This election is hotting up, with Family First bringing the issue of gay marriage to the forefront. Kind of odd, seeing as they seem to be the only ones obsessing about it. Family First lead candidate for Queensland, Wendy Francis, touchingly pleaded with the major parties to "end the gay marriage debate". An odd plea, seeing as both party leaders have stated they're against it. What more does she want them do; outlaw discussion on the issue? I'm in two minds about the media attention Family First is garnering. On the one paw, I'm pleased to see them being exposed as the bigots they are, but on the other I don't want their campaign to be getting any oxygen. I'm mindful of the old adage, "any publicity is good publicity" and I worry that this will actually increase their vote: ill-informed bigots may see this in passing and think to themselves, "At last! A party that stands up for what I believe in!" Those who can see through their flimsy logic probably weren't going to vote for them anyway.
But it does me no credit to condemn Ms Francis as a bigot without addressing the substance of her argument (such as it is). It seems the only way religious groups such as Family First think they can gain traction on this issue is by conflating gay marriage with other hot button issues; and what could be more emotive than the spectre of gay couples raising children? Now, if there is indeed "evidence" as Ms Francis claims (beyond her own prejudices) that gay couples inflict emotional abuse on children in their care, then surely any competent adoption agency isn't going to adopt out to a gay couple, no matter how legally married they are. Lesbian couples of course don't need to resort to adoption in order to "abuse" a child; a woman can legally have a baby regardless of her marital status. Is Ms Francis suggesting that any woman in the family way "caught" in a lesbian relationship have the pregnancy terminated or be forced to hand it over to an adoption agency? It seems to me that denying a committed lesbian couple the protections entitled to a heterosexual couple would be much more likely to inflict harm on the young child caught in the middle of their religious crusade. Family First would do themselves much more credit if they came out and admitted their real concern with gay marriage (or even civil unions) is about denying legitimacy to gay relationships. But I think a party that did a preference swap with the Liberty and Democracy Party (a party supposedly diametrically opposed to much of Family First's policies but still happy to share preferences with them) at the last election and allegedly proposed a preference swap with the Australian Sex Party at this election doesn't have much in the way of moral fortitude.