Saturday, 14 August 2010

Disgusting and despicable

Having been overseas (and away from the web), I missed the beginning of the furore about the comments by Wendy Francis, the Queendland Family First Senate candidate. I don't usually venture into party political comments on my blog, but this one was beyond the pale.

In case you were wondering what the fuss was about, here is what she tweeted:

"Children in homosexual relationships are subject to emotional abuse.  Legitimising gay marriage is like legalising child abuse''.

This comment is simply disgusting and despicable. Some of my best friends are in same sex relationships.It is bizarre to suggest that they are potentially child abusers.  The comments may well amount to vilification, a criminal offence. It is outrageous to suggest that those who have a desire to have their relationship recognised in law as are other relationships are committing child abuse.

The comment is also ignorant. I am privileged that some of my best friends live in same sex relationships and have children. Those kids are like any others- with all the faults and foibles that all kids have. All the published research indicates that children raised in same sex relationships are not disadvantaged by being raised in those households, and are not more likely to turn out gay or lesbian than any other kids.
I have also acted for child abusers and paedofiles over the years. Some of these have committed terrible, terrible crimes against children. Disgusting crimes. It is beyond belief that the old ignorant statement that gays = perverts = paedofiles still exists, especially when all the evidence points to those committing the vast bulk of child abuse are heterosexual men.

Wendy Francis has since clarified what she said. This is part of her opening statement:

Headlines are designed to create attention and unfortunately many of the sensational headlines that included words like “gay slur” and “homophobic” distorted the truth of both what was said and my actual views.

Wendy- I did not read the sensational headlines, but your tweet is a gay slur, you may have committed a criminal offence, and is homophobic.

She then goes on to say, after saying that the form of the tweet was a mixup, but that she was ultimatelty responsible:

I hold no personal animosity against homosexuals. The way people choose to conduct their lives is up to them and I will defend the right of every Australian to live according to their personal beliefs as long as their choices do not infringe upon the rights and choices of other Australians or the nation as a whole....
I do not believe that upholding marriage or preventing children being raised in homosexual families is discrimination. We can’t govern Australia by legislation based on pleasing each group who wants things their way.
Well, actually, Wendy, here is a basic lesson. You are running for political office, in a democracy. Australia is one of the world's oldest democracies. People are entitled to be "pleased" with the candidates as they think fit and vote them in and out accordingly. Legislation ultimately in the words of Michael Kirby is the common sense of the nation. Ultimately the legislative process involves compromise, often on pleasing certain groups who want things their way, whether those groups are called the Liberal Party, ALP, Greens or Family First. That is particularly the case in the house of review- the Senate- to which you seek election.

Showing her underlying beliefs, Wendy stated:

Having an opinion is not homophobic. Having an opinion is not discriminatory. Having an opinion is a part of democracy and by standing for the senate I am a part of the democratic process that gives every Queenslander the chance to agree with me or not.
I reach out to those within the homosexual community and ask them to understand the thoughts and feelings of the many Australians that believe as I do.


Finally, what is this rot about "upholding marriage"? Is the institution of marriage in such a  parlous state that to allow homosexual couples to marry will destroy the institution of marriage for heterosexual couples?

2 comments:

  1. Hi Stephen, thanks for your post. I'm in a same sex relationship and have two kids. I'm thinking about putting in a vilification complaint to the anti-discrimination Counicl of Qld, but can you tell me exactly what happens if we do that? What happens to my complaint? Does Wendy have to respond to it or is it simply 'noted'?

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  2. Hi Molly

    Thank you for your comment. The complain is made to police. However, It needs to be approved by the Attorney-General or Director of Prosecutions before going forward. No doubt this requirement was seen as being a protection of freedom of speech. See: http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/qld/consol_act/aa1991204/s131a.html.

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