Barnaby Joyce Is Worried Marriage Equality Would Make Australia Look Too “Decadent”

Making us all look like crazed dog murderers is obviously still fine.

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With public support at an all-time high and the issue finally being championed by those within our major political parties, it seems as though the drive for marriage equality is building exciting momentum. And, though Tony Abbott has shown no indication he’ll allow that all-important free vote, many of our conservative politicians are starting to break a Joe Hockey on Q&A-level sweat.

On Thursday, Cory Bernadi emerged from whatever large rock formation he hibernates under to deny people were passionate about the issue altogether, then Eric Abetz blindly catapulted three or four of his own arguments onto whatever media outlet would have him. Amongst this he revived the tired old fiction that marriage equality will lead to polygamy, and introduced an exciting newbie: the legislation’s not even relevant to Australia because no Asian nations have passed it.

In response, Senator Penny Wong yesterday told reporters she thought the language used in this whole debate was “illogical and outright offensive”, but it seems that message hasn’t quite got through to Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce. This morning on Insiders, he chimed in on the debate to suggest we should be hesitant about legislating marriage equality for fear that Asia sees us as “decadent”.

“I’m happy that people are treating this item with respect, or they should,” he said. “[But] in life, everybody doesn’t get everything they want, sometimes it’s a tough game and I’ll be supporting traditional form of marriage and not redefining it.”

“I don’t think if you go and pass the piece of legislation and said that a diamond is a square makes diamonds squares. They’re two different things. It’s not making a value judgment about either; they’re just two different things.”

Putting aside the fact that “everybody doesn’t get everything they want” is just an impressively unfeeling way to talk about civil rights in general, many have since pointed out a few important logical flaws with the rest of his arguments.

#1: Marriage is absolutely defined by legislation

In fact, that’s kind of its whole deal. When the union was still defined by British common law, your eligibility for marriage was dictated by ‘soberness’ and ‘industriousness’; it was possible to marry a minor; and for a number of decades there were serious restrictions placed on who Indigenous people could wed. It was new laws and amendments that changed all this in the years since, and everyone’s been pretty okay with that.

#2: Bigoted metaphors still have to make sense

I don’t wanna get all technical about it, but sometimes a diamond actually is a fucking square. I’m sorry to say this — because the irony is too easy and also because it’s embarrassing explaining Year 4 geometry to an adult man — but you just have to look at it from a slightly different angle.


There are just so many other shapes you could have picked, m8.

#3: If Asia wanted to judge us, they’d be doing it already

This is an argument which rests solely on the assumption that leaders of Asian nations are so passionately opposed to marriage equality that they would torpedo our crucial economic and trade relationships if we were to move forward with it. And, while it’s true that the region has considerably less action on the issue than many others, there’s little evidence to suggest it would ever be a problem.

Even if this wasn’t the case, there’s zero chance of any country ever considering Australia a “decadent” place. In our most recent appearances on the world stage, we’ve been portrayed as an apocalyptic wasteland and a place that gleefully threatens murder celebrities’ dogs. It’s a bit too late to be talking about reputations, Barnaby.

Never forget <3