Cartoon: By Bill Leak.
Populist conservative politician Bob Katter has had his gay half brother plastered over the screens, and in print over the last day over the gay marriage issue. It is not all that common for the odd political rello to publicly disagree with an MP, but there have been few. Tim Costello, brother of former treasurer Peter, is one that comes to mind.
It is not uncommon in families for political disagreements to occur, most of us form our own opinions over time and these may not be the same as those of parents or siblings. When people take their political activities into parliament, traditionally families are considered off limits as far as attacks are concerned, a protocol, which is largely respected.
Bob was reported to have told an anti-gay rally at Parliament House in Canberra that the issue of gay marriage deserves to be laughed at and ridiculed and doesn't serve any serious treatment. While it is rather idiotic to be involved in anti-gay activities, Bob is entitled to his opinions. Generally there should be no laws criminalizing homosexuality specifically but apart from that the laws affecting the rest of the community should apply.
The issue of gay marriage is an irrelevance only brought to prominence by the state being involved in the process. Government really has no justifiable role to play in what is essentially a contractual matter between adults who wish to form this bond. Civil gay unions can be recognized, but whether they are seen as marriages within the wider community, should be left up to that community.
People who wish to cohabit should not be prevented from doing so. If they wish to consider their relationship a marriage they should be able to do so. If others wish to recognize this, good for them but there should be no compulsion to do so, nor should there be any compulsion for services to be carried out.
Marriage is more a matter of recognition rather than a service and a ticket from the state.