There were howls of protest from the same-sex marriage lobby when Sydney’s Daily Telegraph recently reported parents objecting to a documentary on gay families being compulsory viewing in a Sydney high school.
Senator Penny Wong tweeted that this was “bullying”, automatically classing as bullies parents wanting to teach a different value system to the same-sex marriage lobby.
Fairfax media’s Brisbane writer, Rebecca Shaw, who describes herself as a well-adjusted lesbian in her 30s, wrote an article saying, “I won’t accept your ‘tolerance’” and demanded “complete acceptance” (The Age, August 30, 2015)
Effectively, Shaw demands that all those who believe in man+woman marriage must now abandon their beliefs and accept the view that marriage is between any two people with any combination of numerous sexual orientations and sexual identities.
If the same-sex marriage lobby can make such demands on everyone, then why can’t the Labor Party demand that all Liberals must abandon the values that make them Liberals and must embrace only Labor values?
Why can’t anti-religious secularists demand that Muslims, Jews, Christians, Buddhists – all people who hold religious beliefs – “completely abandon” their beliefs and “completely accept” secular beliefs?
Rebecca Shaw’s demand for complete acceptance is a demand for complete uniformity of beliefs to create a homogenised society.
Complete acceptance of one value system destroys diversity and creates uniformity. It is authoritarianism.
Has the same-sex marriage lobby lost its pride in diversity?
The ground rule for a liberal democracy is tolerance of another person whose views differ to yours.
You can disagree with your neighbour’s values but tolerate your neighbour who believes them. You can disagree with your neighbour’s lifestyle without inflicting vitriolic abuse, hatred, bullying, denigration and threats of legal action.
This is most clearly demonstrated by civil debate between opposing groups.
The demand for “complete acceptance”, not just for same-sex marriage but also for the sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) into anti-discrimination law, is itself “intolerant”.
“Complete acceptance” abandons diversity for universal conformity.
If realised, this demand moves society from a liberal democracy to an authoritarian state where only one belief system is promoted by government and the institutions that make up the state.
When democracies cease to be tolerant, they can quickly become tyrannical.
By Patrick J. Byrne (Patrick is a regular contributor to News Weekly magazine, and Vice-President of the National Civic Council)