Saturday night’s alright for fighting gay marriage

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Which prominent English gay activist advocate once got married in Darling Point – to a woman? (Of course. This is Australia, and we don’t go in for the radical being-nice-to-gays stuff.) Why, Elton John, who married German recording engineer Renate Blauel at the picturesque St Mark’s Church on Valentine’s Day, 1984. Which is why his message to John Howard on gay marriage this week was particularly poignant. Because hey, it’s not like he hasn’t tried the alternative.

But we must, of course, largely discount whatever difficulties Elton may have had in coming to terms with his sexuality. Sure, he went through depression, drugs, a painful marriage breakup and the rest. But these minor inconveniences resulting from his “lifestyle choice” are of no concern next to the clear and present danger he poses to the heterosexual way of life.

By joining long-term partner David Furnish in one of the first gay civil unions in the UK, and finally achieving recognition for what has been a long-term, successful relationship, there’s a genuine risk he could ruin it for everyone else. And that, not “happiness” and “acceptance”, is what this debate is about.

And please, Elton – if you want to gain converts to your point of view, you’ll have to do better than saying “up yours” to our Prime Minister. He’s been elected four times, thank you very much, on the basis of not paying attention to people in the arts like yourself, and he’s not about to start now. What’s more your words were very unkind – in particular, “up” is a particularly painful direction for John Howard at the moment. It’s where the Reserve Bank keeps putting interest rates.

But beyond showing that celebrities are not always eloquent enough to fulfil the advocacy role they often adopt for themselves, Elton has hurt his cause. All he has done is strengthen our resolve to stand steadfast against the scourge of gay marriage. If we allow two people of the same sex to celebrate their love publicly and inherit each other’s property rights, not only will the institution of marriage collapse, but our society itself will highly likely crumble.

You see, Elton (if that is your real name), it’s about traditions. As John Howard has argued Australians have traditionally believed marriage should be for a man and woman. Just as we traditionally believed that women should not get the vote, people who aren’t white should not be allowed to migrate to this country, and hunting Aborigines was a bit of good old-fashioned fun. We’ve already lost so many of these valuable traditions, and we must cling onto those that remain. White, heterosexual, property-owning men have already been forced to share most of their privileges with people who are different. Marriage is just about the only exclusive institution we have left. Well, apart from that whole patriarchy thing, which is holding up wonderfully well.

In denying the ACT’s provocative, society-threatening gay marriage legislation earlier this year, Mr Howard said his government did not discriminate against “them”, meaning homosexuals. And of course he was right. As he said, “It is a question of preserving as an institution in our society marriage as having a special character.” See? It’s not discrimination against homosexuals, it’s discrimination in favour of heterosexuals. Crucial difference. Gays and lesbians aren’t second-class citizens or anything. Of course not – our country is egalitarian. It’s just that they don’t get access to the “special character” of marriage. It’s not that they are given fewer rights, it’s that they aren’t given extra rights.

And while we’re talking about being special, we all recognise that gay people are special in other ways as well. We’re very tolerant. It’s just that we don’t recognise that specialness legally, that’s all.

And still the gay lobby complains! Please. If they were really second-class citizens, all celebrity homosexuals would surely all still be in the closet. As opposed to most of them.

Look, Elton – one of John Howard’s best friends is Alan Jones, okay? As we all know, he’s never said he’s gay. He’s never tried to marry anyone. His sexuality is not something we discuss. He might be gay, he might not – we just don’t know. Don’t ask, don’t tell, certainly don’t read Jonestown. And most importantly, don’t listen to Elton John. Why should we allow people to have these “civil unions” when his seems to have made him less civil to our Prime Minister?

Dominic Knight

Photo: Reuters