Senator Joyce Speaks on Marriage Equality


Senator Barnaby Joyce represents Queensland, and recently stood up in the Senate and delivered this speech to show how backwards Queenslanders are the reasons why he voted against marriage equality.

I’m amazed people like Joyce get re-elected.

Let me pick this apart for you

Senator JOYCE (Queensland—Leader of The Nationals in the Senate) (20:25): This issue around the Marriage Amendment Bill (No. 2) 2012 is extremely pertinent to the structure of everything that our nation is and has been built on. If you go to the core of the issue, a child has the right to know who their biological parents are. They have the right to know who both their mother and their father are: who the people were who were the component parts of the initial stages of their life.

Really, he should have stopped right there.  Our nation is built on the back of invading the land, killing the locals, bringing in criminals from England and establishing a nation.  It’s built on the hard work of millions of people who cleared the bush and built cities.  It’s built on the men and women who worked for a living, fought in wars and died.  Yes, the family is important and knowing who your parents are is important. There is no connection between the structure of everything and children knowing who their parents are, not forgetting of course is that very few children know.

Marriage is an institution, a custom, that surrounds itself with trying to reinforce the reality of nature. It is a process that has been created in so many cultures and in so many religions over so much time. Some say it is merely a construct of legislation, but it is not. It is actually a construct of the reality of who each one of us is. Family is the most effective policy that any government can stand behind. The family is the greatest aged-care policy. The family is the greatest law and order policy. The family is the greatest housing policy. The family is the greatest education policy. The family is the greatest health policy. The ramifications of going into that institution of marriage, which is at the centre of what the family is, are way beyond merely a statement of what a person wants and desires.
I’m not clear on just what the reality of nature is.  I think the reality is that people can and do have children without being married.  Some of what Joyce is saying is right, family is about raising children and helping with stability in society, so I’m at a loss to understand just how restricting families to only married or straight couples is beneficial.  Surely it would be better to encourage stability in all types of relationships.
It is also really important to understand that it is just another reality of the world that you cannot have everything just because you want it. Everybody has to make sacrifices. We all want so much, but marriage itself is a statement. It is not the gaining of rights but the acquiescing of rights. It is basically about stepping away from rights. If you want to keep all your rights then the best way to do it is to not get married, because then you have all the rights. It might not be the ideal set-up. You can have children if you want. You can do whatever you want; there are no real bounds. But the statement of marriage is a statement that you are prepared to acquiesce your rights and to go into a situation where all those rights that you had formerly are not there.
You’d hope that someone elected to the Senate actually made sense.  Let’s see.  I understand that I can’t have everything I want, just because I want it.  I make sacrifices too.  The rest of this paragraph is very strange.  ‘We all want so much but marriage itself is a statement”, what does that mean?  He then talks about acquiescing rights.  Sure, living in a relationship is about give and take, and regardless of marital status that is true.  It’s not unique to marriage.  As far as I can tell being married does not diminish any of my rights at all.  I’m certainly not aware of any married person who has given up any rights.
In trying to get to the centre of this issue, it is also important to try not to offend or belittle other people. We live in a time now where there is no novelty in knowing people who are gay. They are around everywhere; they are in everybody’s family. That is the reality of the world. But it takes courage to say, ‘Just because there is a familiarity and there are so many people I know who are gay, that does not mean I have to agree with everything that everybody wants.’ That is another reality. In trying to draw a picture, without trying to belittle it, I might be a Buddhist who wants to call myself a Christian. Well, I cannot. If you are a Buddhist, you are a Buddhist; if you are a Christian, you are a Christian. You cannot say, ‘I demand my right as a Buddhist to call myself a Christian.’ It is just ridiculous. It is not what you are. It is a terminology that does accept that you can be both.
I think he’s saying, but I’m not too sure, if you want to be gay and in a relationship you can’t call it marriage.  Of course, you can be a buddhist and call yourself christian, why not?  It doesn’t make any sense, but religion is whatever you want it to be.  Plenty of people take bits and pieces out of various philosophies and stick them together.  So what.
If you want to be married, because of the requirements of nature, it involves a male and a female connection for the hope and possibility of having children. You cannot do it with a male and a male. You cannot do it with a female and a female. It is just not possible. The institution of marriage stands ultimately behind the reality of nature. It does not matter what piece of legislation we pass; you cannot change nature. You cannot change that reality.
