First a quick recap on the current state of marriage equality in Australian. While there appears to be a majority of MPs in favour of marriage equality in federal parliament, the number in favour within the ruling coalition is a minority. This could be solved by having a ‘conscience’ vote but the ruling party had a manifesto commitment to a referendum. The referendum is basically a way of avoiding a split between the centre-right and conservative wings of the Liberal Party – the confusingly named main right-leaning Australian party. Unable to get their plans for a referendum through the Senate, the government settled on having a non-binding, postal “survey”. The survey has a simple Yes – No format with “Yes” being the marriage equality option.
The postal survey/vote is now well underway.
On my wanderings through rightwing SF/F arenas I came across this post on Facebook:
Jason Rennie is the Australian-based SF writer/editor associated with Superversive, and formerly the editor of ‘Sci-Phi Journal’.
The argument essentially boils down to saying that if libertarians support marriage equality (i.e. giving a section of society the freedom to do a thing that most other people can do) then they’ll be taking away the freedom of the people who don’t support marriage equality to not recognise some marriages. In other words, if libertarians support freedom for group X then that infringes the rights of those who don’t want group X to have that freedom.
I think he may have just killed libertarianism – and it was already looking unwell.
He’s worried about the “massive expansion of state force” that will arise when…the state protects the rights of its citizens against those who think they shouldn’t have those rights? Which, correct me all if I’m wrong, used to be the one function of the state that libertarians at least claimed in theory to support.
He doesn’t take the logical step into the obvious corollary of his argument: that therefore banning even more groups from getting married would somehow make everybody freer. I would if we would volunteer a group with which he identifies to be a starting point of this bizarre root to greater freedom?
I suspect we’ll never find out. Anyway, if you are Australian and haven’t voted yet then don’t forget to do so!