Labor Senator Sam Dastyari has slammed self-proclaimed ‘traditional marriage advocate’ Katy Faust’s views that children of same-sex couples have been gagged on speaking about their “misgivings” during their upbringing.
The heated argument, live on Monday night’s ABC Q&A panel, heard from both sides of the marriage equality debate.
Audience member Gini Deakin kicked off the discussion, saying there was no referendum to ask whether it was legal for her mums to have a baby and no plebiscite when the law changed to allow her to have two mothers listed on her birth certificate. She wondered why there should be a referendum or plebiscite on whether her mums could get married.
Gini’s mother also chimed in and accused Ms Faust, who also grew up with two mothers, of contradiction, by wanting people like Gini to have a voice, but not supporting her mums to marry.
Ms Faust, a self-proclaimed bigot, spoke about the connection between “marriage and children’s rights”, implying the damage that could be caused by having same-sex parents.
“I will say that there are organisations devoted to giving Gini a voice. There is nobody that gives a voice to kids that may express the misgivings about their upbringing,” the American replied.
“In our country, we didn’t have (a robust debate about same-sex couples). It was so demonised from the beginning that anybody that supported traditional marriage was doing so based on bias or bigotry or hatred or homophobia. It totally shut it down and people felt like they could not speak up.”
A shocked Mr Dastyari said he could not accept those comments.
“There is so much with what you have said just then that is so offensive, it is hard to know where to start,” he replied.
“The politician in me tells me that I should be saying that while I disagree with your views, I wholeheartedly respect them but I find that very hard.
“I find it very hard to respect a lot of your views on what you have said because I don’t think it comes from a place of love. I think it comes from a place of hate.
“I can’t accept the fact you believe that Gini’s parents, who I have no doubt love each other, that they are hurting their child simply because of the love they have for one another. I can’t accept that.”
Ms Faust runs a blog called ‘Ask the bigot’ which outlines her views that ‘true Christianity will oppose the narrative homosexuality is a positive and normal variation of human sexuality’.
“Churches … I feel like have not dealt with this issue well. I see a lot of churches in the US completely rolling over and just changing what their historical traditions have said in the past to fit the current cultural narrative. So that statement was for them,” Ms Faust said.
“It is the belief that Christianity rejects that idea. If they’re going to hold fast to their traditions, then they need to be consistent but when you are talking about public policy, scripture should not play a role in it.
“Our side needs to make convincing secular arguments using social science and natural law.”
Mr Dastyari replied: “I worry that so much of your views stem not really with an issue with just marriage, I think some of it stems with an issue with homosexuality. You have described homosexuality as a lifestyle. You have said homosexuality drives us further away from God. These are your comments.
“There are people in this country who have different views on same-sex marriage.People will have the debate but we have to have it at a higher level. The American evangelical claptrap is the last thing we need in the debate.”
The debate comes as Prime Minister Tony Abbott refused to budge on a plan to put a vote on same-sex marriage to a plebiscite, after Coalition backbencher Warren Entsch pressed ahead with a bill to legalise it on Monday.
Panel member and Greens leader Richard Di Natale, said: “The simple answer is parliament should deal with it.”
“Tony Abbott had a chance to drag the country into the 21st century and end discrimination, end prejudice, and he used every tactic in the book to block it, to continue to support prejudice and discrimination in marriage, to not recognise the love between two people is love regardless of their gender or sexuality,” Mr Di Natale said.
“He stacked his party room with National MPs.
“It is part of the reason that he is languishing in terms of public support because he is a man stuck in the past. He belongs to another century. The sooner the Liberal Party changes the Prime Minister, I think the country will be better for it.”
The controversy surrounding the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption was also hotly discussed on Monday night’s program.
Pressure is mounting on the head of the royal commission into trade unions, Dyson Heydon, who conceded he “overlooked” the connection between the Liberal Party and a speech he had agreed to give, earlier on Monday.
Mr Dastyari said Justice Heydon should resign his post.
But Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer, Kelly O’Dwyer, hit back and said there was nothing to suggest Justice Heydon shouldn’t be allowed to continue on.
“This has been a pretty outrageous slur on somebody who is an eminent jurist. He overlooked the fact it was a Liberal Party event. He immediately said he would not attend that event, nor speak at that lecture,” Ms O’Dwyer said.
“Let’s not distract from the fact this is a royal commission … it is looking at very, very serious matters. It is looking at thuggery and intimidation and corruption within the construction sector.”
However, Mr Di Natale said the royal commission was set up as a “union bashing exercise”.
“You’ve got the fellow who is heading the royal commission now attending Liberal Party fundraisers. If it’s not bias, it is just really poor judgment and that should disqualify him.”
Heydon has ties back to granting Abbott his education. Surely a conflict of interest #QandA
British editor of spiked, Brendan O’Neill, disagreed with the whole fiasco.
“I have to say Australia, this is a rubbish scandal,” Mr O’Neill said.
“Everyone was saying there is a huge scandal involving a Royal Commissioner, the Prime Minister, trade unions. I was like ‘yes, something to sink my teeth into’. Then I read it, I was like ‘are you serious?’.”
“There are no prostitutes. There are no drugs. There is not even any booze and booze is like the bottom line requirement for any kind of political scandal.”
It’s not about ‘scandal, it’s about standards Brendon. #qanda