parliamentarians flew into Canberra for the first sitting week after the long winter break, they were greeted by the privately-owned Canberra airport lit up in the rainbow colours of the same-sex political movement.
Media speculation was at fever pitch. They were on the brink of winning the prize of marriage redefined.
Warren Entsch was ready to strike. His first hurdle was last Tuesday’s party room meeting where he needed to convince his Coalition colleagues to abandon their policy of support for marriage in favour of a free vote.
Sometimes if you are for something, you have to take a stand. And some courageous people did.
It soon became apparent there was opposition to Entsch's play.
The issue was unresolved so Coalition MPs and Senators reconvened at 3:15pm, right after Question Time.
One after the other, parliamentarians stood up in the party room and spoke against abandoning the idea of marriage between a man and a woman in party policy.
For the next six hours a civil debate, by Mr Entsch’s own admission, ensued.
At 9:30pm parliamentarians emerged with the news that a two-to-one majority of the party room was in favour of keeping marriage as party policy.
The Prime Minister Tony Abbott held a media conference at 10pm to say a referendum or plebiscite will be held in the term of the next Parliament to allow the Australian people a vote on whether or not they want marriage redefined.
It was an extraordinary day.
The Canberra press gallery and the same-sex political movement were apoplectic at being denied their prize as it sunk in that there would be no same-sex marriage law before Christmas.
We now have until after the next election to continue to make the case for marriage to remain between one man and one woman.
We have possibly 18 months and this time must not be wasted.
This is not a time for neutrality.
Anyone who watched
ABC1's Q&A program last night
would have seen the anger and intolerance of Greens leader Richard Di Natalie and Labor's Sam Dastyari. It was chilling.
Their vicious attacks on Katy Faust, a US guest on the program who was raised by lesbians, give us an indication of what is to come if the law ever changes.
By Di Natalie and Dastyari's reasoning, those of us who argue for children's rights to know their parents are nothing but bigots.
We all know how society rightly treats bigots. If we want a free society for our children, we had better speak now.
I am told reliably that Katy's interview with Tony Jones on Lateline last week rated its socks off.
Australians are being denied the other side of the debate,
something ABC1's media watch conceded this week.
If our side is allowed to present its case fairly, there is no reason why our fellow Australians will not be convinced that children need a mother and father and marriage is the most effective way to secure this.
Thanks to the 50,000 of you who signed our online petition to the Senate. We will seek to have it tabled soon.
Thanks also to the 40,000 of you who emailed parliamentarians in this recent period. Online activism makes a difference.
Yesterday I was told that parliamentarians received your thank you emails after the party room vote. This lifted their spirits because at times this has been a toxic debate.
The past week has shown that marriage is winnable. But it requires us to speak up.
We now have more time and I am confident that as we speak the truth of marriage will be revealed to our friends and the wider Australian community.
Thanks for staying in the fight. The next phase is beginning.
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