Same sex marriage debate creates new breed of activists

Same sex marriage debate creates new breed of activists, by Tony Abbott.

Six weeks ago, some polls had 70 per cent support for same-sex marriage. With about a week to go in Australia’s postal vote, polling by the No case shows it has fallen to about 50 per cent, with about 40 per cent opposed and 10 per cent undecided.

In Ireland, the final poll showed just 18 per cent opposed to same-sex marriage; yet the No vote was 38 per cent (of the 62 per cent that turned out). Perhaps every one of the opponents of same-sex marriage actually voted; or perhaps No voters don’t like ’fessing up, even to pollsters. Just to get 40 per cent would be a moral victory for marriage; but my instinct is that shy No voters mean this result could swing either way.

Win, lose, or draw, though, starting from scratch two months ago, the campaign for marriage in my country has mobilised thousands of new activists; and created a network that could be deployed to defend Western civilisation more broadly and the Judaeo-Christian ethic against all that has been undermining it. …

Even now, on an Australian weekend, more people attend religious services than play organised sport, yet sport makes you normal and religion makes you odd, if you’re ruled by the zeitgeist.

Despite the vindictiveness of the same-sex marriage campaign against anyone who breaks cover, several thousand people, mostly young, have done just that. Such robust characters, once activated, are unlikely to fade away. Here is the nucleus of an organisation, created almost from nothing, to rival the left-wing activist group GetUp! that has been around for a decade; and that boasts it defeated a number of conservative MPs at last year’s federal election.

In the medium term, these new activists are likely to mean the long march of the left through our institutions is no longer largely unopposed. …

Merely debating marriage has hinted at the risks facing cultural conservatives, the new dissidents in the world that their decency and tolerance has made possible. The Catholic Archbishop of Hobart, for example, has faced prosecution under anti-discrimination laws for a booklet outlining the orthodox Christian teaching on marriage. The threat of protest has caused pro-marriage meetings and rallies to be cancelled. A Christian teenager was sacked for putting a pro-marriage message on her Face­book page (and naturally the Aus­tralian Human Rights Com­mis­sion declined to defend her). Par­ents have been lied to on gender-fluidity programs in their chil­dren’s schools. And these depre­dations have taken place while the same-sex activists are yet to win!