The Australian published an article regarding Liberal Party vice-president, Karina Okotel, who was born in Australia but is of Sri Lankan background. In the article she talks of racism that she has experienced in Australia because of her dark skin colour(1). Obviously, racism is not to be tolerated and it is terrible that she experiences this, as many others have because of their skin colour, nationality and religion.
However, No Campaigners confuse argument with bigotry. They argue for freedom of speech, but when opponents exercise their freedom of speech, the No campaigners unleash their claims of persecution by political correctness. However, much of the offense they claim is manufactured.
|Liberal Party vice-president, Karina Okotel (1)|
Ms Okotel goes on to talk about how the accusations of bigotry against her opposition to marriage equality is worse than the racism she has experienced. Ms Okotel says that she has been refused service in shops because of her race. Again, this is bad. Yet, this is the very thing that the No campaign wants the right to do for same-sex couples.
Ms Okotel was told to go back to her own country, which considering she was born in Australia, shows the ignorance of racists. Unfortunately, her experience isn't isolated with many people in Australia being told the same thing. In particular, we saw this reach a crescendo during the discussions about asylum seekers ... and much of that was led by people in the current No campaign.
It is unfortunate that many in the No campaign align with Christianity, yet they have vociferously led the racist, fear-mongering attacks on asylum seekers, Muslims, migrants and even Australia's indigenous people.
Ms Okotel claims she has been bullied 'just for querying whether we should be legalising same-sex marriage'. I don't know what Ms Okotel considers to be just a query, however, many of those on the No side, aren't 'just querying', they are making highly inaccurate, hateful and fear-driven claims regarding the impact of same-sex marriage. For example, the corybantic Cory Bernardi who claimed marriage equality would lead to people having sex with animals, or others claiming it would lead to pedopholia. It is these sort of disgusting comments that has led to the No campaign being labelled bigotted. It is not worse than racism to call out such hate, ignorance and lies.
Ms Okotel claims that the Yes campaign's accusations of the No campaign conflating issues is a debating device to shut-down discussion about the consequences of marriage equality. Yet, the No campaign has not been able to show the mechanics behind the downfall of the pillars of society or fundamental family rights and the implementation of marriage equality. Nowhere is there a map joining the dots from legalisation of marriage equality to all of these irrational conclusions of the No campaign. The No campaign goes from an illogical 'Cause to Effect' without showing the How. The reason is that there are no links.
The article about Ms Okotel's experiences is designed to make the No campaign feel like the victims.
However, victims of racism and bigotry, who have been attacked because of their sexuality, race and religion, may be surprised by this. The Yes campaign isn't violently attacking people as we have seen in racist and homophobic attacks in Australia and across the globe. One of the issues that created the Sydney Gay and Lesbian parade back in the 1970s was the violence that gay people suffered from ignorant fools who considered 'poofter-bashing' to be a weekend sport. The No campaign is not experiencing these levels of hate and violence. The No campaign just doesn't like being challenged.
The No campaign has based much of their argument on fear-mongering, yet they don't wish to be called homophobic. Considering that phobia means having an 'irrational fear or aversion' to something, then the No campaign either needs to own the label or improve their arguments.
Ms Okotel claims that the consequences of same-sex marriage need to be addressed because these include erosion of freedom of speech, religion and association. Yet when the Yes campaign challenges these, it is accused of being intolerant. Hmm ... pot/kettle. The No campaign are the ones want the right to be intolerant to same-sex couples.
Marriage Equality will not force any significant change other than to allow same-sex couples to marry. It is not like people will be forced to quite their religion or long-held beliefs ... it's not like marriage equality requires some sort of 'conversion therapy'. Oh wait, some in the No campaign, such as Pansy Lai who featured in the No's first ad, do advocate conversion therapy for LGBTIQ people though to force them into being heterosexual(2).
Marriage Equality will not remove the rights of heterosexual couples to marry, procreate, choose what schools they go to, what shops they shop at or what churches they go to ... that would be exactly what same-sex couples already face and which is why the No arguments have been accused of bigotry, which means a complete intolerance of other people's beliefs, and which has manifested itself through the inequality in marriage that Marriage Equality is trying to rectify.
1. The Australian, Greg Brown, Yes bigotry 'is worse than racism', 1 September 2017, http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/bigotry-from-yes-campaign-is-worse-than-racism/news-story/333d3eb398e130bc7110fb95839c877c. Accessed 1 September 2017.
2. News.com.au, Jessica Anne Washington, Anti same-sex marriage campaigner Pansy Lai promotes conversion therapy, 1 September 2017, http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/gay-marriage/anti-samesex-marriage-campaigner-pansy-lai-promotes-conversion-therapy/news-story/19a06432ae2887daa903e4be3566c2fa. Accessed 1 September 2017.