I’m not at all sure which reality the Senator keeps referring to.  The requirements of nature I think means that to produce a baby you need a male and a female.  That much is true.  However, it’s a pretty long stretch to suggest that you need to be married to a member of the opposite sex to have a family.  There are plenty of examples of all sorts of families that are not mum, dad and the two kids.  I think he’s making some sort of argument here, but I’m not at all sure what it is.
But what we can do is go down a path of a new form of social engineering—about which really have no idea of the consequences. If you believe in conservation, then conservation of the structure of society that has sustained us for so long would be a pretty good place to start.
This is the slippery slope argument I think.  Joyce seems to forget that we already have a mix of families, allowing people to marry regardless of gender won’t change the structure of marriage.  To try to paint two mums and their kids living together as some sort of social engineering is just rude.  To suggest we have no idea of the consequences is to ignore the fact that plenty of kids have already grown up with same-sex parents and have gone on to lead full lives, some of them even getting married and having children.  It’s a furphy to suggest something bad will happen to the kiddies because their gay parents got married.
If we redefine the institution of marriage by legislation we must remember that we are not only redefining it for those of us who are here now but also redefining it for those who were here before us. We are redefining it for our parents, for our grandparents and for all those who have gone before us. We are redefining the relationships that they went into and the sacrifices that they made with some legislative recalibration of the process from this point forward. I think most people whose parents are married would say, ‘I know what that was and I know what it wasn’t.’ We do not want to diminish the relevance of our history and the legacy of who we are.
Huh?  The marriage of my parents is the same as it’s always been, regardless of same sex marriage.  I don’t think that somehow one of my parents will change sex because the legislation is change.  Nor will it redefine their lives or change what’s happened.  It certainly won’t diminish their relationship in anyway.
I understand the concerns that are held by other people who say, ‘I feel that if I do not have the capacity to call myself married I will feel diminished.’ There is not much that we can do about that. The reality in life is that there are always things that you cannot have. There are things that I cannot have. I think it is really important that in this debate we try to respect everybody’s views.
So, Joyce doesn’t really understand the concerns of people who want marriage equality at all.  If he did, he’d see straight away that it is easily fixed.  There is plenty that can do about it, he just don’t want to.  It’s troubling to think that Joyce’s solution to someone who ‘feels diminished’ is not to apply any empathy, but to simply shrug his shoulders. He claims understanding and then demands respect when people object to his flat out ‘there’s not much we can do’ attitude.
Stacy Aronson and Aletha Huston, in their article, ‘The Mother-Infant Relationship in Single, Cohabiting, and Married Families: A Case for Marriage?’ in the Journal of Family Psychology, found that children in married homes demonstrated more positive behaviour and scored better on a range of demographic variables. In this study, attitudes about child-rearing, income and social support failed to explain variations in living arrangements, suggesting that the make-up of the family before conception and birth was vitally important.
This may be a way of saying that children do better when mum and dad are married.  It doesn’t explain what might be the benefits of other relationships if marriage equality was allowed.  The underlying point Joyce is attempting to make is that the children of gay parents won’t have the right attitudes or will not be able to get a job, or some other made up scenario.
A growing number of studies have found that children who experience changes in their living arrangements suffer worst development outcomes on average. A study in 2006 by Shannon Cavanagh and Aletha Huston found that:
Children who experienced instability had higher teacher and observer reports of problem behaviors than those from stable family structures.
This isn’t even about gay marriage.  It’s about relationship break up.
That is not to say that every marriage works out—we know that about 40 per cent of marriages do not—but it is the aspiration of what people go into. Nobody goes into the act of marriage hoping to get divorced; they go into the act of marriage hoping to stay married. To be honest, I have never seen any person who is happy with the fact that they have had an unsuccessful marriage. I have always seen people who wished that their marriage had worked out, who wished it had been better, who wished that they could have had their time again.
Again, this is not a reason to deny people the right to get married.  Yes, we’d all like our relationships to work out, but if you want to talk about the reality of life, here it is, relationships sometimes end.
