I have thought long and hard about whether I was even going to blog about this. I think the likes of Peter Madden and Bob Katter get too much airtime for their bigotry and discriminative antics as it is.
And “antics” is what I’ve finally settled on calling it. There is nothing logical about the arguments they pose against marriage equality, and after having firsthand experience attempting a conversation with Mr. Madden last Sunday, all I could do was walk away shaking my head.
There is no doubt that many of the statements that Mr. Madden has made over the course of his “political” career have been nothing short of sensationalised media ploys, which in my opinion have worked. After all, we all know his name!
In particular, the media coverage that truck generated, especially within our own community media, which dominated stories and news feeds for days. This drew much more attention to the message he was spreading, and without doubt seeded the large amount of submissions made to the senate inquiry earlier this week, which I would like to think impacted the quantity of submissions from both sides.
“It was not that long ago when we were the sole figures in a park suffering the barrage of anti-gay sentiment.”
There is no doubt in my mind that the messages the truck was spreading were discriminatory and ill-informed, and I can understand the passion and emotional distress that these messages would bring to members of our community. Messages promoting a so called “dark side” of same-sex marriage and a perceived link between homosexuality and pedophilia are not appropriate in today’s society.
But as many sources tell, including his own, his freedom of speech allowed him to do this.
Kristina Keneally this week spoke against the O’Farrell government’s “Get Clover” bill and I quote from her opening paragraph:
“I do not agree with what you say, but I will defend your right to say it.”
Unfortunately this concept, this principle of democracy, is one that I hold dear. If it was not for this democratic principle we would not be on the cusp of equality. Period.
It was not that long ago when we were the sole figures in a park suffering the barrage of anti-gay sentiment. The members of CAMP, the Mardi Gras 78ers all suffered, at times brutally, for their voice. In fact, their voice was illegal by nature of what they were saying, and many were jailed and institutionalised for their freedom of speech.
So to that end, I must defend and respect Peter’s right to speak his truth, even though I, like many many others, don’t like it. I defend this right as it also affords me the right of reply.