Like America and its guns, Australia is just really struggling to get over that last hill with same sex marriage. While the rest of the western world decided not to be huge dinguses and put this issue to bed ages ago, we’re still umm-ing and ahh-ing about even just the mechanism we’ll use to decide if we want it or not. It’s embarrassing.
Thanks mostly to the incredibly vocal nature of our religious right and Turnbull’s unwillingness to piss them off by just giving the go-ahead to same sex marriage, we’ve been saddled with a $160 million plebiscite that will, regardless of the outcome, force Australia’s queer community to go through the horrendous ordeal of seeing the country debate about whether they should have rights or not. As a solution, it sucks eggs.
To make things worse, Lyle Shelton, the head of the Australian Christian Lobby and more or less the figurehead of those against same sex marriage, want government funding so as to be able to afford to try and convince Australia that legalising same sex marriage will be the end of life as we know it.
Specifically, he wants the same amount of money that was given to each side in the 1999 referendum over whether Australia should become a republic - $7.5 million per side with a further $4.5 million for a neutral information booklet on the subject, which I can only imagine would be a laugh and a half to read.
His concern is that his side can’t compete with the ‘global’ movement that supports same sex marriage, which roughly translates to “we don’t have enough money to make the voice of some minority bigots as loud as everyone else in the country who has even the tiniest heart”.
The plebiscite is already expensive as shit, so why not burn another $20 million? Here are some good ways Shelton could spend his $7.5 million to really get his message out there:
A ‘hatemobile’ in every city
It’s hard to target advertising these days - with barely anyone watching TV or reading newspapers or browsing the internet without AdBlock - so why not take your message straight to the people? I propose that Shelton buys a fleet of ‘hatemobiles’ - cars fitted with loudspeakers and pamphlet cannons that drive circuits around the major cities, letting people know about the non-existent dangers of same sex marriage and the completely fabricated destruction of the family he predicts will happen.
Although same sex marriage has not caused a problem in any of the dozens of countries in which it has been legalised, the people need to know that there’s a chance it could start a chain of events culminating in a dog becoming the Pope. I feel this idea will work well because harassing people on the street has long been the oeuvre of homophobes and won’t take much of a ramp up time in terms of staff training.
Paying skywriters to put ‘FEAR CHANGE’ above population centres daily
Brevity is the soul of wit, as Shakespeare said, and in politics it’s important to cut right to the heart of your issue to make it more digestible and easier to remember. It would be difficult to get a skywriter to write a few paragraphs on all the made-up stuff about surrogacy and free speech without the first sentence getting blown away by the time you’ve finished, so instead get them to focus on what you’re really saying: that change is scary and you’re terrified of being left behind.
We get it, you don’t understand gay people and further don’t understand why instead of looking to you for moral guidance on the issue, people have decided to be compassionate human beings all by themselves. You’re scared that the world doesn’t need you anymore, and instead of trying to educate yourself and be a better person, you’ve decided to vocally oppose a completely benign thing and die alone on an extremely hateful hill.
If there’s a better way to convey that than getting skywriters to put “FEAR CHANGE” in letters 100 feet tall over sporting events and large concerts, I don’t want to hear it.
Bribing a guy at the TV station to edit out the parts of Modern Family with the gay couple
Part of the problem for opponents of same sex marriage is that gay people are everywhere, living their lives just like normal people, this ‘normalises’ them - making them seem like they are regular human people who deserve the same rights as everyone else. While they can’t ban gay people completely (although they might try), they can at least try and get them off the TV.
I can’t give you an exact figure on how much it would cost to bribe the guy whose job it is to put Modern Family on the air, but it surely would take less than $7.5 million to convince him to put ads over the part where audiences are forced to watch a family with gay parents have the same ups and downs as a family with hetero parents.
The ‘no’ campaign relies on making sure that people have little empathy for gay people, so their money would be well-spent in minimising the exposure hetero people have to these ‘gays’ and their completely normal lifestyles.
As a side note, the people campaigning for same sex marriage have voiced their opposition to receiving these funds - partially because the plebiscite is already expensive enough and partially because their argument pretty much makes itself.