So there is a huge weight on the institution of marriage and what goes into it. To say, ‘I’m going to compare a dysfunctional marriage with a successful relationship between same-sex people,’ is not a fair comparison. Anyone can go to any anecdotal analysis and find same-sex people who are cohabitating happily and you can find lots and lots of families who are very, very happy. And you can certainly go to lots and lots of gay relationships which become bitterly unhappy and you can go to lots of marriages that become bitterly unhappy. But the undisputed reality is that children who have been brought up in a stable relationship with a mum and dad have the best chance—not a perfect chance, but the best chance—to get their best development environment surrounding them.
Ho hum, that old chestnut.  Kids do best when mum and dad stay together and have enough money to give the kids everything they want.  There is no reason why kids who have same-sex parents can’t do equally as well.  The real response to this argument that is thrown up all the time, is to suggest that what politicians should be doing is ensuring the children with single parents or children in blended families are giving the same chances as those that can afford them.
Other studies show the importance of children, particularly male children, having a positive relationship with their father. In 2006 an article in the Journal of Family Studies used a nationally representative sample of adolescents in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. This article found:
Consistent with our initial hypothesis, a more positive father-child relationship is associated with a reduced risk of delinquency and substance abuse above and beyond the effects of the mother-child relationship. These results remain consistent even after using controls for various aspects of mother-child relationships, maternal monitoring and other maternal characteristics, family and household-level characteristics and child-level characteristics.
Nowhere in that is it saying that children with two mothers are at a disadvantage.  On the surface it seems to be talking about when the father is absent.  To suggest that all children of same-sex parents will never see a person of the opposite sex is ridiculous.
We interpret this as meaning that fathers matter. Likewise, a study in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in 2006 found that living in a broken home at age eight increases the chances of children committing criminal offences in late adolescence. These findings are confirmed by a study in the Journal of Pediatrics, which found that children and families without a father are more likely to be in fair or poor health.
This is talking about a broken home.  Are you now suggesting that two mums or two dads would make a broken home?  Are you saying that because no man lives in a household with lesbian mothers that the household would have poor health?  Come on.
Once more, this is not a statement that every child who is in a broken home ends up in poor health or ends up with a criminal record. It is not saying that at all. It is just talking about the realities of the probabilities. Stability in structure that confirms and reaffirms both a mother and father figure is the best environment for a child to grow up in—and, the closer that mother and father figure is to the genetic make-up of the child, the better it is.
Behind all this stands the nature that underpins the reality of what a marriage is. Cultures in so many different areas have reaffirmed this. Cultures with no interconnectivity between each other, which have come up with their ideas independently of each other, have all come to the same conclusion, that a marriage is between a man and a woman, and they have always signified the importance of it with ceremony, with commitment and with a whole range of laws that surround it. Some are backed by law, some are backed by religion and some are backed by custom, but they are all there. And we cannot now just say that we are going to deny the reality of thousands of years of human custom because we choose to, because we are desirous of it, because we want to, because it is our wont—and, because it is our wont, we demand that we ignore all that goes before us because we are desirous of this outcome.
I don’t get this.  Nobody that I am aware of is suggesting that somehow marriage will stop simply because we let everyone get married.  In fact, people will still breed, regardless of whether there is any sort of marriage.  People will still get married and have children.  Marriage equality won’t stop that.
You cannot do that. You have to basically take the unselfish position that you cannot have everything you want in the world just because you want it. The statement of marriage itself is not a statement of getting what you want; it is a statement of giving up what you want, and it is a statement of commitment to the purpose.
What is this almost overwhelming political movement to go into every form of tradition and corner and change it, just because there is some group, or some section of a group that is desirous of that? Don’t we have to also take into account the possible greater offence to the larger number of people who also stand behind the statement that they are married? Don’t their views have some weight in this debate? What about every person who says, ‘What about my parents? They were married.’ Doesn’t that memory, and that legacy, have some weight in this debate? What about the people who say, ‘My grandparents were married’? Doesn’t that have some weight or legacy in this debate? Why are we always in such a rush to diminish everything else rather than to simply say, ‘In this instance I am prepared to make the sacrifice. I can’t have everything I want. I am prepared to make the sacrifices.’ It is one of those sacrifices that you make in life and that is it. There does seem to be a desire of selfishness that says, ‘For me to attain every desire I want, I am prepared to sacrifice the legacy, the aspiration and the structure of what so many more people, and other people, want to keep.
