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Abbott’s obstruction of gay marriage is a defence of privilege and the power of shame

David Marr writes in The Guardian (9.8.17) about Tony Abbott’s declared opposition to the notion of marriage equality, with the author arguing that it isn’t ‘freedom’ that the former prime minister and the bishops uphold – it’s their power to dictate the laws of marriage to the rest of us.

‘If only Christians fought like this for refugees. Imagine if the Coalition’s big men of faith threatened to tear down their own government unless it brings home the wretches we’ve imprisoned in the Pacific. Surely there couldn’t be a greater service for Christ?

‘Or what about crossing the floor for the poor, the homeless, for battered wives and illiterate Aboriginal kids? No. What excites these Christian warriors is beating up on gays. I’ve watched it all my life.

‘They fought like hell to keep sex between men a crime. As they lost the backing of the public they went about their task more urgently. The rules of heaven were not to be swept aside by opinion polls. Sin had to be punished.

‘… But Abbott and his mates aren’t talking freedom. It’s time this was said absolutely clearly. Freedoms are something we can all enjoy. These people are talking about the rights of institutions. They want the church to have the power to dictate for all Australians the laws of marriage.’

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