So now because gay people want to get married they are selfish.  Gay marriage will lead to all marriages that have gone before being magically dissolved. Somehow wanting to publicly declare your love for another human means you are selfish.  To overcome this selfish nature we gays must make a sacrifice.  We must deny our love so our parents and grandparents can still be married.
All of the studies that I have referred to have clearly confirmed that there are great risks if we re-engineer marriage away from being about the family. There are grave risks to the children’s developmental outcomes, and surely such outcomes are just as important as anything else. I hope that this debate shows that in Australia, when we need certain things to be evident, to draw us together, when we see the disturbances that have happened on television and we want some communal values, something that basically draws different faiths together, that draws different groups together, that draws different societies together, if there is one linking principle when there are so many other things that divide people, then marriage is it. Marriage is one of those commonalities that reach out across so many ethnic and religious divides. We say that we are a multicultural nation and it is absolutely imperative that there be some linking ethos, something that links all these disparate groups together. If we are going to say, ‘No, we won’t even acknowledge that,’ we will go into that space as well and destroy it, and remove it. What is a linking principle? Has it just become the vibe, the hope—the hope that there is some connection? Or will we make up some grandiose, flowery statement of what links people together, but the statement will have to say that it means absolutely nothing because it might offend some group or somebody? But there is one area which has the potential to draw so many people together because there is a common view across religions, across faiths and across ethnic groups, and that is marriage.
Joyce is now saying that allowing marriage equality will bring disharmony to our multicultural society and the gays would be to blame.  He is somehow suggesting that recent muslim unrest cause by them taking offence at people making fun of their prophet will somehow be made worse because the gays can get married.  At least, that’s what I think his point is.
This is a piece of legislation that says, ‘Because we have found our way into this building, we can now redetermine the path of history because we are desirous of it. We can now put aside the cultural clique that has been formulated in so many different areas but has done so in a parallel manner. Whether you are in the highlands of Papua New Guinea, or in Renaissance Rome, or on the plains of America, or in Ireland, or in Africa, all these groups have all come to one conclusion. They have all basically found that one of the key structures of society is the family; and the ceremony that underpins the family, that is the inception of the family, is marriage, under a whole range of different names, and despite all of that we are going to say, ‘No, because we are now so modern, so clever, that we can put all of that aside, even though we really do not know what the ramifications are.’ That is the other thing: we do not really know. You want to tear down the structure that underpins society, but you really have no clue what the ramifications are. It is unwarranted.
I couldn’t live inside his head, I don’t know how he does it.  Allowing marriage equality does not change history.  That’s absurd.  Allowing marriage equality will not tear down the structure that underpins our society.  It’s just plain stupid to even suggest it will.  The ramifications of gay marriage?  Easy, gay people get married.  End of story.
In closing, it is not a statement about trying to offend anybody. As I said before, every person in every walk of life has to make sacrifices and has to make choices. You make the choice. If you want to get married, then you have to find someone of the opposite sex for that ceremony called ‘marriage’. If you want to be in a relationship with someone of the same sex, that is fine, but it is just not marriage. It is something that you may determine and it may have worth, it may have depth, but it is not marriage. I think that if everybody thinks about it logically, it is yet another sacrifice you make which you can put aside and say, ‘If you’re not prepared to make that sacrifice, then that in itself is a statement that the sacrifice that you would have to make of marriage is probably something that you are not prepared to accept.
Just below the surface of Joyce’s speech is an offensive and homophobic man.  He wraps this up by saying if you want to get married, you have to find an opposite sex partner, if you can’t tough shit.  Get over it, you’re not allowed.  The gays just have to learn to live with it so fuck you.
Well fuck you Barnaby Joyce.
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One Response to Senator Joyce Speaks on Marriage Equality

  1. Why do these people protest so loudly?